USELESS DEGREES: Apprenticeships can be better and cheaper than University – Cork MEP

16 August 2017
By Tom Collins

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune (Fine Gael)

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has called for more targeted funding which focuses on the expansion of apprenticeships, the profiling of jobseekers and the National Skills Strategy.

Speaking as students around the country collected their leaving cert results, the Cork based MEP – who is a member of the EU Employment Committee – wished students well and said it’s not all about University:

“The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs indicates that up to 5,000 chefs are needed annually between now and 2020 to keep up to pace with demand. But currently only about 1,800 people qualify each year from certified culinary training programmes. That is indicative of a weakness in the system.

“We need to be matching young people with their appropriate skill sets to ensure they have good employment prospects.

We focus too much on going to University here in Ireland, which is not the best course of action for all young people. Upper Bavaria in Germany has a youth unemployment rate of just 3.4% largely due to an increasing focus on vocational education and an apprenticeship model. Compare this to Irelands Youth Unemployment rate which was 12.3% in July of this year. At the heart of German success is a learn-on-the-job apprenticeship system that has its roots in the Middle Ages but is thriving today in Germany’s modern, export-oriented economy.

“EU employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen has recently proposed to increase budget resources for the EU Youth Employment Initiative until 2020. EU Member States have already committed to give every young EU citizen a good-quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education.

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