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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Apprenticeships




Ciara O'Gorman, Development Manager with South Munster Citizens Information Services discusses types of apprenticeships out there and how to go about applying for one.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is how people are trained in a craft trade or profession. You can get training in a traditional craft apprenticeship such as plumbing or carpentry or new apprenticeships such as accounting technician.

An apprenticeship programme provides on-the-job training with an employer along with off-the-job training in an education centre. You can start an apprenticeship from age 16 to 18 years depending on the apprenticeship programme. An apprenticeship can last two to four years, during which time you will spend some time in off-the-job training. When you complete an apprenticeship programme, you will get a recognised qualification at Level 5 or above on the NFQ framework.

Types of apprenticeships

The main craft trades and professions are set by SOLAS, employers and unions.

Craft apprenticeships

A craft apprenticeship will generally last for four years, during which time you will spend three different periods in off-the-job training. Craft apprenticeships include carpentry, plumbing, motor mechanics and electrical apprenticeships.

Generally, the first off-the-job training phase will take place in an Education and Training Board (ETB) while the subsequent off-the-job training phases will be in a Technological University or Institute of Technology. The skills you develop will be assessed through on-the-job competence testing as well as off-the-job modular assessment and examinations and, if you complete these assessments successfully, you will be awarded an Advanced Certificate – craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications).

New apprenticeships in other areas of industry

Apprenticeships introduced from 2016 on lead to an award between Levels 5-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Each apprenticeship programme is between two and four years. New apprenticeships in ICT, finance and hospitality include software development, accounting technician and commis chef.

There are a number of models of on-the-job and off-the-job training, as well as different models of delivery and different target groups (including people already in employment). Industry-led groups work with education and training providers and other partners, to oversee the development and roll-out of new apprenticeships. You can search for apprenticeships on

Funding supports for apprenticeships

Traveller Apprenticeship Incentivisation Programme
The Traveller Apprenticeship Incentivisation Programme pilot project offers bursaries for members of the Traveller community to access apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship employer awards
Certain employers who provide apprenticeships can get an apprenticeship employers grant of €2,000 per year for each registered apprentice. Employers can also avail of a gender-based bursary.

Apprenticeship fees
Generally, an apprentice does not pay fees. However, apprentices pay a pro-rata registration fee (student contribution) if their off-the-job training takes place within a college such as an Institute of Technology or Technological University. The registration fee is generally based on the amount of time the apprentice spends in the college. Apprentices are not eligible for the student grant.

Apprenticeship wages and allowances
Rates of apprenticeship wages and allowances can vary depending on the type of apprenticeship and the industry you have chosen:

Apprenticeships developed before 2016:
While you are training on the job, your employer will pay you a recommended apprenticeship wage. The ETB pay a weekly allowance equivalent to that wage while you are training off the job. In some cases, the ETB will contribute to your travel and accommodation costs.

Apprenticeships developed in 2016 and after:
Your employer will pay you for the duration of the apprenticeship. The rate of pay is agreed between you and your employer.

Annual leave: Your statutory holiday entitlements continue to accrue during the off-the-job phases, but must be taken during the on-the-job phases at times agreed with your employer.

Apprentices who have children:
Working Family Payment (WFP) is a weekly tax-free payment for employees with children. If you are an apprentice and you have at least one child you may qualify for WFP, if you meet the conditions for WFP. Contact your local CIC for more details.

Other allowances
You should check with your employer or local ETB if you are entitled to any allowances such as a Tool Allowance. You should also check if you qualify for employment tax credits and reliefs.

How to qualify for an apprenticeship

To be eligible for an apprenticeship, you must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in five subjects in the Junior Cycle or equivalent exam. However, higher educational qualifications and other requirements may be required by employers. If you don't have these qualifications, you may still register as an apprentice with an employer if you:

Complete an approved preparatory training course followed by an assessment interview.
Are over 18 years of age and have at least three years of relevant work experience, in which case you will also be asked to do an assessment interview.

You will be asked to pass a colour-vision test for some apprenticeships.

How to apply for an apprenticeship

You can find apprenticeship jobs for craft and new apprenticeships on Apply directly to the employer before the closing date. You can also approach an employer to ask if they will consider taking you as an apprentice. If you are interested in a craft apprenticeship, you can also contact the Apprenticeship Section of your local ETB for details about applying.

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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Fire warning in National Park

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places […]




The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) at the Department of Housing, Local Government and Housing has appealed to the public not to light fires or barbecues in public places this summer.

As they appeal to the public to exercise renewed care and responsibility when outdoors the National Parks and Wildlife Service has increased ground crews on fire patrol and has ramped up aerial monitoring with helicopters and drones.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien TD said:

“If you notice a fire, please call the emergency services on 112 immediately. NPWS teams are upping their patrols to identify potential fire incidents and act quickly should one break out. However as we know, prevention is better than cure, and we’re asking all members of the public to avoid lighting fires in open areas.”

Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform Malcolm Noonan TD commented further:

“Our National Parks and Nature Reserves, coastal sand dunes, mountains and upland areas, forests, meadows and urban parks are all places where we enjoy spending time in nature, but they are also home to our precious wildlife and their vulnerable young. This is a really important time of year for wildlife, especially vulnerable ground-nesting birds and mammals who are now rearing their young. We all want to get out and enjoy the good weather but let’s do it responsibly – without putting nature at risk.”

The Director General of the NPWS, Niall O Donnchú, has also asked for everybody’s cooperation to protect nature and said:

“While NPWS has increased ground crews and monitoring from the air this week, we still need to enlist your help to protect nature at this high risk time. We ask that members of the public not light fires or barbecues in any National Parks or Nature Reserves, or indeed in nature generally. We are also asking that the public be vigilant and report any fire activity without delay.”

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Killarney Looking Good Competition returns

Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new […]




Over three decades after it was first initiated, to help improve the aesthetic values of the town, the Killarney Looking Good Competition is back with a vengeance with a new committee, new categories, new sponsors and a whole new approach.

When the project was first launched in 1991 it was a relatively low-key community event but it grew in importance with each passing year, culminating in some style when Killarney won the prestigious overall award in the national tidy towns competition in 2011.

After an enforced three-year absence since 2019, due to the pandemic, the competition has now been given a whole new lease of life and the 2023 version was officially launched this week by Mayor of Killarney, Cllr Niall Kelleher.

Awards will be presented in 26 different categories and high achievers in the business and residential community will be honoured at a gala prizegiving ceremony at the close of the tourist season.

This year two new categories are being introduced in memory of two remarkable people who played massive roles in keeping Killarney looking its best down through the years.

Yvonne Quill, who passed away last October, was the driving force behind the Killarney tidy towns campaign for several years and she was at the helm when the sought-after overall award was secured 12 years ago.

This year the Yvonne Quill Memorial Award will be presented to the volunteer of the year – a person who the adjudicators consider to be a standout contributor – in the overall effort to keep Killarney tidy.

Up to the time of his death in January 2020, Fr Michael Murphy was the public face of tidy towns and he played a huge part in Killarney, Kenmare and Sneem winning the overall national award in 2011, 2000 and 1987 respectively. Affectionately known as Fr Tidy, this year the Killarney Looking Good Competition will honour his memory with a special Pride of Place award.

In the business community, there will be awards for the best large and small commercial premises, best newly painted premises, best signage and the best retail award with prizes also for the most impressive hotel, public house, restaurant, café, guesthouse and best public building as well as the most improved premises.
In the residential categories awards will go to the best large and small estates, best private residence, best roadside garden, best floral display and best friendly planting award.

Other categories include a green hospitality award, a corporate special responsibility award, a restoration award, best school and a special biodiversity award.
Several highly commended awards will also be up for grabs and the winner of the prestigious overall award will be announced at the prizegiving ceremony.

The Killarney Looking Good Competition is organised by Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce and Killarney Municipal District Council and the new committee comprises Sandra Dunlea – a daughter of the late Yvonne Quill – Kathleen Foley, John O’Mahony and Johnny McGuire who is spearheading the project.

MD O’Shea & Sons are the new overall sponsors of the competition and O’Mahony Media Ltd is the media sponsor.

The competition will run throughout the tourist season and businesses and residential areas will be monitored on an ongoing basis.

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