The main craft trades come within the scope of the Statutory Apprenticeship system. Currently there are 26 designated trades within the Standards Based Apprenticeship system.

The apprenticeship system typically consists of seven phases in total with three off-the-job phases (phase two is delivered in ETB Training Centres throughout the country, (phases 4 and 6 are delivered by the Institute of Technology) and four on-the-job phases (delivered by employers).

Apprenticeship is a demand-driven, workplace and classroom, educational and training programme for employed people aimed at developing the skills of the apprentice to meet the needs of industry and the labour market. The Curriculum for each apprenticeship programme is based on uniform, pre-specified standards which are agreed and determined by industry.

Successful completion of an apprenticeship, leads to Level 6 NFQ award called the Advanced Certificate Craft Award, this is recognised internationally as the requirement for craftsperson status.

The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when the Results Approval Panel approves that the apprentice has successfully achieved the required qualifying standard, completed all of the alternating on-the-job and off-the-job phases of his/her apprenticeship and served the minimum apprenticeship period as specified by ETB from time to time.