A new apprenticeship programme, which will see apprentices work to preserve iconic heritage sites in Ireland, was officially launched in Kerry ETB Training Centre, Tralee, Co Kerry today (2nd April 2015). The apprenticeship in the Craft of Stone Cutting and Stonemasonry provides participants with specialist skills from the processing of stone to carving, restoration and monumental work.
Speaking at the launch Minister of State with special responsibility for the Office of Public Works Mr. Simon Harris, T.D. said “Ireland is a country with a rich heritage that we must preserve. My Office, the OPW, has a long and proud tradition of responsibility towards and conservation of over 750 iconic sites including two World Heritage Sites. In order to do this we must have a skilled workforce that understands the importance of conservation and restoration. I believe that this apprenticeship programme will provide that very workforce”
Also speaking at the launch, Minister of State at the Department of Education and Skills with Special Responsibility for Skills, Research and Innovation, Mr Damien English T.D. commented “The Irish apprenticeship system has a long and very successful history in providing a well-rounded blend of education and training and workplace experience. This has ensured that there has been a skilled supply of tradesmen and women to the industries involved in apprenticeship over the years. Education and training policy must constantly develop to meet new challenges and it is clear that the expansion of the apprenticeship model into new sectors will benefit both employers and the individual apprentices involved”..