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Over 7,000 Students Set to Attend Ireland Skills Live at The RDS

Ireland Skills Live, at the RDS Simmonscourt from 21st to 23rd March, is a one-stop-shop for future recruitment, as it brings together the crucial elements of Irish apprentices, educators, students and potential employers.

An amazing opportunity exists for Irish contractors to future-proof their businesses by taking on apprentices and partnering with educational establishments like the education training boards, technology institutes and technical universities.

Sisk, Designer Group and CIF are all main sponsors of the not-to-be-missed Ireland Skills Live event.

There will also be other, not so large, operations at the event. Margaret Reilly, CEO, Grand Designs, a boutique company in Termonkeckin, Co Louth, for instance, is an ambassador for Irish apprenticeships and she will be speaking on the ‘Heroes Stage’ at the event.

A former apprentice herself, she knows the value that a company can get from embarking on such partnerships.

Investing in the future

“It’s about investing in the future,” says Margaret Reilly. “When I was young, some amazing employers saw something in me, and I paid them back tenfold.”

While Margaret Reilly and other heroes will be speaking to the students present, 7,000 of whom are currently registered to attend Ireland Skills Live; the reality is she is also addressing contractors to tell them of her positive experience.

As the years of austerity were difficult for the construction sector, the opportunities have now opened up, and apprenticeships are a real viable avenue that many haven’t yet considered. This move is also currently reflected in the choices of our second level educational institutions.

Students Choosing Technical Subjects

Stephen O’Brien, Chairman, TechnoTeachers Association Ireland, notes a marked increase in students opting for their technical subjects in recent years.

“Last year, we had over 17,000 students choosing Materials Technology for their Junior Certificate. This is now the subject that covers what used to be called in old language, ‘Woodwork’.”

Stephen O’Brien has also seen an upsurge in other construction-related subjects.

“Students are moving towards choosing Design and Construction Graphics, Passive Design and Sustainable Development,” he adds.

All of which can only be good news for contractors.

Technological aptitude

Designer Group is a testament to the positivity of cutting-edge approaches to construction. Augmented reality and virtual reality are now the norm in construction, and a contractor will be future-proofing by taking on apprentices with aptitudes in these areas. In fact, these areas look to be growing exponentially, the combination of construction and graphics being particularly appealing to both genders. And that is good when 51% of the population are women; a whole employment base that has not been tapped to its full potential.

“There are now 5,000 students sitting Design and Construction Graphics – in old language, ‘Technical Drawing’, for those who are unfamiliar with the subject,” continues Stephen O’Brien.

“If a student is doing a project for their Leaving Certificate, which is worth 25% of their overall subject mark, they can, for instance, design a passive house. This is incredible stuff and parents are really beginning to see the value.”

Earning and Learning

Second level students are looking towards earning and learning, and the appeal of this is huge. Stephen O’Brien holds up the example of Suir Engineering in Tipperary and their relationship with the local ETB college.

“It is a classic example of a local employer and educational institution linking up and forming a professional relationship in apprenticeships, thus fostering local employment in a sustainable way.”

At the time of writing, over 120 schools and over 7,000 students are registered to attend Ireland Skills Live at the RDS Simmonscourt from 21st to 23rd March. Ireland’s largest indoor venue will be packed to capacity with apprenticeship competitions, Try-Out Areas, Heroes Talks and The Careers Zone.

It is an opportunity not just for Ireland’s second-level students, but also for small- to medium-sized contractors, who may not have otherwise considered such an avenue, to come and discover, and to meet the future at Ireland Skills Live. Earning and learning is now a real choice for Irish second-level students and their prospective employers.

To learn more or register for Ireland Skills Live at the RDS Simmonscourt, on 21st to 23rd March 2019, visit www.irelandskillslive.ie