Apprenticeship plan presents huge opportunities for Galway

The Government’s new apprenticeship plan will give a huge opportunity to people in Galway who “might not ordinarily be given it”.

That’s the view of John O’Donnell, a Youth Advocacy Worker with Galway City Partnership, who works closely with local minority groups.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has launched an ambitious five-year strategy that will see apprenticeships rise to 10,000 a year.

The plan hopes to encourage people to consider apprenticeships as an alternative to university, and for those who might have no plan in place for their futures.

“People with disabilities, travellers and other groups can find it very difficult to take the next step in life after leaving school. This plan could go a long way in encouraging people to take up an apprenticeship,” he said.

Mr O’Donnell said that there needs to be a de-stigmatisation of apprenticeships and alternative career paths.

“There’s a perception out there that people who undertake apprenticeships aren’t taking their futures seriously. But in my experience, those that decide to go for an apprenticeship are actually more mature than most people their age as they’re actively seeking work with an employer and want to start making money.

“In fact, I know many people in their twenties who now own their own houses and have their own families because they chose to go into this kind of work,” he said.

Mr O’ Donnell also highlighted the potential benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship for those living outside of the City.

“Another huge advantage that’s outlined in this plan is that people will be given the opportunity to stay living in their catchment area, rather than having to move into a city. This gives people the opportunity to stay close to home and work with local employers which is great for those living in rural Galway,” he said.

Ken Farragher, Area Training Manager for the Galway Roscommon Education & Training Board (GRETB), said that while the exact figures are not yet known, the plan promises to offer a solution to this issue.

“It’s hard to know yet exactly how many people will benefit from this plan in Galway as it depends very much on populations as well as the level of applications across the country.

“But it’s clear that any plan in this area is sure to benefit many people over the coming years,” he said.

Mr Farragher also highlighted the diverse range of apprenticeships now available.

“The traditional trades like hairdressing and plumbing are still extremely popular but there is now a huge range of new apprenticeships available. Through these programmes you can now become a lab technician, a butcher or even a tree surgeon,” he said.

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