emands in the construction sector will far outstrip supply, says Cllr Malcolm Noonan
A local councillor has asked Kilkenny County Council to consider taking on apprentices due to an increased demand for craft trades in construction.
Cllr Malcolm Noonan made the request at the November meeting of Kilkenny City Municipal District Council, citing a chronic under-supply of essential trades in the construction sector.
"There was a longstanding tradition of apprenticeships in the former borough council," Cllr Noonan afterwards told the Kilkenny People.
"Given the scale of our housing crisis and the demand for trades, I think it would be timely that we would once again begin taking on apprentices in key skills areas such as carpentry and joinery, plumbing and blocklaying. Having attended the ETB Craft Apprentice Awards recently, I was struck by how few construction-related apprenticeships were there.
"If we begin taking on apprentices now, young men and women will gain invaluable training while helping our housing maintenance staff to maintain and adapt our housing stock."
Cllr Noonan also said that he had hoped that the Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (CKETB) would consider developing specific training programmes for traditional building skills, such as lime rendering, plasterwork, stonemasonry and traditional sign writing. He said in light of recent controversies in Kilkenny regarding signage and interventions on buildings, Kilkenny could become a 'centre of excellence' for traditional building skills with the city as the workshop.
"I was encouraged by the response of our director of services Tim Butler in relation to my proposal, and I do hope that we can begin offering apprenticeships again in the near future," said the Green Party councillor.
"We will need new apprentices as we increase our housing stock but equally important, if we start now, we will be ready to meet future construction demands and offer viable and very worthwhile careers to young people in Kilkenny."