Shock new figures show that new apprenticeships registrations is running 67% behind target in 2017, with only 9 new apprenticeship programmes operational.
New figures reveal that just 33% of the targeted registrations for what the Government calls ‘New Consortia Apprenticeships” have been filled by November of this year.
New Consortia Apprenticeships are apprenticeships in new sectors of the economy such as IT, Insurance, etc.
Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Niall Collins has criticised the Training and Skills Minister John Halligan for failing to focus on his day job and the collapse in modern apprenticeships that has followed.
Deputy Collins commented, “With just 261 of the targeted 800 new registrations having started, this is shocking indictment of the Minister with direct responsibility for this area, John Halligan.
"He has simply taken his eye off the ball. Equally, the fact that only 9 of the 15 consortia have been established is a shocking indictment of a government and a Minister that are failing to do their job.
“There was a lot of fanfare in 2015 from the Government when these new consortia apprenticeships were announced. Yet, as we have come to see from this Government, high profile spin rarely equates to delivery on promises."
He added:“It’s absolutely correct for the State to invest in, and support, apprenticeships in new sectors of the economy. This requires the State developing structured training and qualification pathways. Matching skilled persons with job market demand is an absolute requirement for maintaining a highly skilled economy.
“Minister Halligan has been in office for over 18 months at this stage, and the flagship policy proposal in his area, is failing, and failing badly. He appears to have time to offer opinions on ever more bizarre issues, but clearly at the expense of his day job.
“A failure to meet this target is jeopardising the Irish economy. We are already seeing skills gaps in many areas of the economy, and these modern apprenticeships are crucial in maintaining Ireland’s skills base in the areas of financial services and IT.
“The Minister needs to focus on his day job, and ensure that the number of people signing up for these new, necessary apprenticeships increases in 2018.
“There is part of a growing list of governmental failures to deliver on promises. In housing and health, we see every day the Government failing its citizens.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to the apprenticeships sector. I and my colleague, Thomas Byrne, the party’s spokesperson on education, are working on considered and practical proposals to shake up the apprenticeships sector and use it to drive the Irish economy forward even more."