25% increase in apprenticeship registrations in 2021 compared to 2019

Jack Redmond

A total of 31,000 new apprenticeship registrations are predicted by 2020 in Solas’ Apprenticeship expansion plan 2016-20: a 74 per cent majority in craft based apprenticeships (22,908) and 26 per cent in ‘new apprenticeships’ (8,092).

Apprenticeship registrations have increased by 25% in Ireland, as announced by Minister Simon Harris and the department of Further and Higher Education.

The Minister addressed this positive increase by stating “so far, this year we have seen 6,471 registrations – an increase that has not only exceeded expectations on recovery of 2020 registrations which were badly impacted by sector closures due to Covid-19, but also shows a 25pc increase on 2019 figures for the same period”. This reported increase demonstrates a balance in growth of apprenticeships in Ireland both before (2019) and during (2021) the Covid-19 effects on society. With the Higher Education department reporting 6,471 registrations this year so far,  Minister Harris also announced “there were 4,433 craft apprentice registrations at this point in 2019. This is now 5,098 [in 2021]”

Apprenticeships offer students finishing secondary school or people looking to change career an effective and practical access to education and employment.  Apprenticeships provide an alternative to going to college and/or a PLC course or directly accessing a job (for example retail or transportation) and allow those to learn new skills and to develop mastery of an industry through direct learning and experience. As stated by the Action Plan for Apprenticeships (2021-2025)“apprenticeships offers a skills development opportunity where theory and practice are closely linked, providing an alternative to academic programmes from level 5 – 10 of the National Framework of Qualifications.”

The impacts of Covid-19 like with all sectors, have disrupted the general operations of apprenticeships with the department stating in their action plan, “ways of working and learning will be different and the apprenticeship system will need to adapt to these changes”. As previously noted these ‘changes’ have not brought down the apprenticeship registrations and instead showcase the regard and ambition surrounding apprenticeships through growing enrolment and applications.  The Minister of State in the department of Further and Higher Education, Niall Collins said “[an] apprenticeship has an important role to play in our recovery from Covid-19. Recognising this, resources have been provided to support 7,000 off-the-job training places for craft apprentices impacted by Covid-19”.

The department of Further and Higher Education state their plan to “[provide] a strong value proposition for employers and potential apprentices, is attractive and easy to engage with, and delivers high standards and sought after qualifications”. Apprenticeship increases presents positive effects and initiative for those seeking to learn in their respective industries and the opportunity for success, innovation and enterprise through learned skills and experience.


Jack Redmond

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