30 Young People Graduate from TUS Access to Apprenticeship Programme

Thirty young people graduated from the Technological University of the Shannon (TUS) Access to Apprenticeship 2023 programme with Level 6 Continuous Professional Development Certificates at an awards ceremony held in the TUS Moylish Campus on Friday (March 15, 2024).

The national programme, successfully piloted at TUS Moylish Campus in 2022, is now being rolled out to the TU’s Athlone Campus as well as other technological universities.

Access to Apprenticeship, which has been hailed as a successful circuit breaker to early school leaving, provides students aged 16 to 24 years old with a pathway to skilled employment and a career following an apprenticeship.

From its inception in April 2022 to the end of 2023, more than 80 students have taken part in the programme. As many as 70% of these students achieved the special recognised award and a total of 72% are now progressing into an apprenticeship across different trades. 

During the 12-week course students not only secure their manual handling and safe pass certificates, but also engage in three core modules during the programme including skills sampling, which exposes students to a range of trades including electrical, light vehicle and heavy vehicle mechanics, plumbing, carpentry and joinery, MAMF and welding. The programme also focuses on personal and professional development, aimed at improving skills and confidence in order to progress to employment which included site visits, industry led workshops and one-to-one sessions with employers seeking apprentices. Students are also provided with a two-week work placement, providing them with hands-on experience in their preferred apprenticeship.           

Employers involved in the Access to Apprenticeship programme in 2023 and provided students with opportunity for work placement and progression into apprenticeships included Frank Hogan Motors, Jones Engineering, Irish Rail, PBC, H & F Electrical, Thomond Electrical, ESB, Bus Eireann, OMC Technology, SUIR Engineering, and Glynn construction.

Funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the Access to Apprenticeship programme is a result of a commitment from HEA, TUS, external partners and others, which alongside other access routes, broadens opportunities and options for underrepresented communities and young people positively discriminating for those for whom third level isn’t an option or their chosen pathway.

HEA Chief Executive Officer Dr Alan Wall attended the graduation ceremony and heard how the programme can change the lives not just of the participants but also their families and peers, as many of the graduates were the first of their family to follow this career path.

Congratulating the graduates and their families President of TUS Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “The success of the programme in broadening access and inclusion is due to the commitment of the HEA and TUS, as well as our partnership with community and industry. This strong partnership ensures that every student has the opportunity to reach their full potential by providing real opportunities for meaningful employment.”

For further information on the Access to Apprenticeship programme, email accesstoapprenticeship@tus.ie or phone 061 – 293188.