On Tuesday 15 August 2023, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform Pascal Donohoe TD launched the Public Service Apprenticeship Plan 2022-2025.
The plan outlines a variety of areas in which an increase in the number of annual apprenticeship registrations across the public service and in local authorities will be increased to 750 by 2025.
The Public Service Apprenticeship Plan is a key commitment of the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 and creates a roadmap to the delivery of that target, while offering an alternative recruitment route to jobseekers interested in a career in the civil service.
The Plan, which will be overseen by the two Departments, commits to new programmes to help increase the number of apprentices in the civil service. The new programmes include:
- Digital Marketing and Media
- Executive Officer (EO) generalist
- Planning technician
- NFQ level 5 Healthcare Assistant
- Architectural Technician
- Civil Technician
- Junior Investigator programme in Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission
- Paramedic programme in the health service.
The two Departments will establish and co-chair a Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group (PSALG) to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of the agreed actions.
All Government departments, HSE, and the Local Government Management Agency will report on how they intend to meet the proportionate targets set.
The local authorities and the HSE will recruit at least five craft apprentices per organisation annually.
Speaking on Tuesday, Minister Harris, said,
“We have placed an unrelenting focus on apprenticeship since the establishment of this Department. The number of people registering as apprentices shows this has worked.
“However, it is not enough for us to simply encourage businesses and learners to consider an apprenticeship. The Government must open itself up to apprenticeship opportunities.
“We have set ourselves an ambitious target of 750 apprenticeships in the Public Sector by 2025. Today, we have 373. This plan will create new apprenticeships and new opportunities for careers in the public service.”
Minister Donohoe added:
“I’m delighted that the Plan has received widespread support across Government, and that we have already received specific commitments from Departments eager to participate in one or more apprenticeship programmes, while a smaller number of Departments are actively leading on the development of new programmes.
“In the Department of Public Expenditure, we have overseen the successful recruitment of more than 100 ICT apprentices into the civil service earlier this year, and we know we need to do more.
“The Plan falls under the theme of Workforce of the Future in the new strategy for public service transformation – Better Public Services – which I launched this year. This strategy aims to ensure that the public service has the right skills in place to meet the current and future public needs.
“My Department looks forward to working with the Public Sector Leadership Board and co-chairing, with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, a Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of actions by Departments, agencies and public bodies”
Last year saw a total of 373 apprentices registered with public service employers such as the civil service, the Defence Forces, and local authorities.
This was an increase of 103 above 2021 registrations. The apprentices were on over 20 different programmes in areas as diverse as cybersecurity, accounting technician, recruitment, heavy vehicle mechanics and stonecutting and stonemasonry.
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