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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case IE-2020-10/1064 Updated – measures in Ireland

Apprenticeship incentivisation scheme

Country Ireland , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 March 2020 – 30 June 2021
Type Other initiatives or policies
Category Promoting the economic, labour market and social recovery
– Active labour market policies, incl. subsidised job creation
Author Roisin Farelly (IRN Publishing) and Eurofound
Case created 04 September 2020 (updated 10 May 2021)

Background information

The aim is to encourage employers to take on apprentices, as Ireland expands its apprenticeship system beyond the traditional craft construction and maintenance trades into a range of other manufacturing and service sector jobs.

It is also designed to support employers to continue to recruit apprentices during the immediate COVID-19 period.

The scheme was launched in July as part of the new Government's Jobs Stimulus Programme, but it is open to all employers taking on apprentices between March 2020 to December 2020 inclusive.

Content of measure

Apprenticeship employers are eligible for a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice who is registered between March 1 and December 31, 2020.

€2,000 per apprentice is payable at the point of registration, with a further €1,000 payable in the third quarter of 2021 for each eligible apprentice retained in employment.

The incentive support covers all 58 national apprenticeship programmes and will apply to any new apprenticeship programmes which are launched in 2020. Three new apprenticeship programmes were launched in August 2020 alone.

SOLAS, the statutory agency overseeing the apprenticeship system, is responsible for developing, delivering and administering the scheme. Further information is available on


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

22 October 2020

The scheme was extended until 30 June 2021.

Use of measure

Applications were received from employers representing 310 individual apprentices in the first three weeks after the scheme went live in August 2020, according to the Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, on September 4.

On 16 March 2021, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, announced that 1,941 claims have been submitted online in respect of 3,300 apprentices.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Youth (18-25) in employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Company / Companies
Public support service providers
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • No involvement
  • Main level of involvement: N/A


Social partners not involved - the measure is a Government-led initiative.

Views and reactions

However, it would be fair to say that both employers and unions are positive about the initiative, as both support the health and expansion of the apprenticeship system.

Sectors and occupations

This case is not sector-specific.

    • Occupation (ISCO level 2)
      Science and engineering associate professionals
      Business and administration associate professionals
      Building and related trades workers, excluding electricians
      Electrical and electronic trades workers
      Stationary plant and machine operators
      Drivers and mobile plant operators


  • 04 September 2020: Government Press Release 4/9/2020 (
  • 16 March 2021: Minister Harris marks application for 3,000th apprentice under Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme (


Eurofound (2020), Apprenticeship incentivisation scheme, case IE-2020-10/1064 (measures in Ireland), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.