Cavan Monaghan feeling brunt of Crisis in Apprenticeship System – Matt Carthy TD
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has accused the government of creating a crisis situation in the apprenticeship system as his party discovered that over 67% of all apprentices (13,440) are now on a waiting list to access off-site training. This is leading to problems in the construction sector while leaving thousands of young people in
Of those apprentices unable to gain access almost 900 are on waiting lists from the Cavan Monaghan ETB area.
Deputy Carthy said:
“Sinn Féin, through our spokesperson on Higher Education Rose Conway Walsh TD, have been raising the issue of waiting lists in the apprenticeship system for months. Last March there were 6,928 apprentices on a waiting list to access the off-the-job training. By May that had increased to 9,071 apprentices.
“In early July the Dáil was told that there were ‘over 10,000’ waiting. But, figures released to Rose Conway-Walsh by the department show that the figure was in fact 13,440.
“495 of those waiting are from the Cavan Monaghan ETB area.
“That means that over 67% of all apprentices are now waiting to access off-site training – training that is essential to completing and progress through an apprenticeship.
“It is clear that the government have been attempting to hide the full extent of the lengthening waiting lists. The delays in training our apprentices is creating problems in the construction sector, how many stories have we heard of difficulties in sourcing tradespeople?
“My office has been contacted by several apprentices in despair at the situation. Some have been rescheduled multiple times and then informed that access to training has been again delayed until at least January 2022.
“In many instances four-year apprenticeship will now take over 5 years to complete. On the current trajectory that situation could get even worse.
“Despite repeated assurances by government that action will be taken, waiting lists continue to spiral out of control. This is a debacle that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“The government responds by stating that it has invested €12 million to support additional classes and teaching capacity. However, from department reports we know that savings of €16.7 million were made due to the state paying less in apprentices’ allowances in 2020. This means that the government is not even fully reinvesting the savings that they have made.
“No other cohort of students are treated in this way. At a time when government is talking about the safe return of further and higher education to campuses the apprenticeship system has been left to grind to a halt.
“Despite the amazing efforts of administrators and teaching staff across the country, apprentices are being badly let down when it comes to getting the education and training they need.
“Every one of these apprentices represent tradespeople and other professionals sorely needed now and for the post-pandemic recovery. This issue needs to be sorted – now.”