Minister Harris launches financial incentive scheme for employers to recruit apprentices

Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science Simon Harris TD has launched a €3,000 financial incentive for employers to take on apprentices, with the unveiling of a billboard campaign to promote the scheme.

Speaking at the announcement of the winners of the Generation Apprenticeship competition, Minister Harris said: “Over 18,000 people are currently undertaking an apprenticeship across a wide range of occupations from electrical, construction and engineering roles to healthcare, information technology and financial services.  Our ambition is to see that number grow and the Government provided funding for this new incentive for employers in the July stimulus package.

“I am pleased to be launching this incentive at the announcement of the winners of the Generation Apprenticeship competition. These winning teams demonstrate all that is good about apprenticeship and the key part it is going to play in Ireland’s recovery and our country’s future.  It is a really exciting option for people of different ages, genders and backgrounds, career changers and school leavers, to forge brilliant careers for themselves.

“I congratulate all the teams and thank them for being part of the campaign to promote this new Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme.  These teams showcase the talent available to Ireland’s employers, who can receive a €3,000 incentive payment for each new apprentice registered between March and the end of the year.  I encourage all employers to visit and consider this.  It’s a win-win – help develop an apprentice’s potential while you develop your company.”

Sponsored by the ESB and CIF, the Generation Apprenticeship competition promotes and celebrates the best teamwork, leadership, creativity and problem-solving skills of Ireland’s apprentices. The competition has two categories to showcase skills across the full spectrum of apprenticeship programmes.

Winner in the Construction, Electrical, Engineering and Motor: the Pfizer apprenticeship team, based in Kildare and comprising electrical, instrumentation, mechanical and automation apprentices.

Runner-up: ESB Networks electrical apprenticeship team

Now in its third year, the Generation Apprenticeship competition challenges teams of apprentices to design and produce a 6-foot, 3-dimensional letter A (based on the Generation Apprenticeship brand) using the materials/equipment/tools of their industry. The competition was judged by Noreen O’Hare, senior executive in Microsoft and a member of the Apprenticeship Council, Charlie Dolan of Charlie Dolan Consulting and Róisín Murphy.

Pat O’Doherty, Apprenticeship Council Chairman and Chief Executive ESB, said: “ESB has always recognised the value of apprenticeships as a way of building critical skills and attracting diverse talent into our business. The work of the finalists is of exceptional quality and brings to light powerful examples of teamwork, leadership, creativity and problem solving. These qualities will continue to be in demand as we adapt and innovate to navigate our way through the demands of Covid-19. Through this competition we see apprenticeship come to life. The diverse range of participating teams is great proof of the expansion in apprenticeships as a rewarding career choice across many new sectors of the economy.”

Andrew Brownlee, Chief Executive of SOLAS said: “Warmest congratulations to the winners and to all of the teams this year. They have shown flair, ingenuity, craft and a real sense of community and pride. The employment market in Ireland is changing dramatically and apprenticeship is changing with it. Each team has shown versatility, a readiness to adapt and evidence of why they can make immediate contributions to their chosen fields of work. I would also like to thank the participating companies and organisations who have balanced day-to-day training and commercial priorities to support their apprentices as they showcase apprenticeship and its exceptional career options.”