Almost 200 employers have applied for the inclusion of a total of 310 apprentices under the Government's new apprenticeship scheme. 

Announced as part of the July Stimulus package, the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme provides a grant of €3,000 per apprentice over two years for employers who register them before the end of the year. 

Speaking following a visit to Pfizer's plant in Grangecastle in Dublin, Tánaiste Leo Vardakar and the Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris encouraged more firms to consider using the scheme. 

"A lot of people are going to be getting their Leaving Cert results on Monday and on next Friday they will be finding out the results of the CAO/CAS system," Leo Varadkar said. 

"But there are lots of alternatives to going to college and one of the really good alternatives is apprenticeships," Mr Varakdar said. 

"We are increasing the numbers all the time, the different types of apprenticeships that you can go for," he said.

"Also Minister Harris has introduced a scheme to encourage employers to take on and retain apprentices to the value of €3,000 per apprentice and that is going really well," he added. 

Around 6,500 employers already run apprenticeship programmes here. 

There are 58 different apprenticeship programmes available across a range of sectors in the economy. 

In August new programmes were launched for Supply Chain Associates, Recruitment Executives and Principal Engineers. 

Under the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, €2,000 per apprentice is payable when they register with a further €1,000 payable in the third quarter of next year.

Pfizer has 24 apprentices in a variety of different roles, including laboratory, electrical instrumentation and mechanical automation and maintenance fitting programmes. 

"There are lots of options, lots of routes for people to fulfil their ambition and to get the career they want," said Mr Harris. 

"The Government is committed now to publishing a new action plan on apprenticeships in early 2021. We hope to bring it to Government by the end of the year," he added.