Apprentices 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. However, employers may require additional minimum qualifications.
Where individuals do not meet the minimum requirements they may be registered as an apprentice by an employer if:
- They satisfactorily complete an approved preparatory training course and assessment interview. For information on these courses please contact your local Employment Services Office;
- Over 16 years of age with a minimum of three years relevant work experience. This work experience must be in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable
Apprentices must be employed in their chosen occupation by an employer who has been approved by SOLAS. The employer must register the apprentice with SOLAS within 2 weeks of recruitment.
Apprentices are assessed on a structured ongoing basis throughout their apprenticeship. Modular assessments are carried out during the off-the-job training phases. These assessments incorporate course work, standardised practical assessments and theoretical assessments. During the on-the-job training phases of apprenticeship the apprentice’s competence is assessed to pre-specified standards by the employer.
Under the statutory rules an apprenticeship is deemed to be automatically terminated if the apprentice fails, after three attempts, to reach the required specified standard, in any of the off-the-job modular assessments. However, SOLAS provides a mechanism for both the apprentices and employers to appeal such a termination. In cases where appeals are successful the apprentice is afforded the opportunity of a fourth and final attempt.