‘More must be done to encourage women to take up apprenticeships’ – Kilkenny local election candidate
PEOPLE must be better informed about the value of apprenticeships, Fianna Fáil local election candidate Deirdre Cullen said today.
Ms Cullen, who was a secondary school teacher for 16 years, was speaking after Fianna Fáil unveiled its new apprenticeship policy, which the party says will make apprenticeships more “attractive, accessible and affordable”.
Ms Cullen, who will contest the local elections in the Callan-Thomastown electoral area, said: “Apprenticeships open up exciting and rewarding careers, with learning grounded in the practical experience of undertaking a real job. Apprentices can earn while they learn which can be particularly helpful to those who may have extra responsibilities or who were early school leavers. I know that Kilkenny and Carlow ETB offer a lot of information about apprenticeships and I would encourage people to engage with them.”
Ms Cullen said the failure to encourage apprenticeships here has left Ireland lagging “far behind internationally” in terms of the scale and diversity of apprenticeships being offered in this country.
She also said there is a “pressing need” to encourage more women to take up apprenticeships: “In 2018 less than 5% of apprenticeships were undertaken by women, compared with over half in the UK.”
The election candidate added: “In 2018 the Government only managed to hit a quarter of its modest apprenticeship targets while in 2017 it managed only 4 in 10. The Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) says the acute shortage of chefs is widening by at least 3,200 annually and the construction sector is experiencing a serious skills shortage – with the country in the depths of a housing crisis, this simply isn’t good enough.”