A new apprenticeship programme, which will see apprentices work to preserve iconic heritage sites in Ireland, was officially launched in Kerry ETB Training Centre, Tralee, Co Kerry today (2nd April 2015).
The Apprenticeship in the Craft of Stone Cutting and Stonemasonry provides participants with specialist skills from the processing of stone to carving, restoration and monumental work. The apprenticeship has been developed by SOLAS in conjunction with the Office of Public Works and stakeholders and will be delivered by Kerry ETB for the Conservation and Restoration of historic buildings and monuments as part of our national heritage strategy.
Speaking at the launch Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works Mr. Simon Harris, T.D. said "Ireland is a country with a rich heritage that we must preserve. My Office, the OPW, has a long and proud tradition of responsibility towards and conservation of over 750 iconic sites including two World Heritage Sites. In order to do this we must have a skilled workforce that understands the importance of conservation and restoration. I believe that this apprenticeship programme will provide that very workforce".
The Office of Public Works (OPW), which has responsibility for the care, maintenance and presentation of the country’s most important heritage sites, recently recruited fourteen apprentices in the craft of stonecutting and stonemasonry to work in their National Monuments Service. This group of Apprentices are currently undergoing their Phase 2 training in Kerry ETB Training Centre where the launch took place.
The apprentices are being trained in a wide range of work activities including the cutting of stone with hand tools and specialist stonecutting machinery, stone finishing, monumental stone engraving, stone carving, decorating stone and technical drawing with craft calculations. The curriculum also includes a number of modules on the conservation and restoration of stone.
Also speaking at the launch, Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English T.D. commented “The Irish apprenticeship system has a long and very successful history in providing a well-rounded blend of education and training and workplace experience. This has ensured that there has been a skilled supply of tradesmen and women to the industries involved in apprenticeship over the years. Education and training policy must constantly develop to meet new challenges and it is clear that the expansion of the apprenticeship model into new sectors will benefit both employers and the individual apprentices involved”.
Minister of State at the Departments of the Taoiseach and Foreign Affairs with Special Responsibility for the Diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan T.D. spoke of ‘Kerry ETBs Training Centres’ long history of providing training in Monumental Stonecutting and Restoration, along with its purpose built facilities and state of the art equipment, make it the ideal venue for providing all the off-the-Job technical training for this new apprenticeship programme.’
SOLAS – the Further Education and Training Authority holds statutory responsibility for the management and development of the Irish Apprenticeship system. Apprenticeships offer an excellent opportunity to develop a unique set of skills, through a standards based system, following a modular pattern which takes four years to complete. The apprenticeship is divided between periods both on and off the job which concentrate on learning both practical skills and theory. During the on the job training modules the apprentice has an exciting opportunity to work at various sites undertaking a wide range of construction and restoration tasks. Off-the-job training takes place in Kerry ETB Training Centre.
Details of apprenticeships with the OPW and contact details for enquiries are available on the OPW website here
The CareersPortal Team