Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Caoimhe Archibald has called for an urgent announcement of the details of the Department for the Economy’s apprenticeship recovery package.
The Chair of the Economy Committee said:
“We have known for months that there would be the need for a support package for apprenticeships to help employers and colleges hold on to apprentices already enrolled and to also ensure these young people are able to complete their qualifications.
“I have engaged with employers, apprenticeship and trainee providers, and regional colleges over recent weeks and months.
“The issues are clear: many apprentices have been furloughed and employers need financial interventions to retain these apprentices; some flexibility in training time may also be required to allow for time missed to be made up.
“There is also a need to provide incentives for employers to take on new apprentices under these difficult financial circumstances to ensure there continues to be training and reskilling opportunities for both young people and those who have been made redundant.
“A fortnight ago on 13 August it was announced that £17.2 million had been allocated by the Finance Minister to DfE to support apprenticeships and yesterday at the Economy committee we heard proposals are at an advanced stage.
“However, employers and colleges are calling for urgent clarity in relation to the interventions that will be put in place and I would urge the Economy Minister to ensure that is forthcoming as soon as possible.
“Employers and young people need certainty to be able to make decisions and those decisions are being made now.”