Almost 200 people graded from apprenticeship programmes under the auspices of Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board and the Louth Meath Education and Training Board today.
The Minister for Enterprise Heather Humphreys officiated at the ceremony, which took place in the Hillgrove Hotel, Monaghan, earlier today at which all graduates received their 'Advanced Craft' certificates. The apprenticeships covered a wide range of sectors including electrical engineering, metal work, plumbing, motor mechanics, carpentry and joinery, and mechanical automation over four-year programmes.
In addressing the graduates and their family member, Minister Humphreys noted that the majority had already secured employment in their chosen fields. "Most apprentices who enter a company on the programmes stay on to become employees, and I really couldn’t think of a better mark of success."
Congratulating all of the graduates, she wished them every success in their future careers.
"And while it’s important to celebrate these big moments, it’s just as important to acknowledge the long journey you have travelled to get to this point.As the old saying goes 'Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour'."
She added: "Whatever route you take, I am certain that you will never regret your decision to start out on this journey."
Minister Humphreys reiterated her government's commitment to increase the number of apprenticeship programmes available in the State.
"A key commitment in our Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship is to achieve 9,000 annual new apprenticeship registrations by 2020; almost doubling current levels of activity.
"We also hope to have over 40 new apprenticeships rolled out by the end of 2020," she outlined.
"So, you truly are role models for the next generation of apprentices we are working to inspire," said Minister Humphreys.
She also paid tribute to the staff at Cavan Monaghan ETB, led by John Kearney - including Caroline Flanagan and Siobhan McKenna - and all the team at Louth Meath ETB, under the capable leadership of Martin O’Brien.
She had further praise for Conor Dunne, Chief Executive of Solas, as well as Shauna Dunlop, the Director of Apprenticeship Services, and their wider teams.
The Minister also acknowledged the employers who work with the ETBs to sponsor apprenticeship places in counties Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and Meath.
"You truly go over and above the call of duty, investing a huge amount of time and effort in your apprentices. Given that you keep on almost everyone you take in, it clearly is a ‘win-win’ situation for all involved," said Minister Humphreys.