Thirty-seven apprentices from Donegal were among a group of 120 craft apprentices from across eighteen apprenticeship programmes who recently graduated at the first in-person ceremony in the North West region since 2019. An additional 54 Donegal apprentices who qualified since the end of 2019 were unable to attend the ceremony due to employment and other commitments.
Donegal Education and Training Board and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education and Training Board (MSLETB) presented the graduates with their certificates at a graduation ceremony in Carrick-on-Shannon on Friday last, 18 November.
The graduates qualified in the following apprenticeships: Electrical, Plumbing, Carpentry and Joinery, Mechanical Automotive Maintenance Fitter, Wood Manufacturing and Finishing, Motor Mechanics, Metal Fabrication, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Vehicle Body Repairs, Toolmaking, Construction Plant Fitting, Heavy Vehicle Mechanics, Stonecutting and Stonemasonry, Pipefitting, Electronic Security Systems, Agricultural Mechanics, and Instrumentation.
The graduating Donegal apprentices included three for whom their father was also their apprenticeship employer: Cormac Ward of Cormac Ward Car Sales, employer and father of Finnian Ward; Paul McBrearty of Paul McBrearty Plumbing, employer and father of Oisin McBrearty and Samuel Rankin of S&S Rankin Ltd, employer and father of Adam Rankin.
Presenting the awards, Frank Feighan TD, Minister for State, Public Health, Wellbeing and National Drugs Strategy stated: “Apprenticeship as an industry-driven system, provides a route for employers to shape the experiences and qualifications required of their industry. The initiatives set out in the Government’s action plan makes it easier for all employers to engage with apprenticeships. This in turn, will support the learner looking to advance their career through a viable pathway which facilitates on-the-job learning whilst retaining a source of income. I would like to congratulate the apprentices who took that first leap into the apprentice journey.”
Speaking at the event, Chief Executive of MSLETB Tom Grady said, “The pandemic brought many challenges to apprentices and their employers. However, resilience and perseverance to succeed has brought us to this graduation today.
“Apprenticeships are vital for the prosperity of the northwest region and the country. Apprentices develop the knowledge skills and expertise required by industry and are a pathway into a great career, and our graduates here today should be immensely proud of the choice they made.”
Apprenticeships are delivered through a combination of on-the-job and off-the-job training that allows apprentices to earn while they learn and gain an internationally recognised qualification. In 2022 over 8,400 employers across Ireland used apprenticeships to help support and grow their businesses, with over 24,000 apprentices currently completing their training.
Congratulating the apprentices who received awards, Donegal ETB Chief Executive Anne McHugh said, “It’s fantastic to see so many apprentices graduating today with a much sought after qualification. I wish them every success in their careers ahead.
The National Apprenticeship Awards 2022 also recognised Donegal ETB and MSLETB WorldSkills participants.
For more information about the apprenticeship programmes available to become an approved employer or to register as an apprentice, contact Donegal ETB’s apprenticeship team on 074 91 20500.