Dáil Éireann - Volume 458 - 28 November, 1995
Written Answers. - Rehabilitation Apprenticeship Funding.
Mr. Haughey Mr. Haughey
167. Mr. Haughey asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he has satisfied himself with the operation of the new apprenticeship system with regard to disabled people; the amount of funding that is made available by the EU for this purpose; the amount of this money which has been distributed; the role of the National Rehabilitation Board and the Rehabilitation Institute in this regard; and if he has further satisfied himself that national training centres under the aegis of the Rehabilitation Institute are recognised as such in theory and in practice by all the various agencies involved. [17835/95]
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton) Richard Bruton
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): In the development of the recently introduced standards-based apprenticeship system, FÁS and the National Apprenticeship Advisory Committee which is representative of the social partners, FÁS and the education sector consulted with the National Rehabilitation Board (NRB) to ensure that the needs of persons with disabilities would be catered for. In addition, regular contact is maintained between FÁS, the NRB and the Rehab Group, formerly the Rehabilitation Institute on a range of apprenticeship  matters relevant to persons with disabilities.
The rules which were agreed as part of the development of the new system specifically provide a means of access to apprenticeship for persons with disabilities. In circumstances where those with a disability do not meet the requisite educational requirements, provisions is made for them to seek entry by completion of an approved course for persons with disabilities.
FÁS will receive EU funding of around £65 million at 1995 prices for the operation of apprenticeship during the period 1994 to 1999, part of which already has, and will continue to be, expended in assisting disabled persons. Around £23 million at 1995 prices was allocated to the programme in respect of 1994-95, and this amount has been fully committed. I am satisfied that the funding allocated for the remaining years to 1999 will also be fully spent. There is no separate allocation identified for disabled persons — spending in respect of this group is governed by demand levels.
Following the introduction of the new apprenticeship system, meetings and consultations involving FÁS, the NRB and the Rehab Group took place on the important role of the Rehab Group National Training Centre in Ashtown, Dublin 15. This Rehab Group Training Centre provides trade-type training for persons with disabilities who would experience difficulties in other open training establishments. As a result of these contacts, FÁS has formally recognised Ashtown as an authorised training centre for the delivery of the off-the-job training phases of the standards-based apprenticeship system in the trades of cabinet maker, metal fabricator, carpenter/joiner and fitter.
In a further development, FÁS, the NRB and the Rehab Group are currently piloting an arrangement in which the Ashtown Training Centre, together with host employers, would also provide the on-the-job phases of the programme in these same trades.
Dáil Éireann 458 Written Answers. Rehabilitation Apprenticeship Funding.