An apprenticeship is the recognised way people train in a craft trade or profession. As an apprentice you earn as you learn.  You will be paid for your work and you will gain internationally recognised qualifications.. Common apprenticeships include construction, electrical, engineering, hospitality or cooking, mechanics, or IT.

Here is our short guide on Apprenticeships:

You can download our Guide to Apprenticeships here

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Craft Apprenticeships: 

The main craft trades and professions  are coordinated and managed by SOLAS along with the Department of Education and Science, employers and unions. You can train to become a plasterer or electrician etc.  While you are training, you work with an employer learning the necessary skills and receive a wage. Most apprenticeships last 4 years.

Entry Requirements

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert or equivalent (QQI level 3/4).
  • In reality many employers would prefer to take on those with a Leaving Cert or equivalent.
  • If you can’t meet these criteria, you can still become an apprentice if you:
    • Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship training course (see below)
    • Are over 16 and have worked for at least three years in a relevant industry that SOLAS approves and have competed a successful assessment interview

Steps to becoming a Craft Apprentice

  1. To apply for a place on an apprenticeship, you must first register with SOLAS.
  2. Craft Apprenticeships are coordinated by SOLAS – so contact your local office to make an appointment to talk to someone about apprenticeships.
  3. Check if you have achieved the necessary entry requirements – there are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.
  4. Check with SOLAS for details of employers that are looking for an apprentice.
  5. Apprenticeshipjobs.ie have a list of potential employers
  6. If you are interested in Construction you can register your interest and create an account with apprentices.ie also see their vacancy page for current opportunities.
  7. Apprenticeship.ie gives advice on how to find apprenticeships


Professional Apprenticeships:

NFQ Level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries in areas as diverse as; financial services, accounting, medical devices, software development etc.  Professional bodies such as Accounting Technicians of Ireland/ Insurance Practitioners of Ireland have programmes to link you to the employers and relevant academic institutes.

Steps to becoming a Professional Apprentice

  1. Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods – Contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.  
  2. Join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives
  3. Check if you have achieved the necessary entry requirements – There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job.  The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.
  4. Check out apprenticeship.ie

Pre-apprenticeships

A pre-apprenticeship course is for young people who want to do an apprenticeship but don’t have the minimum entry requirements.

These courses have both hands-on and classroom based modules, and aim to develop skills, knowledge and expertise to gaining an apprenticeship in a range of trades or industries.  For information you can contact SOLAS or your local Youthreach would be a good place to start.


CIF Transition Year (TY) Work-placement Initiative

The CIF Manpower Education and Training Committee runs a TY work placement initiative in partnership with careersportal.ie and with the support of the Institute of Careers Guidance Counsellors (ICG).

The objective of the initiative to encourage second level students, who are making careers decisions, to consider construction as a real option. Secondly, it is designed to encourage CIF members to offer work placement to nurture this interest in construction. This way we can develop a pipeline of talented people into this industry. https://cif.ie/careers/

If you have any questions about apprenticeships, you can chat online to a trained Youth Information Officer or leave us a message and we can get back to you.