Geo-Drilling Apprenticeship Validated
On the 7th of May 2019, the Geo-Drilling Apprenticeship programme was validated by an academic panel in the Institute of Technology Carlow. The validation of the programme is the latest step in the establishment of the first bespoke apprenticeship which will train drillers to service Ireland’s growing geoscience sector. There is no formal pathway to a recognised qualification for drilling operatives working in Ireland at present.
The objective of the Geo-Drilling apprenticeship is to provide drillers with a dedicated Higher Certificate qualification(National Framework of Qualifications Level Six). The apprenticeship is a two-year programme which combines ‘on-the-job’ work experience with academic study. Apprentices will work with their employer’s for 41 weeks and attend classes at IT Carlow 4 days a week for 11 weeks.
The development of the apprenticeship programme is a mechanism by which the extensive experience of drilling personnel can be recognised and codified while also making the industry more attractive as a career pathway for mature students and school leavers.
Drilling is a fundamental activity which underpins the Irish geoscience sector, which is a multibillion-euro industry in its own right. Drilling contributes vital support services and technical knowledge to wider society by supporting the delivery of critical infrastructure. The overall direct impact of the sector is €1.5 billion euro with an indirect impact of €1.8 billion. The sector supports 24,700 jobs when combining direct and indirect employment.
The need for this qualification was identified by the drilling industry in partnership with the Irish Mining and Quarrying Society (IMQS), Geological Survey Ireland (GSI) and IT Carlow.
The apprenticeship is being promoted by drilling companies operating in Ireland as well as by those entities which procure drilling services such as Boliden, Dalradian and Irish Water.
The steering committee comprises representatives of drilling and mining companies, IMQS, GSI, Irish Water, SIPTU, National Federation of Group Water Schemes and IT Carlow. The first intake of apprentices will commence the apprenticeship in ITC in September 2019.
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