Apprenticeship NI Programme open for new apprentices and employers

Local people are being encouraged to sign up for a unique programme which offers the opportunity to secure paid work while gaining a recognised qualification to set them on a pathway to a new career.

By Claire Cartmill
Sunday, 25th July 2021, 6:00 am

The Apprenticeship programme, supported by Derry City & Strabane District Council, offers the chance to work within a wide range of sectors including construction, hospitality, healthcare, food and even a variety of production.

The programme allows participants to learn and achieve in a way that suits them, with paid work experience going hand in hand with gaining relevant qualifications. Apprentices can gain qualifications from level 2 (GCSE level) to level 4 or 5 (Foundation Degree level), boosting their career prospects. No matter what qualifications participants currently have, pathways are available for an apprenticeship that will benefit them.

Apprentices will be given the opportunity to work towards completing their qualifications through either onsite delivery or day release with a recognised training provider. Individuals learn the actual skills that employers need and will be given mentoring and support to help them fulfil their potential.

Olivia McClean, Massereene Manor Private Nursing Home

Mayor of Derry City & Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke, encouraged people to find out more about the Programme: “The Apprenticeship Programme provides a clear pathway for those hoping to launch their careers or re-train in an industry that interests them. It offers participants the chance to get ahead with real qualifications, whilst also getting paid at the same time. I would encourage those interested to sign up and take the next step in their career.” 

The Apprenticeship Programme already has a number of prestigious companies on board offering career opportunities across a wide range of industries.

With over 2000 employees globally, E & I Engineering is the largest electrical switchgear manufacturer in the UK & Ireland.

Managing Director of E & I Engineering, Philip O’Doherty, explained: ”Apprentices are very important. They provide us with a very skilled workforce, they make the company profitable, and they have enabled us to expand.”

Se O'Dochartaigh, warehouse production operator, O'Neills

A real benefit for those taking part in the programme will be the opportunity to increase their career prospects without accruing the financial debt that often burdens those in study. As university isn’t for everyone, the programme offers an alternative pathway for many.

Rebekah Glenn, completed an apprenticeship in Accountancy and found employment with a local firm: “I chose to take this route because I never wanted to go to university. I wanted to go out and get a job. It’s a way of getting hands on experience while you’re earning money as well. Instead of getting into debt, this really gives you an opportunity and feel for the job.”

Whether you are a start-up, micro-business, large corporate or an SME looking to increase productivity or fill skills gaps, employing apprentices can have a positive impact on your business.

The recent success stories of apprentices from local companies such as Foyle Food Group, O’Neills, KES Group and E&I Engineering will form part of a marketing campaign in the coming weeks to encourage more people to choose an apprenticeship pathway.

Gary Mitchell, BBH supervisor Foyle Foods

For full details on the Apprenticeship Programme visit:

Lauren Corry, team leader of warehouse administation, O'Neills