Ministers Donohoe & Harris launch Public Service Apprenticeship Plan

15th August, 2023

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister for Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform Pascal Donohoe TD have today (XX) launched the Public Service Apprenticeship Plan2022-2025.

The Plan outlines how to grow the number of annual apprenticeship registrations across the public service, including local authorities, to 750 by 2025.

The Public Service Apprenticeship Plan is a key commitment of the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 and creates a roadmap to the delivery of that target, while offering an alternative recruitment route to jobseekers interested in a career in the civil service.

The Plan, which will be overseen by the two Departments, commits to new programmes to help increase the number of apprentices in the civil service including:

· First intake of apprentices on the digital marketing and media programme;
· First intake of apprentices on Executive Officer (EO) generalist programme;
· Develop a planning technician programme;
· Develop a NFQ level 5 Healthcare Assistant programme;
· Develop an Architectural Technician programme;
· Develop a Civil Technician programme;
· Develop a Junior Investigator programme in Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission;
· Develop a paramedic programme in the health service.

The two Departments will establish and co-chair a Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group (PSALG) to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of the agreed actions.

The PSALG will establish proportionate targets for the employment of apprentices within Departments and other public service bodies.

All Government departments, HSE, and the Local Government Management Agency will report on how they intend to meet the proportionate targets set.

The local authorities and the HSE will recruit at least five craft apprentices per organisation annually.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “We have placed an unrelenting focus on apprenticeship since the establishment of this Department. The number of people registering as apprentices shows this has worked.

“However, it is not enough for us to simply encourage businesses and learners to consider an apprenticeship. The Government must open itself up to apprenticeship opportunities.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious target of 750 apprenticeships in the Public Sector by 2030. Today, we have 373. This plan will create new apprenticeships and new opportunities for careers in the public service.”

Minister Donohoe added: “I’m delighted that the Plan has received widespread support across Government, and that we have already received specific commitments from Departments eager to participate in one or more apprenticeship programmes, while a smaller number of Departments are actively leading on the development of new programmes.

“In the Department of Public Expenditure, we have overseen the successful recruitment of more than 100 ICT apprentices into the civil service earlier this year, and we know we need to do more.

The Plan falls under the theme of Workforce of the Future in the new strategy for public service transformation – Better Public Services – which I launched this year. This strategy aims to ensure that the public service has the right skills in place to meet the current and future public needs.

My Department looks forward to working with the Public Sector Leadership Board and co-chairing, with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, a Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of actions by Departments, agencies and public bodies.

Last year saw a total of 373 apprentices registered with public service employers such as the civil service, the Defence Forces, and local authorities.

This was an increase of 103 above 2021 registrations. The apprentices were on over 20 different programmes in areas as diverse as cybersecurity, accounting technician, recruitment, heavy vehicle mechanics and stonecutting and stonemasonry.



Notes to the Editor

Background to Public Service Apprenticeship Recruitment Plan 2022-2025

A concerted effort is essential in order to achieve the target of 750 annual registrations. This has been a particular focus of activity since 2022, with dedicated follow-up engagement with those organisations most advanced in their considerations of the use of apprenticeships.

The Public Service Apprenticeship Plan creates a roadmap to the delivery of the apprenticeship target, detailing opportunities already identified and under investigation while also providing a single reference document for further exploration of the applicability of apprenticeship in the public service as and when demand and interest arises.

The consultation and engagement that has gone in to this plan has underlined the widespread recognition of those involved that the diversity of the public service provides a wide basis for involvement with the range of existing apprenticeships and those programmes in development. Participants also noted that apprenticeship provides an opportunity to target and widen the recruitment pool for both generalist and specialist roles within the public service.

The Plan also includes the establishment of a Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group (PSALG) co-chaired by DPENDR and DFHERIS, with membership representing the main public service sectors, to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of actions.