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The role of an apprentice, where you earn while you learn, has become a hot topic in the Northern Ireland employment market. In 2018/19 (up to April 2019), 4,354 young people aged 16-24 in Northern Ireland commenced an apprenticeship, with the total number of apprentices increasing by 3% in the current academic year.

Businesses from across Northern Ireland will gather on 20th and 21st November at Skills Northern Ireland in the Titanic Exhibition Centre to showcase the range of employment opportunities available, and they are encouraging 14-19 year olds in attendance to consider an apprenticeship as a great hands-on route into a new career.

We asked Ryan Morgan (32) from Newry, an Overhead Lines Apprentice in NIE Networks to explain why he chose an apprenticeship as his career path.

Ryan Morgan
Ryan Morgan

“I studied science and maths at school and after returning home from living in Australia for a year I embarked on training as a paramedic. It was a hugely rewarding career but after ten years of service I wanted a change. I saw an advertisement for the NIE Networks Apprenticeship Programme in my local paper and the opportunity of a career that allowed me to work outdoors in a highly skilled engineering role really appealed.

“It wasn’t an easy decision to leave a career that I knew so well and retrain in something entirely different, but I knew I was up for the challenge and especially because I could see the long-term potential in engineering  as a career. It’s a sector that is changing all the time and the innovation taking place especially around renewable energy is an exciting project to be part of.

“The recruitment process for the apprenticeship was tough with a range of practical and theory-based assessments, but I took the time to prepare and researching NIE Networks really opened my eyes to the different roles and career paths available.

“We spend one day each week at college and the rest of the time we are out on site with supervised on-the-job learning. I came from a job where I was knowledgeable, but this is starting right from the beginning. It’s challenging but I love the hands-on learning approach.

“Receiving the Energy Horizons Bursary has been the perfect end to my first year and I’m immensely proud to have received the recognition. It goes to show with the right support around you anything is possible.”

The Skills Northern Ireland event is aimed at 14-19 year olds, their parents, teachers and influencers, to help enlighten them about jobs and career choices, apprenticeships, courses, growing industry sectors and training opportunities.

Sponsored by NIE Networks, it is Northern Ireland’s biggest careers fair of its kind, acting as a one-stop expo and interactive experience for youngsters looking for careers inspiration and information.


To find out more about the event visit www.skillsnorthernireland.co.uk.

 

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