Fingal County Council has been instructed to run an apprenticeship scheme to improve the number of badly needed skilled tradespeople in the county.
The scheme was proposed in a motion in the name of Social Democrats councillor Joan Hopkins, who was unanimously supported by her fellow council members at their most recent meeting.
Cllr Hopkins noted that “like it or not, the Council will need to get into the business of building social housing at scale, and I think we should be in the business of employing apprentices.”
The council executive had objected to her proposal, saying that it was “outside of the remit” of the Development Plan.
“The Council currently employs no apprentices,” the executive explained in a response to the motion, adding that it is “outside the remit of the Development Plan to provide and facilitate such schemes.
“There are no plans to run a craft apprenticeship scheme because the Council no longer engages in the breadth of trade tasks necessary to produce well-rounded and fully competent tradespersons on completion of a formalised apprenticeship.”
Cllr Hopkins, who was supported by her fellow Social Democrats councillor Paul Mulville, said she disagreed with the council’s position given the scarcity of skilled tradesmen and women employed by the council.
In her motion, she called for a variety of craft apprenticeship schemes, including plumbing, electricians, painting/decorating, stonecutting/stonemasonry, carpentry/joinery, brick and stone laying, pipefitting, plastering and scaffolding.
“Any person with even a rudimentary understanding of economics would tell you that the Government’s current policy of spending billions on renting and leasing from private landlords and investment funds is unsustainable – it represents the worst possible value for money for the taxpayer,” she added.
“It is worth mentioning again that over 10,000 people are homeless nationally, including more than 3,000 children. These are actual people – not just numbers on a report.
“Last month, I was advised in this chamber that there were delays in bringing a council house back into use because we were waiting for contractors.
“This year, we will retrofit 90 out of a total of 8,000 council houses, even though we all know this is not even scratching the surface – surely that alone would justify a council run apprentice scheme. It would also create employment and help solve the housing crisis and the climate crisis.
“I cannot think of a downside to this.”
October 10, 2022
For further information, contact Cllr Joan Hopkins on 083 1031541 or email Joan.Hopkins@cllrs.fingal.ie .