Archerstown ETB Centre deserves support says Michael Lowry
“Apprenticeships have a crucial role to play in the future of this country,” Deputy Michael Lowry has told Dáil Éireann during statements on the Apprenticeship System in Ireland
The Tipperary Independent TD said that Technological Universities have added to the appeal of apprenticeships. The creation of these forward-thinking centres of education have raised both the profile and appeal of job focused training in a blended educational and practical format.
And, he added that outside of what are traditionally considered as apprenticeships, it is now possible to progress to a Level 8 Masters Degree as an Insurance Practitioner, or a Level 7 Degree in Financial Services, to name just two of the option available.
Above: Deputy Michael Lowry
“This is positive news for both male and female school leavers. Traditionally girls have had far less choice when it comes taking up an apprenticeship, but this is continuing to change. It is moving towards a more level playing field when Leaving Cert students are considering their options for Third Level education,” he said.
“News in April of last year that an additional 10,000 places are to be made available by 2025 was a hugely positive step in the right direction. This was particularly welcome news for centres such as the Training Centre at Archerstown in Thurles. Once again I compliment Tipperary ETB on their foresight in opening this wonderful facility at Archerstown.
“This Training Centre trains apprentices from all over Ireland on their Phase 2 “off-the-job” training period. Currently, training is provided for apprentice in trades such as Electrical, Electronic Security Systems and Construction Plant Fitting. In 2020 Plumbing was introduced and last year apprenticeship as Commis Chef came on stream.
“A measure of the success of the Training Centre at Archerstown is that they have recorded an increase in apprenticeship registration with TETB of approximately 45%. They have seen number rising from 195 apprentices registered in 2020 to 344 in 2021.
“There are 429 active companies registered with the ETB across Tipperary and no less than 988 apprentices were employed by these companies in 2021.
Deputy Lowry said that a notable addition to the supports offered to learners through Apprenticeship Services has been the provision of Mathematics for Crafts as well as the successful piloting of a psychological support service in 2021.
The National Hairdressing Apprenticeship in coming on stream this year and moves are underway to introduce the Retail and Sales Apprenticeships, while other Apprenticeship Courses are also in the pipeline.
“The Training Centre in Archerstown in Thurles is a prime example of the choices available to students considering undertaking an apprenticeship. Increasing number of school leavers are realising that a secure future, excellent earning potential, continuous demand for their skills and, if they so desire, being their own boss, are just some of the very appealing benefits to taking up a trade. This growing interest in Apprenticeships is reflected in the plans that the Thurles Centre hope to bring to reality.
Tipperary ETB is currently working with SOLAS to secure Capital Funding to the expand provision of facilities in Archerstown. These works planned for 2023 aim to see additional classroom and workshop capacity added to the existing Centre, along with additional canteen facilitates. The works are part of Phase 5 of the Development Plan for the Centre. Completion of the work will allow for further expansion of apprenticeship numbers in the centre.
“TETB is also exploring the development of additional new Apprenticeship workshop space in a building adjacent to the Archerstown Centre. This exploration is at an early stage with an Expression of Interest submitted. The plans being considered would provide for 8 new apprenticeship workshops and would potentially provide for up to 200 additional apprenticeship spaces.
“The process of securing Capital Funding is both challenging and complex. I am asking the Minister to assist in this process and to support the proven efforts and commitment of the Training Centre in Thurles. They are already a Centre of Excellence, but with the necessary expansion they can play an even greater role in training and preparing young men and women to meet the growing needs of the future,” Deputy Lowry said.
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