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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.



Credit Union launch a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd. Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) […]




Building on recent success the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick have launched a new collaboration with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd.

Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd specialise in Photovoltaic (PV) Solar systems that generate electricity, battery storage, air to water heat-pumps and much more.
Gilroy’s work with customers to receive the SEAI once-off grant towards the purchase and installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and heat pumps for your home.
Collaborating with Kerry and West Limerick Credit Union expands the finance options available to Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd customers to help finance new PV Solar Panel installations. Loan rates will be directly linked to the property BER starting from 4.7%(4.89APR) for an “A” rated BER.
Martin Gilroy; CEO with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd said: “We are delighted to officially launch this collaboration with the Credit Unions of Kerry and West Limerick. Customers have already reaped the benefits on recent installation projects after contacting their local Credit Union. Having a direct link to local Credit Unions allows us to guide customers to affordable financing options based on the specific installation quotation we provide at very competitive rates.“
Speaking on behalf of the Kerry and West Limerick Credit Unions, Ashley Fitzgerald added: “We are delighted to have Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd come on board as part of our Greener Homes Loan offering. Home Energy Upgrade have become a prominent concern and talking point among members in recent months, by Credit Unions having a direct link with Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd allows both sides to make referrals and seek the best finance option for members. We are working hard building relationships with Green Energy Ltd providers as we want to ensure our members can avail of the best loan rates for all upgrade works.”
Credit Unions across Kerry and West Limerick. Abbeyfeale Credit Union, Cara Credit Union, Killarney Credit Union, Listowel Credit Union and Rathmore and District Credit Union can be reached via:
Gilroy’s Green Energy Ltd can be contacted on 066-7115920, email or for more information visit

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Racegoers Club to host Cheltenham Preview Night

Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7. Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St […]




Killarney Racegoers Club will host its annual Cheltenham Preview Night in Corkery’s Bar on March 7.

Admission is free and this year’s chosen beneficiary is the Killarney Branch of St Vincent De Paul Society.
The expert panel includes professional punter Paddy Wilmott, leading jockey Conor McNamara, up-and-coming Kerry-based trainer Eoin McCarthy and local bookmaker Brendan Tyther with Vince Casey acting as the event’s compere.

“There is no admission fee but a raffle on the night for dual membership of Killarney Racegoers Club for the year, which includes 13 days racing and many reciprocal days to other race meetings,” said Mr Casey.

The Cheltenham Festival begins on March 12.


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