Thursday, 12 May 2022
Department of Education and Skills
293. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) will be facilitated with their next phase of the Solas apprenticeship; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23980/22]
Under the Further Education and Training Act (2013), SOLAS has statutory responsibility for planning, funding, and co-ordinating Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland.
My officials have referred your query to SOLAS for direct reply on this individual matter. If you do not receive a response from SOLAS within 30 days, please do come back to my office for further follow-up.
294. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 704 of 22 March 2022 and 1214 of 26 April 2022, when the information requested will be provided; her views on whether it is acceptable that three Parliamentary Questions over three successive months are required to ascertain information from SOLAS which is a State body; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24043/22]
In relation to the request of 22 March, the Deputy's question did instigate an investigation of the matter in SOLAS via this Department. The follow up question of 26 April was answered nine working days later on 9th May. The response issued was as follows -
I refer to a Parliamentary Question on 26 April 2022 in which you asked if the case of a person (details supplied) attending training as a carpentry apprentice with SOLAS will be investigated; if it will be ensured that they are paid the appropriate rate for their level of training.
Your constituent apprentice was called to attend for phase 2 off-the-job training on 12/12/2019. However, at this time his employer refused to release him. He was subsequently called again on 12/10/2020 to attend for his phase 2 off-the-job training in the ETB Training Centre Sligo. While attending training in Sligo, your constituent was incorrectly put on a phase 4 training rate due to an administration error. Unfortunately, he had to leave his phase 2 off-the-job training in Sligo on 06/11/2020 due to an injury. Your constituent was subsequently called to complete his phase 2 off-the-job training in Finglas Training Centre on 04/01/2022.
The rate of pay calculated was the phase 2 rate, which he will receive up until 13/05/2022. The calculation was explained to your constituent by the Authorised Officer in Finglas TC and the Officer has offered to meet with your constituent to explain this in more detail if he so wishes. In terms of parity with his peers, the same procedure is applied to all apprentices to determine their rate of pay.
I will bring your criticisms of the time taken to return this response to the attention of SOLAS. We are currently working on a new protocol with SOLAS to ensure this does not happen again.