Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Health
220. To ask the Minister for Health if he plans to apply for homecare workers to be included in the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science apprenticeship system in view of the staffing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59676/21]
Generally, the development of a new apprenticeship is driven by the individual sector. Employers and education and training providers come together to outline a programme targeting an identified skill need. The Apprenticeship Council (or its successor the National Apprenticeship Alliance) then approve the programme for development and associated funding where the proposal meets certain criteria. It is not a matter of a certain cohort of workers being ‘eligible’ for apprenticeship, but a matter of the sector developing an appropriate education and training response to an identified skill need.
The presence of an apprenticeship in a sector does not drive employment or address labour shortages. Apprenticeship, in common with other education and training options, can support the widening of a recruitment base, retention of staff and deliver the skills needed once a learner is available and willing to work towards a qualification and the associated work-ready competency which apprenticeship delivers.
My colleague the Minister for Mental Health and Older People has committed to establishing a Cross Departmental Strategic Workforce Advisory Group. The role of the group will be to facilitate the views of stakeholders and examine workforce challenges in home support and nursing homes. Potential areas to be considered include recruitment, retention, training, and the career development of home support and nursing home workers into the future.