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Apprenticeships – SMEs will benefit from new EU Programme

This week sees Momentum travel to  Barcelona with project partners on high youth unemployment and the education-employment skills mismatch have spurred governments to undertake vocational education reform to increase the quantity and quality of dual system apprenticeships. In many countries, particularly Ireland, Poland, Netherlands and France this has generated an excess supply of apprenticeship seekers over employer demand. Letterkenny Institute of Technology is involved in an exciting European project Apprenticeship Alliances to develop supports for SMEs, especially small and micro enterprise, to become apprentice employers.


 EU Apprenticeship Alliance Reflects on Mid-Project Outputs

Together with European partners from 7 countries Momentum are working to buildi the capacity of business support agencies and intermediary bodies to encourage SME’s to consider apprenticeships as a means of developing their talent pool.  It has brought together a Regional Alliance of the key players from the education sector, public bodies and enterprise support agencies and members of the business community to assist achieve its goal.

The timing of Apprenticeship Alliance an EU funded programme (Erasmus + Knowledge Alliance) fits with the Government’s commitment to having 50,000 apprenticeships in place by the year 2020 (Action Plan Expand Apprenticeship Traineeship in Ireland 2016) and following the Generation Apprentice call for proposals for the development of new apprenticeships.
For their part, the Regional Alliance has recently signed off on an Action Plan which they hope will provide tools that the will be available to the SME support which may help SMEs, especially small and micro enterprises, to become apprentice employers.  Project partners from Poland, Spain, The Netherlands, France, and the UK have done the same.

Padraig Gallagher of LYIT explains “The dynamic of the Apprenticeship Alliance here in the North West  is based on a new knowledge sharing forum around apprenticeships and the SME sector in the region.  Our Alliance has identified many potential solutions to some of the barriers real and perceived to SMEs employing apprentices”.

Momentum Marketing are writing a new training course to equip intermediaries, “Our partners LYIT have drawn together a very strong alliance of people from the SME support sector and SME’s themselves interested in apprenticeships as a route to employment.  For our part, we are finalising the training content and have acquired a wealth of material and direction from the regional alliances and project partners.  We are looking forward to getting the material out there for testing, in the first instance among our regional alliance members and it goes without saying among the SME support sector and SME’s themselves”.

Oran Doherty, North West Regional Skills Forum Manager added, “Initial feedback from companies has been positive and there is certainly an appetite for more information on apprenticeships through the research I have undertaken as a stakeholder of the Regional Apprenticeship Alliance”.  In conclusion, Padraig Gallagher of LYIT said, “We are entering a very exciting phase of the project where all the background work will begin to come to the fore and we will see tangible results to our collaborative efforts”.

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