Ireland’s apprenticeship council and the Electricity Supply Board (ESB – Ireland’s State-owned electricity supply company) launched the ‘Taster Times’ event in March 2019.
The event is part of the generation apprenticeship competition where competitors must be apprentices registered with SOLAS and compete in the construction of a three-dimensional letter A using materials and skills that are core and relevant to their industry (e.g. bricklaying, chef, etc.).
This is the ESB’s second year as competition sponsor. ‘Taster Times’ aim to familiarise members of the public with apprenticeship programmes and with the opportunities apprenticeship offers, particularly in terms of quality of teamwork, leadership, innovation and problem-solving skills. The public gets to experience first-hand why employers have given apprenticeship a huge vote of confidence. Taster sessions target a range of audiences:
- school leavers (and their parents) in the process of making career choices;
- people wishing to return to work;
- those wishing to change careers;
- companies wanting to offer more apprenticeship placements.
Over 70 apprentices from 100 companies competed across Ireland. The public interacted with competitors and witnessed the variety of industries offering apprenticeship training. A taster session took place at the ESB offices (competition host) in Dublin. Its apprentices provided insight into the future of electricity in Ireland.
Laura Hanrahan, an ESB apprentice, detailed the transferable skills she gained by undertaking an apprenticeship course. She told the public that these skills affected all areas of her life and increased her career opportunities.
Apprentices in Ireland have increased over the years. In 2018 there was an increase of 20% compared to 2017(over 5 600 new enrolments in apprenticeship programmes).