During the academic year 2018/19, the Institute of Guidance Counsellors (IGC) ran a continuous professional development (CPD) pilot session to increase counsellors’ awareness of the full range of options open to those completing upper secondary school as well as adult learners, with particular focus on work-based learning choices, such as apprenticeship and traineeship.

After receiving positive feedback from participants, the IGC  is extending these sessions to all 16 branches across Ireland aiming to provide its members with an opportunity to increase, by mid-2020, their awareness of labour-market-related topics including skills shortages, job opportunities, new initiatives in work-based learning, and employer needs at local level.

The sessions are organised in collaboration with several stakeholders, including the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU) in SOLAS, training providers, employers (and their representatives), and career guidance professionals. The timing of these sessions is particularly apt since apprenticeship and traineeship are undergoing considerable expansion in terms of funding, the number of programmes and occupations available, and the number of learners enrolling on apprenticeship programmes. Moreover, Irish Government has recently announced plans to increase the National Training Fund to support increase in workplace and employer-led training.