Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

12.53 8 Mar 2021


Share this article


The public sector has 'really been appalling' in terms of taking on apprentices, according to the Higher Education Minister.

Simon Harris says it's a 'disgrace' that there's only around 300 apprentices in the entire public sector.

He was speaking as he unveils a planned 'radical overhaul' of the CAO system.

Currently, the CAO doesn't include things like apprenticeships, further education options or traineeships.

That would change under the new plans, and the different options would all be available under a single platform.

On today's Pat Kenny Show, Minister Harris said it's not just the private sector that needs to create apprenticeships.

'It's a disgrace' - Harris hits out at lack of apprenticeships in public sector

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

He observed: “It’s a matter for the private sector, but not only.

"I think the public sector has really been appalling in this space - did you know we only have about 300 apprentices in the entire public sector? I mean, that’s a disgrace

"It’s a real [example] of the State lecturing businesses on what to do, but not stepping up to the plate itself.”

While there's many people believe apprenticeships are just about trades and crafts, Minister Harris said there are also ones in areas such as financial management and accounting.

He said: “Under the new action plan on apprenticeships - which will go to Cabinet this month - we’re going to demand that every department, state agency and county council sets a target to what it can do on apprenticeships.

“The public sector has been laggards in this regard."

In terms of funding, Minister Harris argued that 'political cowardice' has dominated the debate around third-level education for generations.

He said: “The funding is the big issue… but the funding of everything in politics and policy is the big issue.

"The question is what is the economic benefit of living in a country where everybody can access an undergraduate education, should that be their wish.

“It is my view… that student loans don’t work. I do think they can be a barrier, particularly for people from people from socio-economic communities of disadvantage.

“I have a view - quite a strong view, but it’s not the Government’s yet - that an undergraduate degree should be a natural extension of our education system.”

He noted that free secondary school education was 'transformative' for the State, and that should carry over to third-level education.

He said around 44% of students currently don't face an upfront cost for third-level education as their €3,000 registration fee is paid for them by grants and other allowances.

Main image: File photo. Picture © Ljm/Design Pics via ZUMA Wire

Share this article


Read more about

Apprenticeships CAO Simon Harris

Most Popular

Live: Title

Now playing

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Added to queue
Removed from queue

On Air

Share

Share


Up next

Episode title
Show
Duration

You currently have no podcasts in your queue.

Go to podcasts

On Air

Best Of Newstalk

Best Of Newstalk

00:00-06:00

Share

Up next

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

BREAKFAST BRIEFING

06:00-06:30

Share

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

BREAKFAST BUSINESS

06:30-07:00

Share

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

NEWSTALK BREAKFAST

07:00-09:00

Share

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

THE PAT KENNY SHOW

09:00-12:00

Share

LUNCHTIME LIVE

LUNCHTIME LIVE

12:00-14:00

Share

MONCRIEFF

MONCRIEFF

14:00-16:00

Share

THE HARD SHOULDER

THE HARD SHOULDER

16:00-19:00

Share

OFF THE BALL

OFF THE BALL

19:00-22:00

Share

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

THE TOM DUNNE SHOW

22:00-00:00

Share

BEST OF NEWSTALK

BEST OF NEWSTALK

00:00-06:00

Share

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

Share on