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Almost 2,000 applied. Only 13 made it. Meet Irish Rail's new apprentices

Only 9 of the total number of applicants were women.

The 13 new apprentices, alongside Irish Rail CEO David Franks and Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe. Source: Naoise Culhane

IRISH RAIL HAS hired its first new apprentices in 20 years, following a two-step recruitment process that including an aptitude test and a round of interviews.

Almost 1,900 people applied for 13 positions as trainee electricians, mechanics, fitters and welders.

Over 1,400 took the aptitude tests, and 66 were called for interview before the final few were selected.

The final 13 included one woman. However, only 9 of the total number of applicants were women.

“At one point we had 7,000 employees, but reductions in the workforce mean there are just around 3,700 staff currently,” spokesperson for Irish Rail Jane Cregan said.

“We also had a recruitment ban in place for a long time.”

While the company has recruited fully-trained workers for similar roles more recently — particularly during the Transport 21 phase of station construction — this is the first time apprentices have been hired since the 1990s.

The new recruits will undertake a four-year course, in conjunction with Solas, and will spend blocks of time studying at institutes of technology as part of the programme.

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