Donegal FET Student and Apprentice Amongst WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Competition Winners

Two people side by side
Two people side by side
Lee Davison, WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding competition winner and Martin Doherty, WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Heavy Vehicle Maintenance competition winner.

There were two winners from Donegal amongst the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 competition winners announced in Dublin tonight.

Lee Davison from Buncrana won the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding competition, while Martin Doherty from Cloghan won the Heavy Vehicle Maintenance competition.

This follows three-day long competitions in the RDS, where they competed against some of the most talented young people in their fields from across the country.

Representing Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB), former Further Education and Training (FET) student Lee, who previously attended Crana College, completed basic, intermediate and coded pipe welding courses with Donegal ETB’s FET Service. Martin, who is a former Gairmscoil Chú Uladh student, is undertaking his Heavy Vehicle Mechanic apprenticeship with Bus Éireann. Lee and Martin were awarded a prestigious Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (DFHERIS) Silver Medal for their efforts.

Two people standing side by side.
Former Donegal ETB Carpentry and Joinery apprentice Joe Kelly (Galway) and WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Joinery competition winner, with Carpentry and Joinery Instructor and Joinery competition examiner Anthony O Donnell.

The Joinery competition was also won by a former Donegal ETB Carpentry and Joinery apprentice from Galway, Joe Kelly.

WorldSkills Ireland is a partnership between enterprise, industry, education, training and government that raises the profile and recognition of skills and apprenticeships and prepares the talent of today for the careers of the future.

There was strong representation from Donegal ETB’s FET students and apprentices at this year’s WorldSkills Ireland competition which was attended by 30,000 visitors over the three days.

Welding student and former Errigal College student Darren O’Donnell from Lisnennan, Letterkenny, also competed in the welding competition, while apprentice Nathan Wray from Doonan, and a former Abbey Vocational School student, competed in the Carpentry competition. Two Convoy apprentices, Oran Taylor and Tyler Harkin, competed in the Electrical Installation (Oran) and Plumbing and Heating (Tyler) competitions.

Donegal Carpentry and Joinery apprentices Barry Ryan (from Dublin) and Richard McElwaine (from Monaghan) competed in the Joinery competition, while former Donegal ETB motor mechanics apprentice Patrick Aaron Martin from Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan was also a WorldSkills Ireland 2023 competitor.

Each of these remarkable young people achieved a Certificate of Excellence for excelling in their chosen fields to make it into the competition.

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Donegal apprentice Diarmuid McCaughey who spoke on the WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Heroes stage pictured with Claire Gillespie, Donegal ETB Apprenticeship Services.

Another Donegal ETB apprentice Diarmuid McCaughey, who is undertaking his Level 7 Manufacturing Engineering apprenticeship with Abbotts Diabetes Care in Donegal Town and is a 2023 Apprentice of the Year nominee, spoke about his apprenticeship journey on the Heroes stage at the event.

Two people standing together
Lee Davison, WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Welding Competition winner and Cathal McGee, Donegal ETB Senior Welding Instructor and WorldSkills Ireland Expert in Welding and 2023 competition Chief Examiner

Donegal ETB staff were also involved in the skills showcase. Carpentry and Joinery Instructor Anthony O’Donnell was an examiner in the Joinery competition, while Donegal ETB’s Senior Welding Instructor Cathal McGee, who is also a WorldSkills Ireland Expert in Welding, was the Chief Examiner at the welding competition, leading a team of three examiners.

Speaking about the welding competition, Cathal said, “The standard of welding on display at this week’s competition was of world class standard and each competitor gave it their all.”

Ray English, Worldskills Ireland Chair added: “Skills and apprenticeships are vital to the continued growth and evolution of our core industries and to Ireland’s economy as a whole. We believe that by working to promote the opportunities within these sectors, we can help to create a brighter future for our young people, our industries and our country.”

For further information, visit or follow Worldskills Ireland 2023 on social media.

Three people side by side.
Donegal ETB Carpentry and Joinery Instructor Anthony O Donnell (centre) with Donegal ETB apprentices and WorldSkills Ireland 2023 Joinery competition participants Richard McElwaine and Barry Ryan.