Three talented South West College apprentices have been shortlisted for awards at the 2021 Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards, the winners of which will be announced at a special ‘virtual’ ceremony on Wednesday 28 April.
Higher Level Apprentices Hannah Maneely from Dungannon, who studies Manufacturing Engineering and is employed by Nugent Engineering, and Barry Donnelly from Dungiven, who studies Architectural Engineering & Energy and is employed by Cundall Ltd, Belfast, have both been shortlisted in the NI Higher Level Apprentice of the Year category.
Jonathan Hawthorne from Armagh, who studies Gold Engineering and is employed with Greiner Packaging has been shortlisted for the NI Apprentice of the Year award. South West College partner employers, TBC Conversions (Donnelly Group) have also been nominated for the SME Apprentice Employer Award.
The NI Apprenticeship Awards are an annual event which recognise apprentices who are making a significant contribution in their workplace and have shown a dedication to excel in their professional development and learning, and influential partnerships between employers and training providers that support the continuous growth of skills development in Northern Ireland. There are four award categories: Apprentice Award; Higher Level Apprentice Award; Large Employer Award and SME Award.
Apprenticeships offer students a unique opportunity to learn in an academic environment while also working in industry. Speaking about the Apprenticeship Awards, Hannah Maneely said, ‘An Apprenticeship has allowed me to work in the Engineering industry whilst studying one day a week at South West College. My Apprenticeship allows me to have a hands on approach to my learning and development as I can apply knowledge gained in the workplace into my studies, and vice versa. Earning while you learn allows me to save for my future as I don’t have to worry about paying tuition fees.’
Ahead of the awards ceremony, Hannah says that having been shortlisted is a tremendous achievement for her.
She says, ‘I am very pleased to be recognised for the hard work I have put in through both my studies and my work in the Engineering industry. Being shortlisted for this award has given me more confidence and has confirmed that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. My nomination for this award is a great confidence boost for me, and I hope it will also give other young females the inspiration to pursue careers and opportunities in the Engineering industry, which the industry will certainly benefit from.’
When the shortlist for the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship were announced, virtual meetings took place as the final stage of the judging process. Jonathan Hawthorne, from the Moy, has also been shortlisted and similarly feels pride in this honour and the benefit of studying an apprenticeship.
Jonathan said, ‘studying as an apprentice has been brilliant for me because it allows me to discover and develop skills in the workplace while also learning at South West College. I get to work with my employer, Greiner Packaging, four days a week and study with the college one day a week and I feel that working with a company like Greiner gives me something to work towards and provides me with a better understanding of what I’m learning in class. I am truly delighted to have been shortlisted for the awards. It’s a great encouragement to keep learning and keep developing.’
The Awards are part of NI Apprenticeship Week, an annual week-long celebration, led by the Department for the Economy, aiming to raise the profile of apprenticeships across Northern Ireland by bringing together partners including local councils, employers, universities, further education colleges and private training providers.
For more information or to apply please visit www.swc.ac.uk.