Mid-West Regional Skills Forum careers showcase to open up a world of opportunity

David Hurley


David Hurley

Joe Leddin, pictured here speaking to students in UL, is trying to create awareness about apprenticeship programmes that are available

Joe Leddin, pictured here speaking to students in UL, is trying to create awareness about apprenticeship programmes that are available

THOUSANDS of students, parents and guidance counsellors are expected to attend a major apprenticeship, traineeship and careers showcase in Limerick city.

Organised by the Mid-West Regional Skills Forum, the day-long event will take place at the Great National South Court Hotel, Raheen today, Tuesday, November 6.

As part of a government strategy rolled out in 2016, dozens of new industry-led apprenticeship and traineeship programmes have been developed in partnership with education and training providers across the country.

In addition to the traditional craft based apprenticeships such as carpentry and plumbing, there are now opportunities to “earn and learn” in sectors such as financial services, ICT, hospitality, accounting, aviation and bio pharma.

The government also wants to double the number of available apprenticeship and traineeship places to about 10,000 annually by 2020.

“All these different sectors in Ireland are now launching different apprenticeships programmes so what we are trying to do is we are trying to create an awareness amongst different cohorts that these options are out there and that there are non-craft based apprenticeships programmes,” said Joe Leddin, manager of the Mid-West Regional Skills Forum.

The biggest influencers on what students choose to do, Mr Leddin added, are guidance counsellors and the students’ own parents.

“If the guidance counsellor in the school doesn’t know that there is an apprenticeship in ICT or bio pharma or logistics or hospitality or manufacturing or accounting or finance then there is a strong chance the parents don't know.

“This means students will probably end up doing a course in LIT or UL that they may not have an interest in and they may end up dropping out or whatever the case may be.

“The purpose of this event is to create awareness about all the different apprenticeship and trainee programmes that are out there so that the right decision can be made,” he explained.

The showcase, which is supported by Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, will take place from 11am to 7pm.

Those who attend will be able to meet with industry representatives who will outline the apprenticeship and traineeship opportunities which are currently available and which are being developed.

The showcase will feature a range of interactive demonstrations exploring traditional craft-based apprenticeships including: electrical, carpentry, electronic security, instrumentation, motor and metal fabrication.

“In addition, national employer representative agencies including the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Hotels Federation, the Insurance Institute of Ireland, Engineers Ireland and Ibec will present a range of new apprenticeship and traineeship programmes.

Senior cycle students from schools in the region will be allocated slots between 11am and 2pm, while guidance counsellors are being encouraged to attend from 2pm to 4pm.

The showcase will then be open to the public for the remainder of the evening.

“For a student or a career changer or someone who is unemployed and trying to get back into the workplace all of these different opportunities are there now to be employed by a company, draw down a salary and have the company leave you go off site for one or two days a week to do your theoretical part of your training,” said Mr Leddin.

Those who attend the showcase will also be informed about the recently launched Mid-West apprenticeship app.

“It will give you the different sectors and when you click in, it will give you the list of companies within that sector who are approved employers of apprentices and what programme they are offering and contact person within that company so now we have joined up a company with a potential apprentice and vice versa,” added Mr Leddin.

- Supported by the Mid-West Regional Skills Forum