Govt funds recruitment degree drive

New Government-funded programme tackles a shortage in qualified recruitment personnel.

A new recruitment apprenticeship, fully-funded by Government, that leads to a BA (Hons) in Recruitment Practice, is open for applications via the Employment & Recruitment Federation (ERF).

The degree-level qualification, delivered as an apprenticeship scheme, is a world-first for Ireland. The three-year blended learning course was developed by the ERF, and is delivered by the IFSC-based, National College of Ireland in Dublin.

“Staff shortages and the growing challenges of talent acquisition mean professional recruiters, both inhouse and in-agency, are a must”

Participating recruitment executives can be school-leavers or people interested in a career change, according to Geraldine King, CEO of the ERF.

Recruiting the recruiters

She says the majority of current students are new recruits or existing employees of a recruitment agency, or may already work in a HR or recruitment function with a major employer.

“While many applicants already work in the sector, we have signed-up apprentices who worked in areas like retail, hospitality and healthcare, who want to change careers; also, school leavers, interested in recruitment, who are delighted to combine study, work experience and earning,” said King.

Students are placed with recruitment agencies or inhouse HR departments to learn on the job, while also taking online tutorials and attending college one day a week.  There are two terms of 13 weeks duration in each academic year.

For those not already working in the sector, entry to the apprenticeship programme is subject to an interview with a participating agency, and each student has a mentor provided for them.

The innovative degree level education opportunity was introduced in 2020 by the ERF and its first graduates will finish in May 2023.

At a time of transition in workplaces, and in the jobs market, HR and recruitment executives are more valued than ever, according to the recruiters’ organisation.  

Major employers with extensive recruiting needs are actively enrolling staff and taking on new recruits via the apprenticeship, the ERF’s Geraldine King says.

“Staff shortages and the growing challenges of talent acquisition mean professional recruiters, both inhouse and in-agency, are a must.  For employers and recruitment agencies, a recognised degree qualification is hugely significant, both in terms of recruitment performance and for individual career development”.

The three-year degree covers professional recruitment practice, including business strategy and planning, ICT tools for recruitment, leadership, financial management, stakeholder relationship management, governance and legal requirements.

More than 7,500 are employed in the recruitment sector in Ireland, and the formal degree qualification is intended to boost entrants to the sector and enhance professionalism, as well as furthering domestic and global career opportunity for participants.

The start date for the new intake of apprentices is 29th September next, with interested applicants or employers asked to register their interest in the coming fortnight.  Detail is on

Apprentices’ college fees are fully funded for the three years, supported by SOLAS, the State agency enabling further education and training.

Main image: ERF’s Geraldine King

ThinkBusiness, powered by Bank of Ireland, has been created for Irish business owners and managers who are seeking information, resources and help on a range of business topics. It provides practical, actionable information and guidance on starting, growing and running a business.