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Earn while you learn with apprenticeship training




By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

An apprenticeship combines learning in an education and training institution with work-based learning with an employer, in a company or organisation.

At least 50% of apprenticeship learning is completed in the workplace and apprenticeships lead to nationally recognised qualifications. Apprenticeships are open to school leavers, mature learners, career changers, women and men with diverse backgrounds, talents, skills and abilities. They are ideally suited to individuals who want to learn practical and technical skills and who prefer learning-by-doing. Recent figures show that the number of people involved in apprenticeship training increased to 24,212 in 2021, with a record 8,607 new registrations in that year.

Types of apprenticeships

Currently there are 62 different apprenticeships available across multiple sectors, with 17 more in development and because they are industry-led, apprentices gain the most up to date and relevant skills for the jobs market. Apprentices ‘earn while they learn’ – they have an employment contract and are paid a training allowance or salary for the duration of their apprenticeship training. Most people are familiar with the craft apprenticeships often referred to as the ‘trades’. There are 25 of them categorised under motor, electrical, construction and engineering. In each case they last approximately four years and are made up of seven phases which alternate between on-the-job training with the employer and off-the-job training which generally takes place in an Education and Training Board (ETB) Training Centre or an Institute of Technology. In 2016 a number of ‘new’ apprenticeships were developed across 15 different industry sectors including finance, ICT, biopharma, arboriculture, hairdressing, hospitality and food, insurance, logistics, property services, recruitment and sales. The ‘off-the-job’ aspect of training in these programmes can vary between day/block releases, online and blending learning. Salaries for those starting off in these apprenticeships start at approximately €18,000. One such example is the IFS (International Financial Services) apprenticeships which offer two year programmes for individuals who have an interest in pursuing a career in the Financial Services sector. Applications are currently open on to applicants who have completed Leaving Certificate or equivalent and close on March 31 at midnight.

Entry Requirements

To become an apprentice applicants will need to be hired by a SOLAS approved employer, company or organisation. Entry requirements differ across the various apprenticeship programmes, for some a Junior Cert qualification and entry age of 16 will suffice, while others require a Leaving Cert qualification or equivalent with an entry age of 18. Apprenticeship training varies in length depending on the programme, lasting between two and four years.

Where to find out more

Specific details of each apprenticeship including contact details for further information are available on It is really useful to link in with the local Education and Training Board, for example Kerry ETB. Follow @apprenticesirl on social media as they regularly post adverts from companies and organisations that are recruiting apprentices. Check vacancies on Keep an eye on career websites such as, jobs boards, and media outlets locally and nationally. A designated guidance service on apprenticeships is available from 12pm-6pm, Monday to Friday, by calling the Freephone number 1800 794 487.

Kerry College is running an Apprenticeship Information Evening this coming Thursday (March 24) from 5-9pm at their Monavalley Campus (V92PW50). This is an ideal opportunity for anyone interested in apprenticeships to meet hiring employers and apprenticeship providers, find out what how it all works, chat with employed apprentices and get practical advice and insights from instructors.

Niamh Dwyer is the chairperson of Kerry Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. She is also the founder of My Career Plan, a careers advisory service for teenagers and adults. See for details or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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Minister passes the buck on major road upgrade

By Sean Moriarty Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Eamon Ryan has passed the buck after being challenged on why the Killarney to Farranfore road has been further delayed. Transport […]




By Sean Moriarty

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Eamon Ryan has passed the buck after being challenged on why the Killarney to Farranfore road has been further delayed.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) have been putting off the revelation of the preferred route corridor for the badly needed road for months.

Elected councillors at the January meeting of the Killarney Municipal District expressed their anger after TII failed to honour a pre-Christmas promise.

In November last year the roads authority said it would put the preferred corridor on public display by the start of December.

So far, nothing has been published.

This prompted local TD Michael Healy-Rae to bring the issue to the Dáil where he asked Minister Ryan to make a statement on the delay.

However, the Minister passed the buck, saying the matter was for the TII, the very agency that has not honoured its late 2022 promise.

“As Minister for Transport, I have responsibility for overall policy and exchequer funding in relation to the National Roads Programme. Under the Roads Acts 1993-2015 and in line with the National Development Plan (NDP), the planning, design and construction of individual national roads is a matter for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), in conjunction with the local authorities concerned,” said Ryan.

“This is also subject to the Public Spending Code and the necessary statutory approvals. In this context, TII is best placed to advise you on the status of this project. Noting the above position, I have referred your question to TII for a direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within 10 working days.”

Next Friday (February 10), will mark 10 working days from the date of the statement was made.


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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Contraceptive Services in Ireland

Birth control or contraception is the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. You can get contraception from most pharmacies in Ireland. Most contraception will need a prescription […]




Birth control or contraception is the use of medicines, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy.

You can get contraception from most pharmacies in Ireland. Most contraception will need a prescription from a GP but you do not need a prescription for emergency contraception or condoms.

You can get prescriptions for contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as advice about contraception from GPs, voluntary organisations and private family planning clinics. Voluntary and private family planning clinics usually have charges but may waive them or have lower fees in certain cases.

In Budget 2023 it was announced that the age range for free contraception will be extended to include women aged 16 and aged 26 to 30, from 1 September 2023. This change requires legislation.

Is contraception free in Ireland?

You can get free contraception if you are:

A woman or person with a uterus
Aged 17 to 26
Living in Ireland

What contraception costs are free for people aged 17 to 26?

Any GP appointments about your contraception options
Contraception prescriptions from your doctor (at participating pharmacies)
Emergency contraception (the morning-after-pill)
Fitting, removal and check-ups of long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs)
Other types of contraception such as contraceptive injections, implants, IUS and IUDs (coils), the contraceptive patch and contraceptive ring
Prescriptions for combined oral contraception (the daily pill)

How do I get free contraception if I am aged 17 to 26?

You do not need a medical card.
You need to book an appointment with a GP or doctor to discuss your contraception. This appointment will be free. The GP and pharmacy will ask for your:

PPS number
Date of birth

Your GP will use this information to let the pharmacy know not to charge you for your free contraception prescription. You can also collect your free contraception from some family planning clinics.

Is contraception covered by my medical card?

If you have a medical card, you get free contraceptive drugs, devices and free GP services including contraceptive advice. This also includes emergency contraception. You will have to pay a prescription charge for items you get from pharmacies under the medical card scheme.

What is the situation, if I do not have a medical card?

If you do not have a medical card, and you are not eligible for the free contraception scheme (above), you will have to pay for contraception and contraceptive services. You may be able to reduce the cost of your contraception through the Drug Payment Scheme. For example, the cost of long-acting reversible contraceptives such as the IUS (hormonal coil) or IUD (copper coil). You may also be able to claim tax relief on medical expenses.

Can I get free condoms in Ireland?

Condoms are not free under the medical card or free contraception scheme.

You can get free condoms from:
Sexual health or GUM (genitourinary medicine) clinics
Some sexual health NGOs
Many third level colleges

Where can I get emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception is a back-up contraception. You can use emergency contraception up to five days after having unprotected sex, but it is more effective the sooner you take it after unprotected sex.
You can get emergency contraception tablets (sometimes called the morning-after pill) over the counter in most pharmacies without having to go to a doctor for a prescription.

You can get free emergency contraception if:

You have a medical card, or
You are a woman or person with a uterus, aged 17 to 26 and living in Ireland

You can read more about contraception services on the HSE website:

For anyone needing information, advice or have an advocacy issue, you can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on or log on to for further information.

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