September 3, 2021
Any housing plan requires government to fix apprenticeship system – Rose Conway-Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Further and Higher Education, Rose Conway-Walsh TD, has accused the government of failing to consider the role of tradespeople in the delivery of housing by continuing to ignore the chaos in the apprenticeship system.

Teachta Conway-Walsh said:

“I have been continuously raising the issue of waiting lists in the apprenticeship system. 

“As of July, we had over 11,000 on waiting lists to access off-the-job training in craft apprenticeships.

“That means that far more than half of the tradespeople we are currently training are unable to access the formal education component of their apprenticeship.

“The government has consistently failed to put in place the necessary training capacity. This issue predates Covid, evident in the fact that over 3,500 apprentices have been waiting over a year to access their course component.

“I am constantly contacted by apprentices that are unable to advance or complete their apprenticeship because of these runaway waiting lists who are justifiably angry with how they are being treated. 

“The government seems to not understand that these are tradespeople we desperately need if we are to fix the housing crisis.

 “The government has not only continuously failed to meet the targets they have set for apprentice recruitment since 2016, but they have not even put in place sufficient capacity for the apprentices that are currently in the system.

“Apprenticeships that should take four years are taking five to six years to complete. 

“No other student is treated in this manner. This will also have the effect of turning other school-leavers away from these careers and make future recruitment even harder.

“Every one of these apprentices represent tradespeople and other professionals sorely needed now and for the post-pandemic recovery.

“If we want to attract and retain apprentices and tradespeople, then they need to be valued and treated fairly. Instead they seem to be an afterthought in both the government’s approach to education and the delivery of housing stock.

“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.”

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