The apprenticeship system is a modular standards-based system generally comprising of 7 alternating phases of on-the-job and off-the-job training and development. These alternating phases of training consist of 3 off-the-job and 4 on-the-job phases. The duration of the 3 off-the-job training phases does not normally exceed 40 weeks.
Exceptions to this are the apprenticeships in Floor and Wall Tiling, which has 5 phases of training and follows the minimum 4-year cycle and Print Media which has 5 phases and follows the minimum 3-year cycle.
The off-the-job phases are delivered by a FÁS Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or another approved training provider. The key factor in delivery of an off-the-job training phase is that it is delivered in a single training environment to ensure the integration of practical training with the necessary theoretical and personal skills.
Apprentices are required to pay an examination fee to the Institutes of Technology while attending the Phase 4 and Phase 6 off-the-job training (including repeat exams). Currently, this fee is €210. No fees are payable while attending the Phase 2 off-the-job training phase in FÁS Training Centres.
The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when an apprentice has served the minimum timeframe from the date of registration and has successfully completed all of the alternating on-the-job and off-the-job phases of their apprenticeship.
Generally, the duration of an apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years, however the Print Media apprenticeship programme follows a minimum duration of 3 years.