Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris and Minister for State Niall Collins announced the Government's plan to offer 10,000 new annual apprenticeships by 2025 on Monday 19 April.

Included in the blueprint of the incentive is the creation of new apprenticeship programmes in the areas of healthcare, green tech, horticulture and farming.

The minsters' announcement included a €5,000 bursary programme which will support 100 apprentices annually, from target groups such as lone parents, people with disabilities and those from ethnic minority groups.

This payment will be made directly to the apprentice.

Diversity bursary

Additionally, the cabinet revealed that companies that encourage diversity will be awarded a €2,666 bursary.

This grant will be available to employers who have 80% of apprentices of one single gender. For example, a mechanical business hiring a female apprentice will be eligible to receive the support - as currently 80% of apprentice mechanics are male.

Just last month, Minister Harris hinted towards plans to further support the ongoing national apprenticeship employer incentivisation scheme, which currently provides employers with a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice hired and retained.

Following on from that conversation, the Government announced that the annual grant will be extended to every business on a permanent basis in 2022.

What exactly is the apprenticeship incentivisation scheme?

The ongoing apprenticeship incentivisation scheme works for all apprenticeship programmes - that is a total of 59 traditional and modern apprenticeship offerings, as of April 2021.

Currently SOLAS, the State agency which oversees the national apprenticeship programme, is responsible for developing and delivering the scheme.

In future, a National Apprenticeship Office (NAO) will bring together the apprenticeship functions of SOLAS and the Higher Education Authority (HEA) into a single office, further facilitating their already strong co-operation in supporting apprenticeships.

Speaking about the ongoing national apprenticeship incentivisation scheme, senior training adviser with Laois-Offaly Education Training Board (LOETB) Sandra Doyle said: “It is definitely worth looking into for an employer, as they will get the chance to build their own skilled labour force and receive financial support.

“Very often when I am meeting employers at that final stage of apprenticeship certification, they want to retain their apprentice.”

Challenge the stigma

Ahead of the launch, Minister Harris said: “I want to see apprenticeships discussed around kitchen tables, in boardrooms, in classrooms and anywhere else that decisions on education, skills and careers are made.”

He also called on the public to change and challenge the stigma around apprenticeships, to encourage greater take-up of the schemes, but also to inspire men and women of all ages and backgrounds to consider an apprenticeship training programme.

All apprenticeship opportunities, including an increased number in the public sector, will be advertised on

Additional queries may be directed by email to

Use the 'Jobs portal' facility on to advertise your current apprenticeship vacancy, or to submit an expression of interest in becoming an apprenticeship employer.

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