Apprenticeship is the recognised means by which people are trained to become craftspeople in Ireland. SOLAS has statutory responsibility for the management of the Apprenticeship programme. For counties Galway and Roscommon, the GRETB have responsibility for administering the programme. There are currently 27 designated crafts within the Standards Based Apprenticeship System as listed below.

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Construction Apprenticeships

Carpentry & Joinery
Floor & Wall Tiling *
Plumbing *
Brick and Stonelaying
Painting & Decoration *
Stonecutting & Stonemasonry
Wood Manufacturing & Finishing

Electrical Apprenticeships

Aircraft Mechanics *
Electrical Instrumentation *
Electrical *
Electronic Security System *
Instrumentation *
Refrigeration & Air Conditioning *

Engineering Apprenticeships

Industrial Insulation
Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitting *
Metal Fabrication
Sheet Metalworking

Motor Apprenticeships

Agricultural Mechanics *
Construction Plant Fitting *
Heavy Vehicle Mechanic *
Motor Mechanics *
Vehicle Body Repairs *

Printing Apprenticeships

Print Media *

Please note: Crafts marked with * must Pass the ISHIARA Colour Vision Test. There is a Form for this purpose and it can be obtained from the GRETB Apprenticeship office.

Apprenticeship comprises of seven phases of training (Exceptions Aircraft Mechanics, Floor/Wall Tiling, Industrial Insulation and Print Media), three off-the-job and four on-the-job. Phase 2 training is generally delivered in ETB Training Centres throughout the country and Phases 4 and 6 are delivered by Institutes of Technology/Colleges of Further Education. The duration of an apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years (except Print Media - 3 years).

How to become an Apprentice

1. Obtain a job with an employer as an apprentice in the chosen occupation.
2. The employer must be approved to train apprentices and must register the applicant as an apprentice within 2 weeks of starting in employment as an apprentice.
3. The minimum age at which employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age and there is no upper age limit.
4. Pass the ISHIARA colour vision test as approved by SOLAS for certain trades.
5. The minimum educational requirements are:

  • Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate examination or approved equivalent, or
  • The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course or
  • Three years' work experience gained over 16 years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable.
  • Please note that some employers may specify a higher level of educational requirements.

    Advanced Certificate - Craft

    The Advanced Certificate Craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications) is awarded on the successful completion of an apprenticeship. This Certificate has National and International recognition and is a compulsory requirement for craftsperson status.

    Employers Recruiting Apprentices

    Employers wishing to register an apprentice must be able to satisfy SOLAS/GRETB that the employer is capable of providing access to the range of work, tools and equipment specified in the curriculum for that trade. The employer must provide a qualified and trade related craftsperson to supervise the training and work of the apprentice and conduct the on-the-job assessments.

    Training Locations

    Currently, the following Phase 2 courses take place in GRETB Training Centre, Mervue Business Park, Galway: Carpentry & Joinery, Electrical, Metal Fabrication and Motor.
    Please note that Apprentices may be scheduled to attend any ETB/educational location for the off -the-job training phases.

    Wages and Training Allowances

    Apprentices are paid by the employer when they are on-the-job (Phases 1, 3, 5 & 7) and details of rates of pay should be sought from their prospective employer.
    During off-the-job training (Phases 2, 4 & 6), apprentices receive a training allowance from GRETB or other ETBs.
    A bursary is available to employers to encourage the recruitment of female apprentices into the designated apprenticeships.
    For further information on becoming an apprentice or employing an apprentice, please contact the GRETB Services to Business Office, Mervue Business Park, Galway. Tel: 091 706200. Email: