Irish jobless may seek training in Germany

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THOUSANDS OF young unemployed Irish people may be offered places in German apprenticeship schemes because of a shortage of young people there in training programmes for skilled crafts.

The Irish government, which is facing a political crisis over escalating unemployment, is welcoming the idea. At 292,000 the official Irish jobless total is close to 20 per cent of the workforce. A further 30,000 are on temporary training schemes and do not appear in the figures.

Fred Bolson, a representative of the Cologne Chamber of Crafts and Trade, said there were 4,000 unfilled vacancies on registered apprenticeship schemes in that area alone. The Irish state training organisation FAS has been told there could be 250,000 such vacancies throughout Germany, many of which could be open to applications from Ireland.

But Gerry Pike, secretary of FAS, said young people from Ireland hoping to take up these places would need 'a very high level of competence' in the German language. FAS already runs programmes aimed at discouraging young people from 'ill-planned emigration'. Mr Pike said, if the scheme is successful, he expected those going to Germany to be 'at least 18 or 19'.

He said registered apprenticeships in Germany covered 400 careers, from traditional schemes for bricklayers, mechanics and electricians to those for hairdressers and bakers.