150 jobs will be created though a national accountancy apprenticeship programme which allows applicants to work, earn and learn.

The Accounting Technicians Ireland Apprenticeship is a funded, work-based learning programme in which locally-placed apprentices earn at least €19,700 a year. 

The apprenticeships will be based in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Monaghan, Galway, Wicklow and Waterford. 

Applications for the places are now open. 

Leaving Cert students and mature learners can apply for the programme through Accounting Technicians Ireland.

Large firms such as Grant Thornton, smaller practices, as well as industry and the public sector have all embraced the programme.

Apprentices work four days a week and study in a local college one day a week during the two-year programme, which begins in September. 

Successful graduates may then progress on to full accountancy with Chartered Accountants Ireland or one of the other professional accountancy bodies. 

"Our students, when they complete the apprenticeship, gain a much in-demand accountancy QQI Level 6 award and two years of sold work experience, placing them in a strong position to progress in business or to further study," said Gillian Doherty, chief operations officer at Accounting Technicians Ireland. 

"This is a pan-sectoral programme which meets the needs of industry, practice and the public sector, and graduates enjoy exemptions from the full range of professional accountancy bodies including Chartered Accountants Ireland, CPA, ACCA and CIMA," Ms Doherty added.