The Government has announced plans for nine new apprenticeship programmes in the public service.

If realised, the proposals will lead to the doubling of apprenticeship places in the public service including local authorities over the next two years.

Currently there are around 373 such apprenticeships in operation, up 103 since 2021.

The development of a Public Service Apprenticeship Plan roadmap is part of the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025.

"We have placed an unrelenting focus on apprenticeship since the establishment of this Department. The number of people registering as apprentices shows this has worked," said Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.

"However, it is not enough for us to simply encourage businesses and learners to consider an apprenticeship. The Government must open itself up to apprenticeship opportunities."

The plan will be overseen by Mr Harris's department and by the Department of Public Expenditure, National Development Plan Delivery and Reform, led by Paschal Donohoe.

It will see the first intake of apprentices on a Digital Marketing and Media programme and on an Executive Officer generalist programme.

Planning Technician, Healthcare Assistant, Architectural Technician and Civil Technician programmes will also be developed, along with a Junior Investigator programme in the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission.

A Paramedic programme is also to be established in the health service.

"In the Department of Public Expenditure, we have overseen the successful recruitment of more than 100 ICT apprentices into the civil service earlier this year, and we know we need to do more," Mr Donohoe said.

"The Plan falls under the theme of Workforce of the Future in the new strategy for public service transformation – Better Public Services – which I launched this year. This strategy aims to ensure that the public service has the right skills in place to meet the current and future public needs," he added.

A Public Service Apprenticeship Leadership Group is to be set up to oversee the ongoing implementation and delivery of plan, with targets and reporting required from departments and other public service bodies.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has said plans published today that aim to double public service apprenticeship places is an alternative way to achieve third-level qualifications.

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"We've placed a real focus on apprenticeships as a very viable way of getting a third-level education and pursuing a career that you’re passionate about," he said.

Mr Harris said that the State must provide a better example and that Government departments will provide opportunities to apprentices.

"There's no reason in the world why we can’t provide more job and education opportunities to the next generation," he stated.

The new apprenticeships announced today would be in the areas of information communication technology, cybersecurity and other areas that will be identified where skills gaps appear.

However, there are staff shortages in the public sector might mean there are not enough workers or time for current workers to adequately train apprentices.