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Scheme offering employers €3,000 to take on apprentices extended into next year

Minister Simon Harris is due to announce 10,000 places for upskilling today.

A package of €118 million to help thousands reskill and retrain will be announced today.
A package of €118 million to help thousands reskill and retrain will be announced today.
Image: Shutterstock/goodluz

A €3,000 FINANCIAL incentive for employers to take on apprentices has been extended into next year.

The July Stimulus Initiative established the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, which provides a grant of €3,000 per apprentice over two years for employers.

While it was planned to end this year, under Budget 2021 provisions, the offer will now be extended until mid-2021.

An additional 1,000 apprentices will be taken on through the scheme.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris is due to announce 10,000 places for upskilling and reskilling opportunities today, which include the expansion of retrofitting skills programmes to support the national retrofitting programme as well as a new climate action upskilling scheme for businesses.

The skills package amounts to €118 million.

“Covid-19 has upended all our lives. While the challenges the crisis presented are unprecedented, they also open up unique opportunities for us.

“In this week’s Budget, we secured a package of €118 million to help thousands of you reskill and retrain in areas where we need more workers or where there is potential for future employment.

“One area we will focus on is the area of apprenticeship. To date, over 630 companies have applied for payments supporting the recruitment of over 1,100 apprentices. Budget 2021 allows us to extend the incentive payment to mid-2021, which will be a significant boost to businesses,” said Harris.

“We have also secured funding to expand training courses in retrofit skills to 1,500 people per annum. We will extend programmes to include 500 places for people in search of employment in this developing area as well as providing more places for people in the construction sector,” he said.

Five centres of excellence are to be developed in Waterford-Wexford, Cork, Limerick-Clare, Mayo-Sligo and Leitrim, and Laois-Offaly Education and Training Boards (ETBs), with potential for additional Dublin and Galway facilities.

The minister said 2020 has been an incredibly difficult year for businesses and people with us all having to adapt to new ways of working.

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The government will also roll out a new climate action upskilling scheme through Skillnet Ireland, which is industry led.

Minister of State Niall Collins added that the new Action Plan for Apprenticeship offers a lifeline to many businesses seeking to take on apprentices and security for the apprentice.

SOLAS has moved to simplify employer access to apprenticeship through a relaunched website at www.apprenticeship.ie where employers can find information on participating in apprenticeship or discover how to kick-off the development of new apprenticeship programmes.

“Covid, Brexit and the uncertainty both bring mean businesses and people must continuously transform and modify and we will continue to support them,” said Collins.

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