Get involved in NI's Apprenticeship Week 2021

  • The second annual Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week is due to take place from 26 to 30 April 2021.

    Led by the Department for the Economy, the initiative will aim 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.

    Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: "The week of virtual events will provide a great opportunity to raise the profile and showcase the very best within our apprenticeship programmes and the opportunities available. I would encourage everyone with an interest to get involved.

    “Employers can strengthen and grow their teams with an apprentice, thereby developing the skills of our people right across Northern Ireland. Skills are a key priority for me as we begin the process of rebuilding our economy and I am determined to keep apprenticeships at the centre of our long term strategic plans.’’

    The programme will include a virtual recruitment day at The Craft Training Centre, with celebrity promotional videos including singers Nadine Coyle and Conor McGinty, and vice-captain of Derry City FC Ciaron Harkin.

    Also included will be a virtual ‘insight into EY’ event hosted by the accounting firm itself with opportunities to hear from current apprentices and to learn about business areas and opportunities.

    A dedicated website giving details of virtual events happening across Northern Ireland can be found here and apprenticeship partners are invited to get involved by hosting their own apprenticeship events or in collaboration with others.

    Anyone who would like to get involved should contact the Department by email at:

    RELATED: Higher Level Apprenticeships - Your secret superpower

    Statistics recently released by the Department for the Economy revealed that in the academic year 2019/20, there were 553 starts on a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programme. This was an increase of 101 (22.3%) compared to 452 HLA starts recorded in 2018/19.

    A trend is emerging showing more males are entering these programmes than females. Approximately one in three starts in 2019/20 were female; 188 females compared to 365 males.

    During this period, ‘Engineering and manufacturing technologies’ was the most popular subject area, accounting for over one third (36.8%) of all HLA participants and the overall success rate for final year individuals was 84.7%.

    Central to the NI Apprenticeship Week will be the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2021 which aims to recognise excellence in apprenticeships and culminates in a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday 28 April 2021. Following the launch of the Awards on 16 December 2020 the three finalists for each of the award categories have now been selected.

    RELATED: National Apprenticeship Week: Win £5k towards funding an apprentice

    Minister Dodds added: “Once again the number and, in particular, the quality of nominations received for this prestigious competition demonstrates how apprenticeships can change the lives of businesses and apprentices. I would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination and want to wish each finalist the very best of luck.”

    The finalists for each award category are:

    Apprentice Award 2021 Finalists:

    Chantelle McDonagh - An Tearmann (STEP) - Coalisland Training Services Ltd
    Declan McEleney - Fleming Agri-Products Ltd - North West Regional College
    Jonathan Hawthorne - Greiner Packaging Ltd - South West College
    Higher Level Apprentice Award 2021 Finalists:

    Hannah Maneely - Nugent Engineering Ltd - South West College
    James Matchett - Kainos Group plc - Ulster University
    Barry Donnelly – Cundall - South West College
    Large Employer Award 2021 Finalists:

    Allen & Overy in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College
    RYOBI Aluminium Casting (UK) Limited in partnership with Northern Regional College
    Kainos Group plc in partnership with Ulster University
    SME Employer Award 2021 Finalists:

    McKay Pharmacy in partnership with South Eastern Regional College
    TBC Conversions in partnership with South West College
    Specialist Joinery Group in partnership with Strabane Training Services

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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