[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height="" css=".vc_custom_1548847238311{margin-top: -39px !important;}"][vc_column_text][mkdf_dropcaps type="normal" color="#ff3154" background_color=""]T[/mkdf_dropcaps]he Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2020 took place on Thursday 6 February at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast, with South West College student, Colleen O’Boyle, announced as joint-winner of the Higher Level Apprentice Award. Coleen, from Clonoe, studying the HLA Foundation Degree in Engineering at SWC Dungannon, is employed by Mallaghans as Manufacturing Engineer, and was joint-winner alongside Will Bradley, employed by BT and training with Belfast Met.

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The NI Apprenticeship Awards recognise Apprentices who are making a significant contribution in their workplace and have shown a dedication to excel in their professional development and learning, as well as partnerships between employers and Training Suppliers that support the continuous growth of apprenticeships in Northern Ireland.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds and rugby star Tommy Bowe presented winners with their awards at the ceremony, which is one of the highlights of the Department’s Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week, designed to showcase the range of opportunities available through apprenticeships to both potential applicants and employers.

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Speaking at the awards ceremony Economy Minister Diane Dodds said:


“ I want to commend all those who were shortlisted for this year’s awards and congratulate the 2020 winners.”

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"There are over 8,300 apprentices, including higher level apprentices, currently on apprenticeship programmes funded by the Department for the Economy, so to be nominated for these awards is testament to your hard work and dedication.I would also like to acknowledge the work being done by the employers and training providers. Without your commitment and enthusiasm we wouldn’t be able to run these programmes. Apprenticeship programmes help us equip people with the skills and qualifications needed to support economic growth and develop our economy."

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Other awards handed out at the ceremony were: the SME Innovation Award, won by Specialist Joinery Group, in partnership with Strabane Training Services; the Apprentice Award, won by Craig Holmes, employed by A S Watson Group – Savers and training at Babcock Training Ltd; and the Large Employer Innovation Award, won by Citi in partnership with Belfast Met.