Dáil Éireann - Volume 508 - 29 September, 1999
Written Answers. - Apprenticeship Training.
Mr. N. Ahern Mr. N. Ahern
156. Mr. N. Ahern asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position on the apprenticeship training scheme currently in place; the year it commenced; the number of apprentices which have gone through the system and completed their training; the problems and logjams encountered; and if she will examine and comment on reports in the Dublin area that apprenticeships cannot be completed due to shortage of places in Dublin Institute of Technology and VEC colleges for fourth year. [17666/99]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Ms Harney): The standards-based apprenticeship system, which is currently in place, comprises seven training modules over a minimum period of four years. Four on-the-job modules take place with the employer and three modules of formal technical training take place  either in a FÁS training centre or an institute of technology. Phases 1, 3, 5, and 7 of the apprenticeship are carried out with the employer. Phase 2 is delivered in FÁS training centres and phases 4 and 6 are carried out in Department of Education and Science colleges or institutes of technology.
Responsibility for the recruitment of apprentices rests with employers. Employers register their apprentices with FÁS.
The standards-based apprenticeship system was introduced in 1993, following extensive consultation between the social partners and other interested parties. It replaced the old time served model and is based on the attainment by apprentices of industry agreed standards. The standards based system covers 26 designated trades.
There are currently 18,885 apprentices registered with FÁS under the standards-based system. A total of 1,214 apprentices have completed their training under the system since it was introduced in 1993. Up to 2,762 more apprentices can be expected to complete their training in 1999.
There has been an unprecedented increase in the number of apprentices registered with FÁS in recent years. At the end of 1997, 11,371 apprentices were registered with FÁS under the standards-based system. The current register of 18,885 apprentices represents a 66 per cent increase in less than two years. The level of the increase is attributable to the demand among employers for skilled craftspeople in the current economic climate.
The exceptional level of recruitment of apprentices by employers has placed strenuous demands on off-the-job training facilities in FÁS and the institutes of technology throughout the country. This has resulted in delays in apprentices being offered off-the-job training places under phases 2, 4 and 6 of their apprenticeships.
FÁS has responded to the additional demand by increasing by 50 per cent the number of places available in its training centres for off-the-job apprenticeship training. The Department of Education and Science has responded by increasing the number of places available in institutes of technology by 25 per cent. I understand that Dublin Institute of Technology will also provide an additional four courses for apprentices in the 1999-2000 academic year.
FÁS and the Department of Education and Science are involved in ongoing discussions on the provision of further additional capacity to meet the increased demand.
Dáil Éireann 508 Written Answers. Apprenticeship Training.