Career Advice | 4 Aug 2018

Are we talking our kids out of Apprenticeships?

Most of us at some stage have done it, we dream about our kids going to University – the photograph with the cap and gown, scroll in hand. The proud parents gleaming with pride and the Grandparents in the shot too if we’re lucky. We work hard to make ends meet, to give our kids the very best, to let them have opportunities that we could only dream of. But what happens when our kids don’t conform to “our plans”. For some kids, ‘coming out’ and telling their parents that they want to leave school between 16 - 18 to do an Apprenticeship is a very difficult task, yes they might be a very bright child but that doesn’t matter, they may want to take a different learning path.  Initial reactions may be shock and disappointment, we may even try to talk them out of it, “it’s only a phase”, “you’ll enjoy next school term better”.  If the child won’t listen this may even turn to anger “all the years I’ve slaved to give you the opportunities, I never had and now you want to waste that!”, “well that’s great, why can’t you be like so & so who did bla bla bla”, you’d swear the poor child had committed a crime.    Over the years I’ve had young people ask me “How can I tell my parents I want to leave school without making them angry”?   Surely this is wrong! Parents, it’s not the end of the World if your child decides to leave “formal” education to take a different route. Latest statistics show that there has been an increase of 25% last year in the number of young people opting to pursue apprenticeships. And yes it’s only 2-3% of school leavers that do this in Ireland while 60% progress to higher education, but in Germany it’s the opposite - 60% of school leavers take the apprenticeship route and Germany are doing well off it, they have the largest national economy in Europe and are fourth-largest by nominal GDP in the world. As far as I’m concerned, the healthiest way to react to a young adult who is having “such thoughts” is like everything else. Hear them out, listen carefully, try and understand why they want to do this, support them and research the options with them before jumping to conclusions. They are not “going to ruin their lives” due to non-conformity of your plans, these represent your dreams not theirs. Dropping out of school or college early to enter the workforce in a “learn as you earn” programme such as an Apprenticeship or Traineeship is not a failure. It can be a very rewarding and positive experience for both parents and young adults if planned carefully and with the full support of those around the person in question. Many, many people before them have become very successful without a formal college degree. When it comes to big decision making, young people need your support more than ever, so have their back, embrace their feelings, research with them, educate yourself about the options out there and then if they still feel the same about their decision – do what all good parents them all the way and be very proud when they graduate in their field. HERE’S SOME INFORMATION ON APPRENTICESHIPS AND TRAINEESHIPS 2018 At we get a lot of requests from our followers asking for advice on how to get an apprenticeship so we’ve rounded up some useful links that we hope will help. The ETBs (Education Training Boards) have some really great pre-apprenticeship & apprenticeship courses. These include traditional apprenticeships but also some new ones so it’s worthwhile checking out their websites – list of ETBs can be found here; Traditional craft apprenticeships include those in Construction, Electrical, Engineering and Motor sectors. There are over 20 new occupational apprenticeships in the Computer & ICT, MedTech, Insurance, Finance, Accountancy, Logistics and Hospitality sectors – a lot of these lead to BA programmes. Some of these apprenticeships have already started taking in candidates whilst other are still in the development stage. More information on their progress, training structure, entry requirements, apprenticeship vacancies and informational videos etc., are available on this link; There are also some Traineeship Opportunities available such as: - Outdoor Activity Instructor - OEM Engineering Technology - Hospitality Traineeship - Laboratory Techniques These are mainly one-year long Traineeship programmes that combine formal training with extensive workplace placement. All traineeships include: Industry recognised certification (QQI and/or City and Guilds), Meal and travel allowances and other allowances may also be payable. More Information on these is available here; So who’s recruiting? Some really large organisations are offering opportunities each year such as the ESB, Aerlingus, Atlantic Aviation, County Councils, Dublin Bus and GSK to name a few. Take GSK for an example they have bases in Sligo, Cork & Waterford and their apprentice opportunities are in the areas of; Mechanical Automation and Maintenance & Electrical & Instrumentation. (MORE INFORMATION: A lot of small employers are now taking on candidates for the traditional Craft Apprenticeships and they mainly advertise on job boards such as and It’s also worthwhile putting out the word that you are looking for an apprenticeship as word of mouth still works and you can check in with your local ETB office or jobs centre because sometimes they get information on vacancies that are not even advertised. Allowances and Grants; There are allowances paid when doing an apprenticeship. Details of rates can be found here; For some of the pre-apprenticeship courses/traineeships, other grants and allowances apply, but you would need to check what’s available and your individual eligibility. These are some of the options that may be available; SUSI - Student Maintenance Grant: This means-tested grant is a source of financial help available to students on full-time Post Leaving Certificate/ Further Education programmes. Check out all grant application information on SUSI, the grant body, provides a support desk for queries regarding grants, eligibility and the application process. The support desk can be contacted at or alternatively contact 0761 087874. Back to Education Allowance: Mature students may qualify for assistance by means of Back to Education Allowance which allows adults to return to full time education while continuing to get income support. People in receipt of certain social welfare payments can retain payments whilst participating on our PLC/Further Education programmes. All BTEA information is available from the Department of Social Protection /your local Social Welfare Office. To search for Jobs or to Advertise a job go to We hope this helped you.
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