BellTime Magazine BellTime 11-5 - Page 7

BellTIME BellTIME Industry-led Apprenticeship A new apprenticeship in the manufacturing and engineering industries was launched by Joe McHugh TD Minister for Education and Skills and Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Innovation and Enterprise at Combilift, Annahagh, Monaghan on Monday 14th January 2019. The apprenticeship was designed to fill the skills gap faced by Irish equipment manufacturing firms including Combilift (Monaghan), Dennison Trailers (Kildare), Dairymaster (Kerry) and McHale Engineering (Mayo). This Advanced Certificate in Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) is a three-year Level 6 apprenticeship, with a focus on the engineering and manufacturing sectors. It is supported by Enterprise Ireland and a consortium of leading mid-Tier engineering Irish companies. This new apprenticeship was developed by the engineering companies in conjunction with education and training boards in Cavan and Monaghan, Limerick and Clare. Speaking at the launch Martin McVicar, Managing Director, Combilift and chair of the industry-led consortium behind this apprenticeship, said that this new apprenticeship with many of the other industry-led apprenticeships, will drive Ireland from an exclusively knowledge- based economy, to one that has a stronger emphasis on skills. 12 “This new apprenticeship will help meet the evolving skill set requirements of engineering and manufacturing companies. This is crucial as many firms are reporting shortages of qualified skilled employees, which are capable of designing, assembling and trouble- shooting machinery for the future. These are skills which combine mechanical, hydraulic, electronic, software and robotic technologies. This apprenticeship offers individuals the opportunity to develop these essential skills in an earn, learn and live it environment while completing training and hands-on experience with an employer and receiving an internationally recognised qualification.” This new apprenticeship will drive employment in companies across the country,” according to the Combilift Managing Director. “This apprenticeship will become a key contributor to the strategic recruitment and planning process of many indigenous and international organisations based in Ireland. Employers have committed time and effort to its development. There are jobs and strong career opportunities throughout the country and internationally for those who complete this apprenticeship. It is time that we promote the apprenticeship route with the same enthusiasm which we do for degrees.” There were just over 201,000 people working in the manufacturing sector in Ireland in 2016 according to the Central Statistics Office, making it one of the largest sectors of employment in the State, after retail and the health services sector. There are 12,790 manufacturing enterprises throughout the country. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) companies range in size from SME’s to large indigenous and multinational companies. Manufacturing firms play a critical role in the Irish economy as a driver of exports, as an employer, as a source of revenue and as a driver of growth. There is also significant spin off effects, such as indirect employment supported in other sectors including services and logistics. Manufacturing firms based in Ireland source approximately €14 billion of materials and services from Irish based suppliers. Combilift’s Managing Director believes that there is a need to review the perception of apprenticeships. “Young people completing their second level education are often encouraged to prioritise third level college degrees to the determinant of other options. Despite an increase in the number of applicants for apprenticeships there is a perception that it is a fall-back option. The idea that apprenticeships are only for those students that do not achieve high grades has to change. This apprenticeship offers a very credible career path for high achieving students who are looking for a rewarding career in engineering and manufacturing.” Mr McVicar, a past winner of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, acknowledges that there are many options for those with 400+ Leaving Cert points but strongly argues that “this apprenticeship also offers a rewarding and challenging career path from the day the apprentice starts. When employers are hiring, they don’t advertise for someone with knowledge they specifically state that they are seeking launched to meet growing skills gap someone with skills and this apprenticeship combines knowledge, skills and industry experience. The brightest and best of our students should be encouraged to consider this option. Career advice and decisions that are driven by school league tables are not serving our children or our country well. The pressure to get a third level degree with the hope of a good job at the end is not always beneficial to students or our economy.” Launching the apprenticeship Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “We need more initiatives like this and more industry-led ideas on how to draw young people into apprenticeships and emerging and exciting lines of work. We also need to provide more Government support for apprenticeships and to think about how we are going to provide more career opportunities in a fast-changing world of work. We hear a lot of criticism about the pressures on students, especially at the Leaving Cert and with the challenge of pursuing further education. So, the more we can do to provide a variety of exciting opportunities with solid career paths the better.” The Minister for Business, Innovation and Enterprise Heather Humphreys TD acknowledged the contribution of industry in the development of the apprenticeship. “Companies need skilled staff to grow, and this was recognised very early on by this cohort of companies, based as they are in local communities right across the country. They have demonstrated this clearly through involvement in apprenticeships, traineeships and Skillnets upskilling, and now again through this new programme. The leadership that OEM firms with Enterprise Ireland have shown in spearheading this initiative will be key as we face into the post-Brexit Joe McHugh TD, Minister for Education and Skills, Heather Humphreys TD, Minister for Business, Innovation and Enterprise, Martin McVicar, Managing Director Combilift and Chair of the OEM Consortium group, Robert Moffett, co-founder Combilift, John Kearney, CE, CMETB and local public representatives at the launch of the OEM apprenticeship. trading environment, and in diversification of export markets.” the This apprenticeship is aimed at school leavers who have completed their Leaving Certificate, or mature applicants, who wish to pursue a career in this area. This work- based learning will be carried out in an industrial setting and provides the apprentice with the opportunity to practise the skills acquired in the off-the-job phase in the ETBs and to develop new workplace skills and competences. During the work-based stages the apprentice will build up a level of experience while working alongside senior technicians, supervisors and managers in specific, relevant work contexts. The apprentice will also attend off the job education and training, on a block release basis over the three-year period. Speaking at the event, Mr John Kearney, Chief Executive, Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) outlined the training programme and the potential progression routes for students completing this apprenticeship. “This new apprenticeship opens up exciting new opportunities for participants in terms of applied skills development but also the prospects of life-long learning. Graduates of the OEM Apprenticeship will have the potential to continue along specific learning pathways up to and including Level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. This apprenticeship will provide skilled OEM apprentices, and offer credible career paths and progression routes in Institutes of Technology in Athlone, Sligo, Dundalk, Carlow and also University of Limerick.” The OEM Apprenticeship is open for recruitment with further information available from Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board ( The programme development and delivery of the apprenticeship is funded by SOLAS, the state agency responsible for education and training. Combilift is currently recruiting for spaces on its OEM Traineeship as previously featured in Bell Times. It is run in association with CMETB at Monaghan Institute. Further details and application forms are available from or Monaghan Institute. 13