Apprenticeship training is a great opportunity for you to work towards a QQI qualification. It provides a balance of on-the-job training and classroom-based learning. Here are some of the positive features of the apprenticeship route through work experience, education and training to employment:
- You will gain practical on-the-job employment skills whilst also learning the theory of your industry in the classroom.
- Apprenticeship training will provide you with valuable work experience.
- Apprenticeship offers an opportunity for employed people to upskill within their sector and still hold onto their job. It may lead to promotion within the company or upward progression within the sector.
- Apprenticeships are open to people of all ages and from all educational and employment backgrounds.
- On successful completion of the training, apprentices will earn an internationally recognised QQI qualification.
- You get paid while you are in training.
- Some employers will pay for apprentices’ college fees.
Who is Suited to Apprenticeship Training?
Apprenticeships are open to people of all ages and from all educational and employment backgrounds. Entry requirements differ across the spectrum of apprenticeship programmes, for some apprenticeships you need only have a Junior Cert qualification and you may start once you are 16. According to stats released by Solas the majority of apprentices in 2018 were aged between 20-25 years old.
You may apply for an apprenticeship if you are currently employed, unemployed or coming from an educational setting i.e. school, Further Education or Higher Education.
Apprenticeship training suits individuals who like hands-on learning. Picking up technical and/ or practical skills at the coalface is a lot more motivating experience for some people than sitting in a lecture hall and reading from a textbook. If you prefer learning-by-doing, an apprenticeship might be right up your alley!
Apprentices experience variety in their training as they are regularly involved in new projects and activities. The alternation between employment and the classroom also keeps interest and motivations levels up.
If you have a keen interest for your chosen industry or craft and you have the maturity and discipline to balance both employment and study, you may well be suited to apprenticeship training.
What Employers Want:
- A quick learner, a good listener and someone who can effectively implement the training they receive.
- Reliability is very important - employers need their apprentices to show up for work and to be on time, to work hard and be focused on the job.
- The best apprentices are good problem solvers - during the day, minor problems can arise, and companies need employees who can think on their feet and not always rely on others for help.
- Apprentices are required to be fully committed and to study throughout the on and off-the- job training phases, they are responsible for their own learning throughout the Apprenticeship.
Steps to Securing an Apprenticeship
- Start by doing some research and make sure you fully understand what's involved in an apprenticeship.
- Spend time thinking about what career sector you would like to work in and narrow down your options.
- Check out the type of work being done in the apprenticeship areas of interest to you [See Apprenticeship Videos].
- Be sure to see the work first hand - ask employers, qualified craftspeople or other apprentices to help you out with finding out more.
- Get the advice of your parents/guardians and career guidance counsellor.
2. Contact Your Local ETB
Educational Training Board (ETB) centres are located across the country. Talk to the Apprenticeship team in your local Education & Training Board. They will be able to advise you on how to find a SOLAS approved employer who could take you on as an apprentice. They will also give you information on how to apply for an apprenticeship. [To find your local ETB, click here]
3. Find Out the Entry Requirements
Entry requirements vary according to what apprenticeship you apply for. For craft apprenticeships you will be required to be at least 16 years of age and have achieved at least five grade Cs or above in ordinary level Junior Cert exams.
Some new apprenticeships require a Leaving Cert. It is important to research the specific entry requirements for your chosen apprenticeship. It is also worth noting that several of the apprenticeships in the construction sector require applicants to pass a colour-blind test. For several apprenticeships programmes a good standard of maths is a requirement.
For more information on entry requirements please check out the individual Apprenticeship Profiles you are interested in from the CareerExplorer
4. Find an Employer
How you go about sourcing an employer can vary depending on what apprenticeship you are applying for. If you speak to the apprenticeship team in your local Education and Training Board (ETB) they will advise you on what steps to take. For many apprenticeships, especially craft apprenticeships, you will be expected to source employment yourself.
If this is the case, then you need to ensure that your employer is a SOLAS approved employer and that they register you as an apprentice. As soon as your employer sends your registration form to the relevant Education and Training Board (ETB) you will receive a registration number and documents from the ETB which will stay with you until you are finished the apprenticeship.
Some of the new apprenticeships will source employers for you. You are required to register you interest in the apprenticeship. They are then reviewed by the education provider and successful candidates will be invited to meet with potential hiring companies.
Here are some ideas to assist you in finding an employer:
- Contact your local Education and Training Board (ETB). They have a person or team responsible for managing Apprenticeships and will have close links to local industry. They might be able to help you sourcing an employer.
- Look in local and national newspapers for apprenticeship vacancies.
- You can also search online on websites such as those mentioned in the Finding Jobs tab above.
- Locate companies in your desired field and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to learn more about the company and any opportunities as they become available.
- Register for notifications about upcoming apprenticeship opportunities on relevant websites such as www.apprentices.ie, www.earnandlearn.ie, www.ifsapprenticeships.ie and accountingtechnicianapprenticeship.ie
- Inform your local Employment Office of your interest in an apprenticeship so that your details can be made available on request to potential employers.
- Try and secure work experience in the area you are interested in. If an employer sees that you are really interested in the area, they might take you on as an Apprentice.
What would Support Your Application
Like applications for all jobs and courses, you are competing against others to secure an apprenticeship. Here are some ideas that would assist you in making your application:
Work Experience: You will put yourself in a more favourable position to be offered an apprenticeship if you are already employed in the sector you wish to train in. If you cannot get a job you should look for opportunities to work shadow or complete voluntary work experience. Seeing and experiencing the work will give you an idea of what the work involves, and it will show your prospective apprentice employer that you are already working to develop key skills and show ability in the field.
Pre-Apprenticeship Training: There are Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses that prepare students for apprenticeship training. Completing a Pre-Apprenticeship course is another valuable way of demonstrating your interest and commitment to the work. This course would support your application for apprenticeship and would give you a good insight into the work expected of an apprentice. Click here to use our Coursefinder to locate and research Pre-Apprenticeship courses.
Maturity: Taking on an apprenticeship can be demanding. You are an employee so you must show responsibility and commitment to your work. Juggling work and study is not to be taken lightly. Being dependable and consistent in your work require a good level of maturity from the start.