Access to Apprenticeship Wins Social Innovation Fund Ireland Award

20 Feb, 2020

Access to Apprenticeship, TU Dublin's pioneering pre-apprentice training programme for young people aged 16-24, has been announced as a Social Innovation Fund Ireland Awardee.

Worth €9.5 million, the Fund is made up of 50% private philanthropic funding, self-raised by 14 Awardees. The other half is supported by the Government of Ireland, through the Dormant Accounts Fund. The 2019 Children and Youth Funds, which includes the Children and Youth Education Fund and the Children and Youth Mental Health Fund, were designed to support projects addressing the most prevalent issues facing young people and children in Ireland today. 

The TU Dublin Access to Apprenticeship programme supports the transition of young men and women (16-24 years old) from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds into craft apprenticeships in the construction, engineering, electrical, and motor industries. The programme was established in 2017 and is supported by J.P. Morgan in Ireland and ESB. Over 12 weeks, it provides students with the opportunity to sample a range of craft apprenticeships and to complete a work placement, prepare a CV and practice their interview skills. 

Lynn Ruane, Independent Senator, said: ‘Like Social Innovation Fund Ireland, I believe that talent is equally distributed across the population, but getting access to quality education, and the social and mental health supports needed to enable equal access, and equal opportunity for young people right across Ireland can be a postcode lottery. These projects will make a huge contribution  to addressing this, and I look forward to keeping track of them as they develop.’

The Awardees each receive a multi-year grant and will also be awarded a place on Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s ‘Game-Changer’ Programme which includes training, capacity building and participation in a three-year academic evaluation. Proving and improving their impact, these projects have strong potential to be replicated across Ireland to create real systemic change in the communities they are supporting. 

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Social Innovation Fund Ireland said: “At Social Innovation Fund Ireland, we believe that good mental health and succeeding in education are a virtuous circle - they drive each other. We all know that good mental health enables us to learn, and succeeding at learning improves our mental health. Today’s Awardees have developed innovations that support children and young people to make the most of the opportunities they have, and increase opportunities for marginalised young people. We want to support them to scale and spread to other communities that need them.

The Children and Youth Funds will also contribute to Ireland’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is a powerful global initiative set out by the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda.”

Bobby Maher, Access to Apprenticeship Programme Manager, Technological University Dublin, said: ‘To be announced as one of the Children and Youth Education Fund Awardees today is a fantastic endorsement of all the work that has gone into developing the Access to Apprenticeship programme to date. We have big plans for the future of this programme, we can see the positive impact it is making in the lives of young people, and it’s wonderful to have Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s support to help us realise our  ambitions and vision going forward.'

Are you a woman that is interested in undertaking a craft apprenticeship? The Access to Apprenticeship team is hosting 'Women in Apprenticeships' on 12 March, find out more here