The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has expressed its support for today’s announcement by the National Apprenticeship Council of Ireland that it plans to extend current apprenticeship schemes to areas such as hospitality, manufacturing, ICT and financial services. “Congress has for several years advocated the development of a dual learning system and positively notes the commitment by education minister, Jan O’ Sullivan, to provide the resources necessary to support the expanded apprenticeship system,” said Congress General Secretary, Patricia King. “The apprenticeship system in Ireland is long established and highly regarded internationally. We believe that the expanded system will offer a new educational pathway to well-paid employment. “A further benefit of the apprenticeship system is that the number of participants is directly linked to the skill needs identified by employers and that apprentices will be paid from day one of their apprenticeship contract. “We urge the Apprenticeship Council of Ireland to ensure that these new educational opportunities get the maximum publicity among students and parents.”