Apprenticeships in Donegal

Apprenticeships in Donegal: Empowering the Future Workforce

In today's job market, apprenticeships are emerging as a vital pathway to success. Donegal, a county known for its diverse talent pool, continues to make significant strides in supporting apprenticeships and offering a clear pathway to rewarding careers.

Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB) – Further Education and Training (FET) Services

Donegal ETB’s Apprenticeship team, on behalf of SOLAS, has statutory responsibility for the administration of all apprenticeship services locally e.g. approval of employers within the county and general apprentice registrations. The administration of payments to apprentices attending both ETB and ATU Donegal Campus is also facilitated by Donegal ETB personnel. It is important to note that apprentices may also undertake training in locations outside of the county. The Apprenticeship Team, comprising experienced training advisors and support officers, are available to offer guidance and assistance throughout the apprenticeship journey.

Also, training provision within Donegal Education and Training Board continues to expand in response to the demand for apprenticeship training and the Donegal ETB plays a vital role in facilitating apprenticeships in the region by providing off-the-job training in their Letterkenny and Gaoth Dobhair training centres for motor mechanic, electrical, electronic security systems, carpentry and joinery, metal fabrication and plumbing apprentices.

For those uncertain about opting for conventional higher education paths after completing school, apprenticeships emerge as a transformative alternative. These programs present individuals with an opportunity to shape their career from the outset, enabling them to acquire hands-on skills and crucial work experience. Apprenticeships seamlessly integrate academic learning with real-world work settings, empowering participants with the essential proficiency to thrive in their chosen fields.

To ensure that more people are aware of the benefits of apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Team in Donegal ETB are actively promoting these programmes to change the mindset that apprenticeships are just as valuable as traditional university routes.

By visiting schools, inviting students and teachers to tour the training centre facilities and attending promotional events the Apprenticeship Team are encouraging students to consider this path in order to bridge the skill gaps in various industries and drive economic growth in our county. It is important to emphasise that apprenticeships not only provide practical skills but also lead to nationally recognised qualifications on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) from Level 5 to Level 10.

In 2023, Donegal ETB secured additional funding from SOLAS to develop three new workshops to increase apprenticeship delivery in the county, with additional electrical training provision in its Letterkenny and Gaoth Dobhair training centres and a new metal fabrication training facility in Gaoth Dobhair– these workshops will be operational from January 2024 onwards.

In addition to the infrastructural investment already secured, Donegal ETB is now spending approximately €7.1 million annually in the delivery of apprenticeship services.

Vinny McGroary, Area Training Manager with Donegal ETB, said that “Donegal ETB is excited by the continued growth of apprenticeships, both locally and nationally. We believe that there is now a greater realisation amongst students, employers, teachers, and parents as to the value of apprenticeships which has, in turn, led to a significant increase in registrations. We are delighted to be working in collaboration with our colleagues in ATU to help provide an enhanced apprenticeship service for Donegal.”

For further information  

Web Generation Apprenticeship  or Donegal ETB – Education and Training ServicesTel: 074 9120500 / 087 1183137 | Email:

ATU to expand apprenticeship offerings in campuses across west and north-west.

Apprenticeship courses will be expanded in Killybegs and Letterkenny as part of Atlantic Technological University's (ATU) plan to meet the growing demand for apprenticeships. The university has received €8.2 million in funding from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), with an additional investment of €1.7 million from ATU. This funding will enable the delivery of 51 additional apprenticeship blocks from 2024, providing a total of 816 places for apprentices.

In Killybegs, ATU will deliver 18 blocks of electrical apprenticeships, while in Letterkenny, they will deliver 6 blocks of metal fabrication apprenticeships and 3 blocks of refrigeration and air conditioning apprenticeships. ATU will be recruiting lecturing staff and technicians to meet these requirements. It is planned that the new blocks will begin in September 2024.  

For further information, see the ATU 2024 Prospectus: (Apprenticeships information on page 305).

Garry Martin, Director of Economic Development in Donegal County Council states “Donegal County Council will collaborate with Donegal Education and Training Board and the Atlantic Technological University to actively promote apprenticeship opportunities through our communication channels, such as websites and social media. By working together, we can effectively raise awareness about the benefits of apprenticeships. Donegal and the wider North West City Region will also benefit from these apprenticeships’ programmes as it ensures a continuous talent pipeline for businesses to tap into, fostering innovation and driving economic growth. The region's highly skilled and educated labour pool will ensure a steady supply of talent for businesses”.

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