THE first ever apprenticeship degree to train a new generation of bar managers is being launched in Limerick today to tackle the shortage of hospitality staff.
The three-year BA degree course is backed by the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Griffith College, with the support of Solas, the State agency for further education.
As part of the bar manager apprenticeship degree, students already working in the trade can be sponsored by their employer to develop the broad range of skills necessary to operate at the highest level in the industry, spending one day a week in lectures for three years.
School leavers with experience in the bar trade and career changers are also eligible.
Limerick City-based first-year Bar Manager Apprentice Emma Hanley (23), said she was attracted by being able to work and learn at the same time.
“I have always enjoyed working in a bar and the Apprenticeship has given me a real insight into my chosen career,” said Kilfinane native Emma, who is apprenticed to The Old Quarter Pub in the city.
“The course is very well structured, allowing me learn in-depth about the trade, while putting the practical elements to use and earning at the same time. It is a great way to learn and you gain great insight.”
JJ Mulcahy, owner of The Old Quarter, which has three apprentices, including Emma, said the apprenticeship is a wonderful way to retain and develop staff.
“The work and study elements of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland Bar Manager Apprenticeship Degree gives a great advantage in terms of career options,” he said.
“Experience is critical in this trade, but so is knowledge of the ever-changing legal and regulatory framework.
“The concept is wonderful. This is an industry which can give you a good career, but you have to put the time and effort into learning it.”
According to Mary Liz Trant, Interim Director of the National Apprenticeship Office, the programme is exceptional and innovative.
“Change is accelerating in the apprenticeship system, with the National Apprenticeship Office driving transformation across 65 apprenticeship programmes.
“This apprenticeship is a key example of an in-demand skills-based course that forms part of this transformational agenda,” she added.
Employers are eligible for a grant for each registered apprentice, and applications are now open for the September intake.
Employers can register here