Carrickfergus firm, McCue, is retaining specialist skills through apprenticeships

Carrickfergus fit-out and bespoke joinery company, McCue is intent on retaining its specialist skillset for the future by continuing its recruitment and in-house training of apprentices.

Thursday, 14th October 2021, 11:14 am

For over 20 years, McCue has worked in partnership with Northern Regional College (NRC) to develop and mentor the younger generation in the specialist trade of bespoke joinery. This has enabled the company to pass on the intricate, niche, and high-quality skills that its people have perfected over its 65 years. During the apprenticeship programme, apprentices undertake on-the-job training with McCue’s highly skilled craftsmen, combined with part time study that will culminate in a recognised qualification.

McCue currently has 19 apprentices employed with the company, ranging from first to fourth years, which make up 21% of its total workforce. Apprentices are integral to McCue’s business, helping to maintain the volume of joiners required as workflow increases due to customer demand.

Many of McCue’s senior team began their career with the company as apprentices, including managing director, Gary Purdy: “The value of undertaking an apprenticeship programme cannot be understated. For over 60 years, we have had apprentices in McCue and during that time we’ve seen numerous young people who, with the right attitude and determination, have made excellent joiners and team members and have gone on to work on some of our outstanding and award-winning projects. We’re also very proud of the career progression opportunities offered to apprentices whilst employed with McCue.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cllr William McCaughey with Graham Whitehurst MBE, Chair of the Mid and East Antrim Manufacturing Taskforce, Gary Purdy, managing director at McCue and the company’s latest intake of apprentices

“For us, it’s vitally important that we maintain the level of apprentices entering the company to ensure a skilled workforce for the future. I’m very grateful to the Northern Regional College for their continued support of our apprenticeship programme.”

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor William McCaughey recently visited McCue and spoke about the company’s apprenticeship programme: “McCue has been a stalwart within the local area for many years, as well as being an advocate for the training and development of young people. It is great to see the company safeguarding its specialist skills for the future and passing on its own trade and craftsmanship to the next generation that will no doubt contribute to our local economy.”

Sean McAleese, work based learning manager at NRC said: “Over the last 20 years, McCue has always been a reliable and trusted employer that has assisted us with our apprenticeship programmes. It is great to see the opportunities that have been provided to young people who have undertaken an apprenticeship with McCue, as well as the high level skills, experience and qualifications that they gain. We will continue to work closely with the company to identify their training requirements and look forward to strengthening the College’s partnership with McCue in the future.”

As part of McCue’s apprenticeship programme, apprentices have the opportunity to work on a myriad of projects, from creating garden benches and birdboxes for local charity and community groups, to assisting with many of the company’s award-winning projects throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. These include The Berkeley Hotel, Ten Trinity Square, Centre Parcs Ireland and locally, Dumpling Library, Shu Restaurant and The Harp Bar.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit now to sign up.

Thank you