Know Your Rights: apprenticeships

I am leaving school soon but I do not want to go to college. What other options do I have?

You could consider looking for an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship involves on-the-job training with an employer. It will prepare you for work in a specific area or craft such as construction, engineering, motor, or electrical. You can find information about different types of apprenticeships on the website apprenticeship.ie

Apprentices get an allowance while training on the job. Their employer pays a recommended apprenticeship wage. The rates of pay can vary, depending on the apprenticeship and on your employer. Generally, rates will rise as you gain more skills. During off-the-job training, a craft apprentice allowance is paid.

The allowance is calculated in relation to the take-home wages paid in each trade sector. Sometimes, you will also get a contribution towards travel or accommodation costs. It can take two to four years to complete an apprenticeship. To be accepted, you must be at least 16 years of age and have a minimum of grade D in any five subjects in the Junior Certificate or equivalent.

Some employers may require higher educational qualifications. If you do not have the required grades, you can still be registered by an employer as an apprentice if you satisfactorily complete an approved pre-apprenticeship course. To secure an apprenticeship, the first step is to find an employer who employs apprentices in the specific craft or occupation that you are interested in.

The website www.apprenticeship.ie lists websites that advertise apprenticeship vacancies. If you are interested in taking up an apprenticeship, contact the Apprenticeship Section of your local Education and Training Board (ETB ) for advice.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by Westmeath Citizens Information Service, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Call (0761 ) 076610 or call into Athlone CIC, St Mary's Square, Athlone. Information is also available online at www.citizensinformation.ie or from the Citizens Information phone service on (0761 ) 074000.

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