Minister Harris announces more than 1,000 extra college places and development of new apprenticeship programmes

28th June 2022

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today announced the expansion of third-level including targeted college places and new apprenticeship programmes.

An extra 1056 targeted college places will be offered through the CAO for the 2022/2023 academic year, while 16 new apprenticeship programmes are being developed, and the Post-Leaving Cert course levy of €200 will be abolished in September.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “I’m delighted to announce these additional college places as I know it is a constant concern for Leaving Cert students.

“This year we have made a real effort to make sure that they are in sought after courses, and ones that will produce graduates with the skills our country is crying out for.

“Some examples of courses receiving extra places this year include IT, architecture and construction, nursing, engineering, education and welfare.

“In the coming weeks the Minister for Health and I will also bring a memo to Government to outline a five-year plan to secure extra places in medicine, another area in which we are in need of more qualified staff.

“After a stressful number of weeks for school-leavers, I hope today will offer some good news about the weeks ahead.”

The expansion of third level will include additional apprenticeship programmes too. Over the next number of months, an additional 16 will commence this year.

This will include Roofing and Cladding, Robotics and Automation, and a degree programme in Cybersecurity.

For those who choose a Post-Leaving Cert course, the €200 levy has been abolished from September.

Minister Harris added: “While these extra CAO places are a vital and welcome development, it is essential we continue to expand our third level system for everyone. There must be multiple pathways that learners can take as they prepare for their chosen careers.

“That’s why we are working hard to introduce new apprenticeship programmes, such as the ones in bar managing and wind turbine maintenance which we launched in March, and we have also improved the financial incentives on offer to employers to take on apprentices, particularly female ones.

“We are also working hard to improve pathways from further to higher education as part of our Unified Tertiary System strategy. There should be no barriers for students who want to pursue their chosen educational and career goals.

“Students anxiously awaiting their Leaving Cert results should know that while their points are important, they alone will not determine whether they can succeed in their education and career ambitions.

“There are different routes to getting where you want to go, and we are working hard to ensure they are accessible to everyone.”