What is an apprenticeship?

Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the work place 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 which:

  •  prepares the participant for a specific occupation, and
  •  leads to a qualification nationally recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications from Level 5-Level 10.

Apprentices are employed by an approved employer for the duration of the programme which is generally between 2-4 years. Apprenticeship programmes provide at least 50% workplace based learning.

Types of Apprenticeship:

Craft Apprenticeships

Since the 1970s it is estimated that over 105,000 apprentices have been trained in Ireland.  In 2016 alone there were over 3,700 new registrations on craft apprenticeships in a range of sectors including Engineering, Electrical, Motor and Construction.

A craft apprentice is someone training to become a fully qualified craftsperson.  Craft apprenticeships are generally comprised of seven phases, three off-the-job and four on-the-job.

The QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft is awarded on successful completion of the craft apprenticeship.

New Apprenticeships 2016-2020

In 2013 the Minister for Education and Skills, announced a review of apprenticeship training in Ireland which resulted in the formation of the Apprenticeship Council and from this the National Apprenticeship System.  A Call for Proposals for apprenticeships in new occupations issued in 2015.

The new Apprenticeship will lead to an award between Levels 5-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications.  Each apprenticeship programme can be between 2-4 years in duration.  Diverse models of training on-and-off the job are used, as well as different models of delivery and target groups (including those already in employment).

Apprenticeship development and roll-out is overseen by industry-led groups (consortia) working with education and training providers and other partners.  All new apprenticeships developed in Ireland after 2016 will follow this new apprenticeship approach and they will:

  • Be industry led
  • Be two years duration as a minimum
  • Involve learning that alternates between a workplace and an educational or training institute
  • Be a minimum of 50% on the job training
  • Be part of formal Education and Training
  • Be substantial in depth and duration, in order to prepare Apprentices to work autonomously and competently in a specific occupation
  • Apprentices emplyed and paid under a Contract of Apprenticeship
  • Apprentices paid a salary for the duration of the apprenticeship (on-the-job and off-the-job)

For a list of Current Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships in Development click here

For further information on any of these individual apprenticeships click here

Find an ApprenticeshipApprenticeship Jobs is a portal to connect employers with people wishing to pursue an apprenticeship.  Apprenticeships on this site are designed by industry-led groups, supporting growth and education.  All apprenticeships offered on this site are eligible for SOLAS financial support and will result in a QQI award on successful completion. www.apprenticeshipjobs.ie

For further Apprenticeship information go to www.apprenticeship.ie 

Action plan to expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland 2016-2020 (pdf)

Central to Skills Development in Ireland Booklet - September 2019 (pdf)





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