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Apprenticeships – earn as you learn

By March 7, 2023October 16th, 2023No Comments

An apprenticeship is the recognised way people train in a craft trade or profession. As an apprentice you earn as you learn.  You will be paid for your work and you will gain internationally recognised qualifications. Common apprenticeships include construction, electrical, engineering, hospitality or cooking, mechanics, or IT.

If you have any questions about apprenticeships, you can chat online to a trained Youth Information Officer or leave us a message and we can get back to you.

Here is our short guide on Apprenticeships:

Craft Apprenticeships: 

The main craft trades and professions  are coordinated and managed by SOLAS along with the Department of Education and Science, employers and unions. You can train to become a plasterer or electrician etc.  While you are training, you work with an employer learning the necessary skills and receive a wage. Most apprenticeships last 4 years.

Entry Requirements

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert or equivalent (QQI level 3/4).
  • In reality many employers would prefer to take on those with a Leaving Cert or equivalent.
  • If you can’t meet these criteria, you can still become an apprentice if you:
    • Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship training course (see below)
    • Are over 16 and have worked for at least three years in a relevant industry that SOLAS approves and have competed a successful assessment interview

Steps to becoming a Craft Apprentice

  1. Find a employer: 
    • recruitment websites have list of apprenticeship vacancies (e.g.,, ),
    • local trades people
    • word of mouth through family and friends.
  2. Check if you have achieved the necessary entry requirements – there are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.
  3. In general, it is the employer that registers you with SOLAS.
  4. Craft Apprenticeships are coordinated by SOLAS – contact your local office to make an appointment to talk to someone about apprenticeships.
  5. gives advice on how to find apprenticeships

Professional Apprenticeships:

NFQ Level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries in areas as diverse as; financial services, accounting, medical devices, software development etc.  Professional bodies such as Accounting Technicians of Ireland/ Insurance Practitioners of Ireland have programmes to link you to the employers and relevant academic institutes.

Steps to becoming a Professional Apprentice

  1. Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods – Contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.  
  2. Join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives
  3. Check if you have achieved the necessary entry requirements – There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job.  The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.
  4. Check out

Access to Apprenticeship Programmes

Access to Apprenticeship Programme is delivered by TU Dublin’s college of Engineering and Built Environment. It is a 12 week programme that gives you an opportunity to sample a range of apprenticeships in Construction, Engineering, Electrical, Motor and Aviation – it runs 3 times a year – September, January and April .

Learners who participate in an Access to Apprenticeship programme in Technological University Dublin or Technological University of the Shannon from September 2023 are eligible to apply to the National Apprenticeship Office for an Access and Inclusion bursary.

Bursary amount: Up to €3,000 to support costs associated with travelling, accommodation, equipment, and preparation for training.

Pre-Apprenticeships – accessing apprenticeships

If you would like to do an apprenticeship but don’t have the minimum entry requirements e.g. Junior Cert, then this course would be worth exploring.

The Pre-Apprenticeship course offers you the opportunity to gain the qualification needed to begin an apprenticeship or to proceed to further education at level 4 and beyond. The course is comparable to Junior Certificate. It offers both hands-on and classroom based modules and aims to develop skills, knowledge and expertise to gaining an apprenticeship in a range of trades or industries.  For information you can contact SOLAS or your local Youthreach would be a good place to start.  e.g. Dun Laoghaire Community Training Centre Pre-Apprenticeship Training Course

Pre-Apprenticeship Course – College of Further Ed (PLC)

If you want to prepare for an apprenticeship in a construction related trade such as Carpentry and Joinery, Electrical, Bricklaying, Plastering or Plumbing, then this course might be a good step. This course is suitable for those who wish to progress to further and higher education courses in the construction industry. For information you can check out your local College of Further Education e.g. Pre Apprenticeship Course – Construction Technology

Pre-Tech Apprenticeships aim to prepare more people to the Tech Apprenticeship route to careers in IT by showcasing tech roles and providing skills sampling in growth areas such as Software Development, Network Engineering and Cybersecurity.

CIF Transition Year (TY) Work-placement Initiative

The CIF Manpower Education and Training Committee runs a TY work placement initiative in partnership with and with the support of the Institute of Careers Guidance Counsellors (ICG).

The objective of the initiative to encourage second level students, who are making careers decisions, to consider construction as a real option. Secondly, it is designed to encourage CIF members to offer work placement to nurture this interest in construction. This way we can develop a pipeline of talented people into this industry.

You can download our Guide to Apprenticeships here

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