OVER 300 Apprentices in the Midlands region recently received certification on completion of their apprenticeship. A presentation of certificates was made to 50 of these apprentices by Minister Willie Penrose TD recently on Friday last October 14.
Speaking at the presentation, Minister Penrose spoke highly of the Irish Apprenticeship system and praised award recipients for the standards obtained by them during their apprenticeships. An example of this is the success of Irish Teams at successive WorldSkills Competitions, the most recent being held in London last week where the Irish Team won 3 Gold Medals and 5 Medallions of Excellence. Minister Penrose said: “Once again the team scored highly against the best in the world. This is a remarkable achievement and it proves beyond doubt that our Apprenticeship system and our Apprentices are among the best in the world”.
Mr Michael Dempsey, Chairman of FÁS, spoke of the changes in the current economic environment and the challenges they present for apprentices in completing their training. He stated “to address this challenge FÁS has put in place a series of measures to assist redundant apprentices in completing their apprenticeship. These measures include the facilitation of redundant apprentices to progress to their next off the job phase of training while they are redundant and also through the Redundant Apprentices Placement Scheme where redundant apprentices can complete phases 3, 5 and 7 of their apprenticeship with FÁS approved employers”.
In the Midlands region alone FÁS has supported approximately 141 apprentices to complete their apprenticeship and a further 113 are currently progressing their apprenticeship through the Redundant Apprentices Placement Scheme. This represents funding of approximately €1.7m from the Department of Education and Skills.
FÁS has also introduced a Competency Development Mechanism to assist eligible redundant apprentices who have not completed the required four years in employment for the awards of the FETAC Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft to undertake an assessment in a FÁS Training Centre to determine that they have reached the standard and therefore can progress to the award - Advanced Certificate Craft.
Addressing the apprentices, Minister Penrose spoke of the importance of up skilling in a rapidly changing environment saying “this is not the end of your career development but only the beginning. Whatever direction you choose remember that learning is for life. There are opportunities for updating of skills through Employers, Trade Unions, FÁS, the Department of Education and Skills and private providers.”
In addition to the 800 apprentices currently receiving training in the Midlands region, FÁS will deliver a broad range of training programmes to over 4,500 adult learners. This represents an investment of approximately €9.2m in the region.
Concluding the ceremony, Minister Penrose congratulated the apprentices who received their Craft Certificates saying “Today is an opportunity to celebrate your achievement in being recognised as a highly skilled craftsperson.”