Trailblazing Scaffolding Apprenticeship Graduates Celebrated in Ireland


In a landmark event for the construction industry, the first cohort of scaffolding apprentices graduated last week from the National Scaffolding Apprenticeship at The National Construction Training Centre in Mount Lucas, Ireland.

The ceremony at the Midlands Park Hotel in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, marked a significant milestone for the apprentices and the organisations involved in creating this pioneering programme.

The National Scaffolding Apprenticeship, developed by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the National Association of Scaffolding and Access Contractors (NASAC), the SIPTU Trade Union, the Health & Safety Authority (HSA), and the Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB), aims to elevate the standards of scaffolding training in Ireland.

Managed by LOETB, the training centre focuses primarily on construction skills, providing a vital resource for the industry.

The graduation ceremony was attended by 22 of the 26 graduates, who were joined by distinguished guests, including Joe Cunningham, Chief Executive of LOETB; Keith Dwyer, MD of Summit Scaffolding and Chair of the Consortium Steering Group National Scaffolding Apprenticeship; Evelyn Dunne, Board of Directors LOETB; Rory O’Connor of Rory’s Stories, a mental health advocate; and Padraig Boland of LOETB.

Fergus Sheerin, the Course Lead Instructor at LOETB Mount Lucas, expressed his pride in the graduates and the programme’s success. “This is a very proud day for the industry and all involved in the development and delivery of the National Scaffolding Apprenticeship. In particular, for the graduates – who are the first in their trade to qualify. The apprenticeship can only continue to grow from here and will change the culture of scaffolding currently in Ireland,” Sheerin said.

He also extended special thanks to Tony Barry from CISRS for his invaluable guidance since the apprenticeship’s inception in 2021.

Tony Barry, CISRS Compliance Manager, echoed Sheerin’s sentiments, highlighting the programme’s importance. “I would like to thank John Kelly and Yvonne Kearney for inviting me to attend. It was great to be involved and to see the apprentices being recognised for their hard work and commitment to this trailblazing apprenticeship, in what can be seen as a giant step forward in the right direction for scaffolding training in Ireland,” Barry stated.

The event underscored the bright future for Irish scaffolding apprentices, with new employers registering to train apprentices and an anticipated increase in registration numbers. This growth is expected to lead to more collaborating providers offering training.

Additionally, the recognition of prior learning programmes for current scaffolders aiming to upskill and obtain the QQI Level 5 Certificate is seen as a positive development for the industry.

The high demand for the apprenticeship course is evident, with a waiting list already in place. The next group of nine apprentices is set to begin training in September 2024, followed by another intake of approximately 40 Year Two apprentices in December.

For more information on the National Scaffolding Apprenticeship, interested parties can email [email protected].