Thursday, 9 September 2021
Department of Education and Skills
842. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the gender breakdown in construction-related apprenticeships over the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42619/21]
A number of reports have highlighted that the number of women employed in craft apprenticeships is low, reflecting the traditionally low levels of women represented across the craft sectors. There is a specific focus on female participation as part of the Generation Apprenticeship national promotional campaign. In addition, SOLAS offer a bursary of €2,666 to eligible employers who employ women apprentices in one of the craft apprenticeships, however participation by women continues to lag behind other apprenticeships.
The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 provides for an expansion of measures targeted to ensuring that the profile of the apprenticeship population more closely reflects that of society in general. To this end, the structure of the new apprenticeship system will include an equity of access committee which will advise on sectoral interventions to support widening of participation in apprenticeship.
Information in relation to the gender breakdown of the population in construction-related apprenticeships over the past three year can be found in attachment 1.
843. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of top-up bursaries for employing female apprenticeships that have been paid to employers in the construction sector; the breakdown by type of apprenticeship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42620/21]
Construction related apprentices are registered to the following craft apprenticeships: Brick and Stonelaying, Carpentry and Joinery, Painting and Decorating, Plastering, Plumbing, Stonecutting and Stonemasonry and Wood Manufacturing and Finishing. As of the end of June 2021 22 of the 5,048 construction apprentices were women. In addition 88 of the 7,583 electrical apprentices were women.
Bursaries for employing craft apprentices who are women are available across the 25 craft apprenticeship programmes. The information requested by the Deputy in relation to bursaries paid to employers in the construction sector is being compiled by SOLAS. An answer will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.
844. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if the requirement to hire construction apprentices has been included in any of the State’s large construction procurement contracts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42621/21]
Details of public sector procurement contracts are not held by my Department. The Action Plan for Aprrenticeship 2021-2025 which was published in April 2021 contains a provision that the Strategic Procurement Advisory Group, chaired by the Office of Government Procurement, will consider the potential for measures supporting apprenticeship through public sector procurement and deliver guidance on the inclusion of an apprenticeship provision within public sector tendering processes.
The Strategic Procurement Advisory Group is an advisory forum consisting of the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), government departments, and public procurement practitioners from across government. The Apprentice Working Group of the Strategic Procurement Advisory Group is being formed to achieve the key deliverable as outlined above, within the Action Plan for Apprenticeship. Terms of Reference for this working group are currently being finalised with the group due to report by year end.
Apprenticeship is a demand driven educational and training programme which aims to develop the skills of an apprentice in order to meet the needs of industry and the labour market.
The development of a new apprenticeship is employer-led, with consortia comprising employer groups and educational providers coming together to identify a skills need and appropriate apprenticeship response in their sector.
The Apprenticeship Council examine any proposals arising in the context of identified skills needs. All apprenticeship proposals go through a rigorous evaluation process which is led by the Council, and approval is subject to the application meeting a prescribed set of requirements as set out in the handbook and guidance document on Developing a National Apprenticeship which may be accessed on www.apprenticeship.ie.
I understand from SOLAS that an expression of interest in developing an apprenticeship in barbering has already been received and they are engaging with the proposer in the matter. However, a formal proposal has not been received by the Apprenticeship Council to date.