Apprenticeship Council “fundamentally important” for construction sector – CIF

The CIF has hailed the announcement of the Apprenticeship Council as being “fundamentally important for the future of the construction industry”.  The CIF believes that the council will help shape the future of the apprenticeships system in Ireland and this will have a significant impact on the construction sector.

The construction industry accounts for the majority of apprenticeships in Ireland. According to figures released in the summer, there has been a mixed level of intake into some construction apprenticeships this year.  In the six months to June, trades such as electrical, plumbing and carpentry experienced a strong jump in new apprentices.  However there is concern in the industry about the low levels entering trades such as plastering, brick laying as well as painting and decorating with only single figure new entries taking place.

The CIF believes the appointment of the Apprenticeships Council will lead to a renewed focus on the potential career path offered by construction apprenticeships.

“The appointment of the Apprenticeship Council is a very positive development which will be warmly welcomed by everyone involved in the construction industry,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “We have been awaiting for this development as it is fundamentally important for the future of the construction industry.  The work of this group will shape the future of the apprenticeship model in Ireland and in no industry will that be more keenly felt than in the construction sector.

“The formation of the council comes at a time when we are at a crossroads for construction apprenticeships.  We have seen a real decline in certain trades and there is real concern about how this drop will be corrected.  If we are to have a growing construction industry delivering the housing and other infrastructure this country needs then we will need skilled people to carry out the work.  

“The council will need to tackle the problems that exist in the system at present.  They will have a wide remit but one of their priorities has to be to ensure apprentices are developing skills required in the industry. That includes several of the construction trades which need more new apprentices developing these skills.  The council has a real opportunity to prevent a problem arising in the future if they take action to encourage a greater uptake on these trades.  However if that opportunity is not grasped then in a five years time there will be shortage of skilled Irish workers operating in certain construction trades,” Tom Parlon concluded.