As an employer, how has the Lab Apprenticeship Programme worked?
Well as expected, it’s been a great success. Although this programme in Ireland is fairly new, apprenticeships of this type are much more common and popular in Europe, especially Germany and Switzerland. Across the continent apprenticeships span a wide variety of trades such as finance and marketing, not just what we would consider traditional trades. Helsinn is a Swiss company so we are very familiar with the process of educating and integrating apprentices into the organisation. I think Irish employers will embrace this new way of thinking about apprenticeships as it has proven to be a great way to recruit and develop a talent pipeline. First up, we have been able to catch motivated people that had been diverted into other industries. The apprentices we have taken on thus far completed the first year of a science degree course but for a variety of reasons were unable to continue and found themselves working in totally unrelated roles. This Apprenticeship has enabled them to continue their education and pursue a career in our sector. Some people prefer to develop and learn by doing, benefitting from a higher degree of practical hands on learning and studying full-time is not for everyone. Indeed, for many a traditional college education can be undesirable or unachievable. This Apprenticeship gives a bone fide alternative pathway for school leavers, and mature students interested in science to gain a national qualification that can kick start a progressive career in a booming and expanding sector, earning while learning. We believe this is a great way to supplement our current recruitment activities and in a competitive market, we need creative ways to attract talent.
What salary will the apprentice recieve for the duration of the apprenticeship?
- The rate of pay is set by the individual employer,
- The laboratory apprenticeship consortium has agreed a salary band for apprentice payment which we are more than happy to discuss with companies directly.
Do employers use their standard recruitment process to find suitable apprentices?
Yes, employers use thier standard recruitment proceses.
How does an employer get approved to train apprentices?
- For an employer to get approved to train apprentices in a particular occupation, s/he must demonstrate that they have the capacity and the ability to provide quality, relevant on-the-job training to apprentices as per the requirements of the national apprenticeship programme and the statutory apprenticeship system overall.
- An Authorised Officer (AO) from your local Education and Training Board carries out a site visit to the employer's premises and the employer is formally assessed. The AO makes a recommendation to SOLAS on the employer's suitability to deliver the programme. If the employer is not initially approved, the AO will work with the employer to identify what requirements remain to be met and the employer can be re-assessed
How much will it cost my company?
- The company pays the apprentice salary for both on and off the job phases which is set by individual company,
- The government pays for college training,
- An annual apprentice registration fee of €1,500 applies.