News & Events

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Simon Harris highlight apprenticeship opportunities available for employers and trainees

Minister Harris highlights the diversity of learning opportunities available to school leavers

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar and the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris have today reported strong interest in the Government’s new Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme.

On a visit to the Pfizer Grange Castle campus to meet with company representatives and apprentices from Pfizer’s four apprenticeship programmes, they encouraged employers and new trainees to consider undertaking an apprenticeship as an alternative to traditional third level education or direct entry into the workplace.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said: “We want more employers to see for themselves the benefits of taking on apprentices. The advantages include having a wider talent pool inside your company, a greater range of bespoke skills among employees, and the ability to deal with specific skill gaps.

“Around 6,500 employers are already running apprenticeship programmes but we want to see many more. The July Stimulus Initiative established the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, which provides a grant of €3,000 per apprentice over two years, for employers who register apprentices before the end of the year.  It offers greater choice to employers and to school leavers and learners of all ages.

“I’m very happy to report that in the three weeks since the Scheme went live, applications have been received from employers representing 310 individual apprentices.”

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris said: “As Leaving Cert results are issued and the focus inevitably turns to CAO offers over the coming weeks it is important for students to remember that there are many routes to a chosen career and I would encourage students to look at all the options available to them, including apprenticeship.” 

“Today’s visit is a prime example of the range of options available to school leavers and learners of all ages – in this one organisation there are 24 apprentices across laboratory, electrical instrumentation and mechanical automation and maintenance fitting programmes.  Not only are these apprentices gaining a recognised qualification, but at the same time they are gaining paid workplace experience.

“Apprenticeship offers real choice both to business and learners of all ages and stages of experience.  The sector has changed radically over the past 4 years, with 58 different programmes now available across all sectors of the economy.   Last month three new programmes were launched – the Supply Chain Associate apprenticeship (QQI level 7), the first Recruitment Executive apprenticeship which is a 3 year QQI level 8 award and the Principal Engineer apprenticeship which is the first apprenticeship in Ireland to lead to a QQI level 10 award.”


Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme

Funded under the July Jobs Stimulus programme, the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme is designed to support employers to continue to recruit apprentices during the immediate Covid-19 period.   Apprenticeship employers are eligible for a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice who is registered between the period 01 March and 31 December 2020. €2,000 per apprentice is payable at the point of registration with a further €1,000 is payable in Quarter 3 2021 for each eligible apprentice retained in employment.

The incentive support covers all 58 national apprenticeship programmes and will apply to any new apprenticeship programmes which are launched in 2020.  SOLAS, as the statutory agency overseeing the apprenticeship system, has been charged with responsibility for developing, delivering and administering this new scheme.  Further information on the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme may be found on


Additional information for employers and potential apprentices on apprenticeship programmes or available opportunities in apprenticeship may be found on or through your local Education and Training Board (ETB).

 The Apprenticeship Jobs Portal is available at and is a free service for employers who are approved by SOLAS to employ apprentices.