Apprenticeship is defined as a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education or training centre. It is a dual system, a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training.
The national apprenticeship system is governed by legislation, principally the 1967 Industrial Training Act. The legislation sets out the overall structure of the national system and the protections for as well as the responsibilities of apprentices, employers, and education and training providers.
Apprenticeship is overseen by a national Apprenticeship Council. The further education and training authority SOLAS is the lead agency responsible for apprenticeship on behalf of Government, working in close partnership with the Higher Education Authority, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, industry and education and training providers across further and higher education. SOLAS’ responsibility includes maintenance of a national register of employers approved to take on apprentices and a national register of apprentices.
To begin an apprenticeship, an applicant must be employed by an approved employer. To be eligible, the applicant must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in any five subjects in the Junior Certificate or equivalent. However, higher educational qualifications and other requirements may be sought by employers.
For an employer to get approved to train apprentices in a particular occupation, s/he must demonstrate that they have the capacity and the ability to provide quality, relevant on-the-job training to apprentices as per the requirements of the national apprenticeship programme and the statutory apprenticeship system overall.
The Authorised Officer carries out a site visit to the employer’s premises and the employer is formally assessed
For entry to some apprenticeships, applicants are required to undergo a SOLAS-approved colour vision test
For more information on apprenticeships click here or contact the apprenticeship section in your local Education and Training Board.