This is a recognised means by which individuals are trained in the necessary skills, knowledge and attitudes to become competent and qualified in a particular trade or craft by an employer who engages in that chosen craft. Certain educational standards are required before one may become an apprentice and generally speaking the minimum standard is that the individual must have had 5 ‘D’ grades in the Junior Certificate examination or equivalent, or must have successfully completed an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course, or be over 18 years of age and have at least three years relevant work experience approved by FÁS (now SOLAS). The minimum age for applying for an apprenticeship is 16 years of age.
It is important for employers to be aware that an apprentice will be entitled to redundancy payment if they are made redundant during the course of their apprenticeship and have worked for at least 104 weeks. They will also be entitled to redundancy if they are kept on in employment after their apprenticeship has been successfully concluded. However, an apprentice will not be entitled to redundancy payment or to recourse under the Unfair Dismissals Acts if they are dismissed within four weeks of finishing their apprenticeship.