Junior Cycle Class of 2020 and eligibility for access to National Craft Apprenticeships

Cancellation of the 2020 Junior Cycle Examinations due to COVID-19 pandemic

As part of the response to COVID-19 pandemic in Ireland, following recommendations from an advisory group of stakeholders as part of planning for the State Examinations, a decision was made by the Minister for Education and Skills to cancel the 2020 Junior Cycle Examinations, with Adult Learners to be given the opportunity to take final examinations in Autumn 2020.

Instead of sitting the Junior Cycle examinations students will receive the following:

  • A State Certificate of completion of Junior Cycle from the Department of Education and Skills, to be issued in Autumn 2020. The Certificate will confirm completion of the Junior Cycle programme of study, including the list of subjects, short courses and/or priority learning units studied and the level at which the subject was studied.
  • A School Report setting out the learning achievements of students in Junior Cycle. Students will receive a written report from their school on the broad range of learning that they have achieved in each subject, short course and/or priority learning unit at the end of Junior Cycle. This assessment of their learning will be provided by their teachers. Schools will have autonomy in how this assessment is to be arrived at and the format in which the report is provided.

Eligibility arrangements for Craft Apprenticeships

Within National Craft Apprenticeships, eligibility for apprentices is, at a minimum, to hold Grade D (Junior Certificate subjects) or Achieved (Junior Cycle subjects) in 5 subjects at the Junior Certificate/Junior Cycle award or approved equivalent. Given that the Junior Certificate/Cycle examinations will not now take place in 2020, and to avoid any unfair disadvantage for young people wishing to access craft apprenticeship, it has been determined that the 2020 State Certificate and the School Report provided to Junior Certificate students will be deemed to be an 'approved equivalent' as per the eligibility requirements.

Apprentices may present their 2020 State Certificate and accompanying School Report to employers, training providers and SOLAS Authorised Officers confirm their eligibility for a craft apprenticeship. To note: The above requirements are deemed to be the minimum entry requirement for craft apprenticeship. Employers may require prospective apprentices to have achieved a higher level of award than the Junior Cycle.

This arrangement specifically applies to those learners who were due to complete the Junior Certificate/Cycle in 2020. It does not apply for learners who complete or completed the Junior Certificate/Cycle in any other year.

For reference: Extract from Statutory Instrument No. 168/1997 - Labour Services Act 1987 - Apprenticeship Rules 1997 on eligibility for craft apprenticeships

"4. A person entering employment as an apprentice shall have the following, as a minimum—

( a ) Grade D in five (5) subjects in the Department of Education's Junior Certificate examination, or approved equivalent, or

( b ) Completed to the satisfaction of An Foras an approved pre-apprenticeship course, or

( c ) Completed to the satisfaction of An Foras a course for persons with disabilities at a Centre approved by An Fóras, or

( d ) In the case of persons being over 25 years of age who do not meet the requirements under (a) not less than three years work experience acceptable to An Fóras in a relevant designated industrial activity.

In respect of (b), (c) and (d) above applicants must undergo a structured assessment interview approved by An Fóras and achieve a minimum standard to be specified by An Fóras from time to time."


For more information on apprenticeships go to www.apprenticeship.ie



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