APPRENTICESHIP – BTC – BALLYFERMOT TRAINING CENTRE
Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which people are trained to become craftspeople in Ireland. The main craft trades (see Listing in FAQ section below) have been designated by SOLAS and come within the scope of the Statutory Apprenticeship system, which is organised in Ireland by SOLAS in co-operation with the Department of Education and Skills, employers and unions.

If you have any queries please contact Query-app@btc.cdetb.ie

Apprenticeship is a demand-driven, workplace and classroom, educational and training programme for employed people aimed at developing the skills of the apprentice to meet the needs of industry and the labour market. The Curriculum for each apprenticeship programme is based on uniform, pre-specified standards which are agreed and determined by industry. On successful completion of an apprenticeship, a FETAC Advanced Certificate is awarded; this is recognised internationally as the requirement for craftsperson status.

PAYMENT
Apprentices are paid the agreed Industrial Apprentice Wage Rate by the employer (the actual rate paid may vary depending on the occupation and employer). Generally, rates are based on the year and increase during the apprenticeship; details should be checked with the prospective employer. During off-the-job training, all apprentices are paid an Apprentice Allowance and where appropriate, a contribution towards travel or accommodation costs. There are also grants to encourage employers to recruit and register Female Apprentices.

The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when the Results Approval Panel approves that the apprentice has successfully achieved the required qualifying standard, completed all of the alternating on-the-Job and Off-the-job phases of her/her apprenticeship and served the minimum apprenticeship period as specified by SOLAS from time to time. An Advanced Certificate Craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications) is awarded to successful apprentices. For further information on Apprenticeships, see Code of Practice, Eligibility, Assessment and Benefits.

Further information about becoming, or employing, an apprentice contact your local Apprenticeship Section in the Ballyfermot Training Centre.

ELIGIBILITY & ASSESSMENT
Apprentices must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in any five subjects in the Junior Certificate or equivalent. However, employers may require additional minimum qualifications.

Where individuals do not meet the minimum requirements they may be registered as an apprentice by an employer if:

They satisfactorily complete an approved preparatory training course and assessment interview. For information on these courses please contact your local Employment Services Office.

or

Over 16 years of age with a minimum of three years relevant work experience. This work experience must be in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable.

Apprentices must be employed in their chosen occupation by an employer who has been approved by SOLAS. The employer must register the apprentice with SOLAS within 2 weeks of recruitment.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
The minimum age at which a person may commence employment as an apprentice is 16 years of age.

The minimum educational requirements are:

Grade D in Five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,

or

the successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course,

or

be over 16 years of age with at least 3 years work experience. This work experience must be in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable.

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
Apprentices are assessed on a structured ongoing basis throughout their apprenticeship. Modular assessments are carried out during the off-the-job training phases. These assessments incorporate course work, standardised practical assessments and theoretical assessments. During the on-the-job training phases of apprenticeship the apprentice’s competence is assessed to pre-specified standards by the employer.

Under the statutory rules an apprenticeship is deemed to be automatically terminated if the apprentice fails, after three attempts, to reach the required specified standard, in any of the off-the-job modular assessments. However, SOLAS provides a mechanism for both the apprentices and employers to appeal such a termination. In cases where appeals are successful the apprentice is afforded the opportunity of a fourth and final attempt.

APPRENTICESHIP CURRICULUM
Course Structure

The apprenticeship system is a modular standards-based system generally comprising of 7 alternating phases of on-the-job and off-the-job training and development. These alternating phases of training consist of 3 off-the-job and 4 on-the-job phases. The duration of the 3 off-the-job training phases does not normally exceed 40 weeks.

Exceptions to this are the apprenticeships in Floor and Wall Tiling, which has 5 phases of training and follows the minimum 4-year cycle and Print Media which has 5 phases and follows the minimum 3-year cycle.

The off-the-job phases are delivered by a Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or another approved training provider. The key factor in delivery of an off-the-job training phase is that it is delivered in a single training environment to ensure the integration of practical training with the necessary theoretical and personal skills.

Apprentice Student Contribution
The Annual Student Contribution is levied on students attending Higher Education Institutions including Institutes of Technology. As part of changes included in the Budget 2014, apprentices will now pay the same contribution as full time students but their contribution will be based on the time they spend in the Institutes.

The Student Contribution is payable to the Institute of Technology on the date of registration for the training phase and you should consult the relevant Institute of Technology for payment options.

Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the Institute of Technology and College of Further Education for repeat exams.

Course Duration
The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when the Results Approval Panel approves that the apprentice has successfully achieved the required qualifying standard, completed all of the alternating on-the-Job and Off-the-job phases of her/her apprenticeship and served the minimum apprenticeship period as specified by SOLAS from time to time. An Advanced Certificate Craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications) is awarded to successful apprentices.

Generally, the duration of an apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years, however the Print Media apprenticeship programme follows a minimum duration of 3 years.

APPRENTICEHSIPS FAQ’s

What is an apprentice?
An apprentice is a person who works for an employer in a chosen occupation and gains the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to become a qualified craftsperson.
What are the trades covered by the Standards Based Apprenticeship?

A person wishing to become an apprentice in one of the trades marked * must pass a SOLAS approved colour vision test.

What are the educational qualifications required to become an apprentice?
The minimum educational qualifications necessary to become an apprentice are 5 D grades in the Junior Certificate examination or equivalent, or successfully complete an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course, or be over 16 years of age and have at least three years relevant work experience approved by SOLAS. However, some employers may specify higher educational qualifications.
Are there any other requirements?
Yes – a person wishing to become an apprentice in one of the crafts marked with * above must pass the “Ishihara” Colour Vision Test 24 Plate Edition.
How do I become an apprentice?
You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen trade. Your employer must be approved to train apprentices and must register you as an apprentice within 2 weeks of recruitment. Possible options include:-

– A relative, neighbour or friend who works in the trade

– Local or regionally-based companies operating in the trade

– Register with your local Employment Office indicating your interest in

becoming an apprentice. Local Employment Office staff try to match

job vacancies with registered individuals where possible.

What is the minimum age?
The minimum age is 16.
How long does it take?
A minimum of 4 years. The only exception is for the trade of Print Media which is a minimum of 3 years.
How is an Apprenticeship structured?
Apprenticeship generally comprises of seven phases, three off-the-job and four on-the-job. The only exceptions to the above are the Floor/Wall Tiling and Print Media apprenticeships, which have five phases, three on-the-job and two off-the-job training phases.

Off-the-job training is provided as follows:-

Phase 2 : Training Centre

Phase 4 : Institute of Technology or College of Further Education

Phase 6 : Institute of Technology or College of Further Education

On-the-job training

Employers have responsibility for providing on-the-job training in Phases 1, 3, 5 and 7.

How much will I get paid during my apprenticeship?
You will be paid an apprentice rate. The actual rates paid may vary depending on the occupation and the sector of industry in which you are employed. You should seek details of rates of pay for apprentice from your prospective employer.
Can I select which Training Centre or Institute of Technology I attend?
No. While every effort is made to accommodate apprentices close to home, this may not always be the case. Apprentices are scheduled on the longest waiting basis on the day of scheduling to the nearest available training location to their home address.
What happens if I don’t attend a Training Centre or Institute of Technology or College of Further Education when I am called?
SOLAS strongly recommends apprentices to accept whatever offers are made to them as failure to accept such offers will have financial repercussions throughout your training. Failure to attend after three calls will result in your apprenticeship being automatically suspended.
Can I take leave while on off-the-job training?
You are not entitled to take holidays during your off-the-job training phases.
Do I get paid when I am in a Training Centre or Institute of Technology or College of Further Education?
During off-the-job phases ,all qualifying apprentices are paid an Apprentice Training Allowance by SOLAS/ETB and where appropriate, a contribution towards travel or accommodation costs.
If I fail my exams, can I repeat them?
If you are referred (i.e have not met the required minimum standard in your assessments) you may repeat your exams on two more occasions, if necessary. However, failure in the final attempt will result in the termination of your apprenticeship. You may appeal the termination of your apprenticeship and if your appeal is successful, will be granted a final attempt.
What happens if my employer goes out of business or if I am made redundant during my apprenticeship?
Every effort will be made by SOLAS/ETB to help you progress through your apprenticeship if you find yourself in this situation. You should contact your Training Adviser assigned to you when you were registered as an apprentice who will be able to offer you advice and assistance.
If I am made redundant and can’t get work in Ireland, can I continue my apprenticeship abroad
No, however work experience gained abroad may be considered for accreditation towards time served.
What are my career prospects?
On successful completion of your apprenticeship, a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft is awarded. This is recognised Nationally and Internationally as the requirement for craftsperson status. You may further develop your career i.e. company-based, cross-skilling, up-skilling, management or self-employment.
Further Study – Progression
On successful completion of your apprenticeship you are eligible for consideration for entry into related degree programmes provided by the Institutes of Technology provided you also meet other special entry requirements. Details of the higher education institutes offering progression from Advanced Certificate – Craft to levels 7 and 8 are available on the FETAC website

http://www.fetac.ie/fetac/documents/Progression_from_FETAC_Adv_Cert-Craft_to_HE_Courses.pdf

I don’t want to attend the Awards Ceremony, so can I get my cert without going?
Yes, you may apply to the local SOLAS/ETB office in your employment location.
If I lose my card/cert can I get a replacement?
SOLAS can provide replacement cards. Application for a replacement card should be made to Apprenticeship Services. A fee will be charged for all replacements.

QQI will issue a record of award to those who have misplaced their original certificate. The forms can be obtained from Apprenticeship Services.

I’ve worked in a trade for a number of years but wasn’t a registered apprentice, can this time be considered as part of my apprenticeship?
SOLAS will consider applications for exemptions from the Standards-Based Apprenticeship programme for trade-related experience. However applicants must be registered as an apprentice before an application can be considered.
What if I have Special Requirements or require Learning Support?
If you have any special requirements and need support i.e. dyslexia, numeracy, literacy, physical disabilities or medical conditions, it is your responsibility to inform SOLAS/ETB at the time of registration so that these needs can be catered for when you attend Off-the-Job training.

If you require additional learning supports in learning techniques, maths/science/drawing, practical work, you should log on to www.solas.ie and go to eCollege or contact your local Training Centre, an Institute of Technology, local VEC, evening classes or seek private tuition.