Donegal ETB Further Education & Training (FET) Staff Member Appointed WorldSkills Ireland Expert

Donegal ETB welding instructor Cathal McGee has been appointed as a WorldSkills Ireland Expert for the skill area of Welding. This appointment is for the 45th WorldSkills competition which takes place in Kazan, Russia from 22-27 August 2019 and is the first time ever that welding staff from any ETB in the country have been appointed to this position.

WorldSkills is the collective voice for skills excellence and development in vocational, technological, and service-oriented careers around the globe. Every two years WorldSkills hosts the world championships of skills which attracts more than 1,600 competitors from over 60 countries. At this event, young people from all corners of the globe gather together for the chance to win a prestigious medal in their chosen skill. There are competitions in 56 skills across a wide range of industries — from joinery to floristry; hairdressing to electronics; and autobody repair to bakery. The competitors represent the best of their peers and are selected from skills competitions that are held in WorldSkills member countries and regions. Ireland’s National Skills Final took place from 21-23 March.

Stranorlar native Cathal has worked with Donegal ETB for the last fifteen years. Speaking about his appointment, Cathal said, “I’m absolutely delighted with this appointment. The fact that this is the first time ever an ETB staff member has been appointed to the welding expert role makes it particularly special. The work of a WorldSkills Ireland Expert consists of preparing the Irish WorldSkills competitor is his skill area, welding in my case, training and coordinating the twelve week Special Training Programme (STP), as well as participating in the WorldSkills competition in Kazan.”

Since 1950, WorldSkills has raised awareness among young people, as well as their parents, teachers and employers, that their future depends on an effective skills training system. The twenty largest economies in the world are Members of WorldSkills, as are the five most populous. In all, the membership represents two-thirds of the world’s population.

The WorldSkills Ireland welding competitor Cathal will work with in representing Ireland, Christopher Kehoe, was the winner of the National Skills Final.

Speaking about Cathal’s appointment, Cróna Gallagher, Donegal ETB’s Director of Further Education and Training (FET) said, “I’d like to congratulate Cathal on his appointment. Not only is this a huge honour for him and a testament to his own knowledge and skills, it highlights the quality of the training provided by Donegal ETB’s FET Service; we are the leading provider of welding training in the Irish further education and training sector, having been the first in Ireland to introduce augmented reality welding into our training and our staff are now leading the way on the national and international skills stage.”

Cathal’s manager, Donegal ETB’s Area Training Manager Vinny McGroary, on congratulating Cathal commented, “Cathal’s appointment and his involvement in the WorldSkills competition will increase the visibility of skilled professional education. Welding comes under the Manufacturing and Engineering Technology category and the competition provides leaders in industry, government and education with the opportunity to exchange information and best practices regarding industry and professional education.”

Cathal now has a busy few months ahead of him. In addition to training his competitor for the competition, he has to develop the STP for his area of welding, monitor progress of his competitor, be active on the WorldSkills Forum which requires completion of preparatory tasks and complete WorldSkills International Modules as part of his international professional development.

Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh also added her congratulations saying, “We are absolutely delighted with Cathal’s appointment. It not only highlights Cathal’s skills but highlights the quality of the teaching and learning the people of Donegal have on their own doorstep. I would like to wish him and his competitor all the best with their preparations in the coming months and good luck in Kazan.”

The WorldSkills Championship takes place in Kazan, Russia from 22-27 August 2019. More information is available at Further updates will also be found on our social media accounts, Facebook/Twitter (@DonegalETB) and LinkedIn (

Photo credit: Sandra Buchanan

Donegal ETB welding instructor and WorldSkills Ireland Welding Expert Cathal McGee (left) and Christopher Kehoe, Ireland WorldSkills Welding competitor (right).