Meath Co Council Cathaoirleach Cllr Sean Drew with Nicky McDonnell and Lisa Newman.

Apprenticeship expo hailed a success as over 3,000 people explore career path options

Dancing with the Stars winner, and former Irish Grand National winning jockey and local hero Nina Carberry officially opened the Apprenticeship Expo 2022 on Tuesday at Knightsbrook Hotel.

The Apprenticeship Expo has grown since its last outing in 2020. With over 80 exhibitors on the day and close to 3,000 attendees registered across different time slots.

Coming at a time when staff shortages have hit nearly every sector in Ireland the apprenticeship expo served as an opportunity for not only employers to attract new apprenticeships but for students, parents and anyone looking to upskill to explore their options.

With the expansion of the available courses, apprenticeships are a firm choice for many people looking to further their education and people also enjoy the hybrid approach of working hands-on while being educated through the multitude of apprenticeship programmes that are on offer now.

Schools from Meath, Louth, Dublin, Kildare, Limerick, Athlone, Portlaoise, Cavan and Monaghan, were in attendance (both in school group and accompanied by parents) to find more information on their chosen field and have a one-on-one chat with prospective employers.

Educators from various institutes around the country were on hand to give career advice and CV-clinics were made available to all attendees. Hourly speaker panel discussions heard from employers and apprentices on the benefits and challenges which they currently face. Experts were on hand from SOLAS, ETB’s and the RSTC Dundalk with advice.

Mary-Liz Trant, interim director of the new National Apprenticeship Office said: “This Apprenticeship Expo is a fantastic opportunity for potential apprentices to find out more about ‘earn as you learn’ options via the national Generation Apprenticeship route. With 64 programmes now available there is a huge amount of choice. Dozens of apprenticeship employers from around the country are attending the Expo and looking forward to recruiting diverse talent for their companies. This really is an exciting event.”

"The objective of the expo is to showcase and promote employers and to raise awareness of the variety of apprenticeships that are available in Ireland.

“The Apprenticeship Expo offers you the chance to take that first step on your career path. I’d like to encourage parents, students, and job seekers to visit our website and take that first step to find out more” stated Paula McCaul CEO of County Meath Chamber.

Minister Simon Harris held the expo in high regard: “The level of interest amongst students in today’s event is fantastic.

“With over 2,000 students registered to attend, this shows the potential that they see in apprenticeships. Building on this year’s development of having apprenticeship information available on the CAO website, events such as this expo are so helpful for young people.

“It provides the time and space to look at all of their options, talk to a wide variety of employers, and hear different perspectives. All of this is really invaluable in helping them make far-reaching and impactful decisions.

“And equally, as apprenticeship is a contract of employment, this event is a great opportunity for employers to showcase the opportunities they can provide.

“With the current competitive jobs market, this is a good chance to proactively attract the next generation of workers into companies”

This all-Ireland event was spearheaded by County Meath Chamber in partnership with Meath County Council, SOLAS, ETB's across Ireland, the Regional Skills Training Centre Dundalk, INTREO and various other stakeholders. Key employers including Boliden Tara Mines, Kilsaran, Kepak, Dromone Engineering, Turmec, Irish Country Meats, P&L Group, CalX (Apprentice Employer of the Year) and many, many more.