How do I find an apprenticeship?

How to find an apprenticeship vacancy will depend on what apprenticeship you intend on applying for. The first step is to contact your local Education and Training Board (ETB) and speak to the Apprenticeship Advisory Officer. Some apprenticeships such as ‘craft’ apprenticeships require applicants to source an employer first, whereas some of the new apprenticeships connect applicants to employers.

Go to the Apprenticeship area on CareersPortal or use the CareerExplorer to find relevant apprenticeships.

The CareerExplorer contains a list of live apprenticeships and apprenticeships in-development. The live apprenticeship pages contain a tab ‘Getting an Apprenticeship.’ Click on this tab in the menu bar to get up-to-date information on specific apprenticeship vacancies.

How do I know if an apprenticeship is SOLAS approved?

Before signing up for an apprenticeship it is important to find out if it is SOLAS approved. Without a SOLAS approval you will not be eligible for SOLAS financial support and you will not receive a QQI award on successful completion. Without a QQI award your qualification will not be valid outside Ireland. Check with your employer to find out if the apprenticeship is SOLAS approved. If you are still unsure contact SOLAS or your local Education and Training Board (ETB) office for clarity.

Is there a demand for apprentices?

YES! The Irish government have been investing and working to develop the apprenticeship sector. The government is working to rebuild traditional apprenticeships and they have plans to expand apprenticeships to straddle many new career sectors such as healthcare, finance and hospitality. Many of these apprenticeships have already come on stream.

The recession had a devastating impact on the uptake of apprenticeships. During this period apprenticeship registration collapsed and fell by over 80 per cent. The apprenticeship sector is very different now and very much in a growth phase.

It is estimated that between 2018-2020, the figures registering for apprenticeship training will double to 14,000.  Budget 2019 allocated €29m to provide for over 7,000 apprenticeships and 10 new apprenticeship schemes.

There are lots of apprenticeship opportunities available. Apprenticeships provide a great opportunity for employees to gain qualifications and in some sectors, they can advance their learning right up to level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Are women taking up apprenticeships?

Traditionally very few women entered the apprenticeship sector in Ireland but with the development of new apprenticeships across various sectors, this trend is now changing.

There has been a dramatic increase amongst women in the uptake of apprenticeships in recent years. In 2015 there were 16 female apprentices this figure rose to 60 in 2016. It more than doubled to 145 in 2017 and in 2018 323 women were participating on apprenticeships, out of a total of 4,655 registered apprentices. Women are more strongly represented in the financial and hospitality sector but less so in craft-based apprenticeships.

There is a real incentive for employers to take on female apprentices with a bursary of just over €2,600 available to eligible employers to take on women in craft-based apprentices.

Is there a demand for women in construction apprenticeships?

YES! The construction sector is booming and is currently the fastest growing sector of the economy.  With the country in the grip of a housing crisis, there is a need for 30,000 – 35,000 new units per annum. The National Development Plan 2040 includes major national plans for three new hospitals and a metro linking Dublin airport to the city centre and Swords. These projects among others are placing huge demand on the construction sector.

In the four-year period from 2016-2020 it was estimated that up to 112,000 people would be needed to enter the construction sector to satisfy construction demand. The demand for employees and apprentices continues to offer great opportunity for both men and women alike.

The Construction Federation of Ireland (CIF) are very active in attracting women to the construction sector. Building Equality is a CIF initiative to promote gender equality in the construction sector and attract more women to the industry. Read about female role models in the sector here.

The government has made an effort to encourage employers to hire female apprentices in non-traditional areas of work. A Bursary for Women Apprentices is a subsidy of just over €2,600 paid to employers to incentivise them to hire women in craft-based apprenticeships.


What apprenticeships require a colour-vision test?

If you want to undertake any of the following apprenticeships, you will be required to pass a colour -vision test.

  • Agricultural Mechanic
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Construction Plant Fitting
  • Electrician
  • Electrical Instrumentation
  • Electronic Security Systems
  • Heavy Vehicle Mechanic
  • Instrumentation Craftsperson
  • Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitting
  • Motor Mechanic
  • OEM Engineering Technician
  • Painter and Decorator
  • Plumber
  • Refrigeration and Air Conditioning
  • Vehicle Body Repair Craftsperson

Craft Apprenticeships and New Apprenticeships. What’s the difference?

The craft apprenticeships are the well-established traditional apprenticeships. In the past they were described as a ‘trade.’ These apprenticeships are mainly in construction and manufacturing.

Applicants must be 16 years of age or over to apply and must have at least completed their Junior Cert. (For specific entry requirements please consult our dedicated apprenticeship pages.) Craft apprenticeships are generally made-up of seven phases over a period of four years. Apprentices are paid throughout their training; both on and off-the-job. On successful completion of their training, apprentices will receive a QQI Level 6 award.

A number of new apprenticeships have been developed since 2016. These new apprenticeships span various sectors and have various entry requirements. (For specific entry requirements please consult our dedicated apprenticeship pages.) These new style apprenticeships can lead to awards ranging from level 5 – level 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

The development of these new apprenticeships and their roll-out is overseen by industry-led groups (consortia) working with education and training providers and other partners.  New apprenticeships vary in duration from two – four years. A minimum of 50 per cent of apprenticeship training must be on-the-job learning. Payment varies across the new apprenticeships.

For the majority of these apprenticeship schemes, the apprentice will receive a wage throughout their training. The payment is agreed between the apprentice and employer. Some other apprenticeships operate whereby the employer pays the apprentice a wage during the on-the-job phases and the apprentice receives a training allowance from the ETB during periods of off-the-job training.


Are there apprenticeships available in the sector I am interested in?

Use the Career Sectors filter on the CareersExplorer tool to search for apprentices in career sectors that interest you.

How can I support my apprenticeship application?

Making an application for apprenticeship is very different to applying to CAO or for a PLC. Meeting the entry requirements is not going to be enough to secure a place in the apprenticeship market. You need to show prospective employers that you will be committed and that you are deserving of an apprenticeship. Here are some things you can do to support your application:

  • Work experience – find employment in the sector you wish to train in.Seeing and experiencing the work will give you an idea of what the work involves, and it will show your prospective apprentice employer that you are already working to develop key skills and show ability in the field.
  • Pre-Apprenticeship Training – Completing a Pre-Apprenticeship course would support your application for an apprenticeship by giving you a good insight into the work expected of an apprentice and help you to develop key skills.
  • Showing Responsibility and Commitment - taking on an apprenticeship requires a greater level of maturity than undertaking many college courses. When called to interview, be prepared to give your prospective employer concrete examples of how you have shown commitment and reliability in various aspects of your life.   

How does an apprenticeship differ from a traineeship?

The table below shows the difference between apprenticeships and traineeships:

  Apprenticeship Traineeship
Legislation Governed directly by legislation – currently 1967 Industrial Training Act Not governed directly by legislation
Employment Basis Starts with a contract of employment. Starts with enrolment on an education and training course.
Industry involvement Industry-led – requires good industry support and involvement from the beginning.  Led by education and training providers but based on identified industry skills need and requires industry support and involvement from the outset.
Time on the job Minimum of 50% on the job and up to 80%. Generally a minimum of 30% on the job.
Qualifications levels Can be at Level 5 – 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Currently between levels 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Duration 2-4 years 6 months – 2 years
Target cohorts Open to all, including those already in employment. Unemployed people.
Payment to apprentices/trainees Employer pays apprenticeship a salary. No payment by employer to trainee; trainee currently in receipt of income support from Department of Social Protection.

Information accurate as of February 2019. 

Are there incentives for those pursuing apprenticeships in Gaeltacht regions?

Yes! Údarás na Gaeltachta are offering Apprentice Scholarships, worth in excess of €2,000 each, to candidates interested in obtaining an apprenticeship qualification recognized by the Apprenticeship Council. Further information on apprenticeships and related qualifications can be found at

If you are interested in applying for one of these scholarships, please complete the application form and return to:

An Rannóg Oiliúna & Oideachais,
Údarás na Gaeltachta,
Na Forbacha,
Co. na Gaillimhe


Are there apprenticeships available for degree holders?

Yes, there are currently two live apprenticeships (as of December 2019) which typically require a Level 8 honours degree: 

Learners will gain a Level 9 masters qualification upon completion of these two year earn and learn apprenticeships.  

How Will COVID-19 Affect Apprenticeships?

In line with advice from Government, all off the job training for apprentices including assessments is currently suspended. Developments will be in line with advice from the authorities on the evolving public health situation. A decision on when the training and assessments will recommence will be made in line with this advice

I'm an apprentice during COVID-19, how am I affected?

Further to the temporary closure of educational institutions announced on the 12th March 2020, and ongoing developments in relation to COVID-19, Phase 4 and Phase 6 training which had been due to commence on the 6th April 2020 has now been postponed. Craft apprentices who were due to commence off-the-job training should remain with their employer until training is rescheduled for a later date.

Please monitor for updates.  Registered apprentices should ensure that the Authorised Officer in their ETB has up to date contact details to allow for communication by text message/e-mail where possible.

Apprenticeship News

Accountancy apprenticeship to create 150 jobs
Accountancy apprenticeship to create 150 jobs
Posted by Accounting Technicians Ireland
Logistics Associate Apprenticeship Now Recruiting for September 2020
Logistics Associate Apprenticeship Now Recruiting for September 2020
Posted by Logistics Associate Apprenticeship
Accounting Technician Apprenticeship  Online Application Open for September 2020
Accounting Technician Apprenticeship Online Application Open for September 2020
Posted by Accounting Technicians Ireland
Applications Open For Apprenticeship in Dublin Aerospace
Applications Open For Apprenticeship in Dublin Aerospace
Posted by Dublin Aerospace
Last Chance to Apply for the Bus Eireann Apprenticeship Programme
Last Chance to Apply for the Bus Eireann Apprenticeship Programme
Posted by CareersPortal
Important Apprenticeship Information
Important Apprenticeship Information
Posted by CareersPortal