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.

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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.

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