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Helpful teamwork is highlight of apprenticeship for Christopher

23 July 2019

Helpful teamwork is highlight of apprenticeship for Christopher

Who wouldn’t want to work in the great outdoors, being part of a team, helping people with odd jobs big and small and getting to know new faces around the town?

For Christopher Finnegan, it’s the perfect way to work and thanks to an apprenticeship at GABLE, through Strabane Training Services (STS), he’s now doing just that.

STS is one of a number of private training organisations working with Derry City and Strabane District Council on its apprenticeship campaign Get Paid, Get Qualified, Get Ahead which can be accessed at: www.getapprenticeships.me

Now 24, Christopher left Knockavoe School at the age of 17 and, like many young people, wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He tried further education but found it wasn’t for him so went into the world of work, getting placements in different environments but none was quite the right fit. Until STS offered him a chance to train as a Helping Hands technician apprentice with local firm GABLE.

GABLE is a project run by Shelter NI, working with older and disabled homeowners and private tenants, with a base in Strabane.

In the year that he’s been with them, Christopher has done everything from paint to put up handrails, under the expert guidance of experienced colleagues.

Christopher said: “I enjoy going out and about and meeting new people, seeing what I can do to help. I take it in turns to work with Graham and Francie, doing power-washing, painting or any other handyman jobs. Most of the work is in Strabane but sometimes we’ve jobs in Derry or Limavady.

“It’s interesting work and I’ve got to know so many people from being out and about. Graham and Francie show me what to do and then I do it myself. I enjoy all the different jobs I do, but my priority would be helping people. We do work for the elderly or disabled and I always do my best for them.

“I get paid because I’m an apprentice which is great. The staff and everyone at GABLE are all very friendly and I’m proud to help them out. A tutor from STS comes out and sees how I’m doing. I’m hoping GABLE will keep me on after my apprenticeship finishes.

“I’m so grateful to STS for getting me this job and to GABLE for accepting me into their work – I’m part of the team now!”

Through STS, Christopher is undertaking level two qualifications in painting and decorating, communication, application of numbers and ICT.

Strabane Training Service (STS) is a dynamic and forward thinking training organisation which specialises in apprenticeships. They operate in several council areas and work alongside some of the best companies in Northern Ireland to provide apprenticeship skills and qualifications to their employees.

Courses are tailored so that the apprentice and the employer get the best fit and tutors use a variety of delivery and assessment methods to keep the programme relaxed and the participants engaged.

STS has been delivering Skills and Training for 41 years and takes great pride in watching the progression of the young people they have helped.

It delivers Training for Success to 16 and 17 year old students across three sites in Strabane and involves a blend of classroom learning and work placements.

ApprenticeshipsNI is a programme which is delivered to people aged between 16-24 years old who are working a minimum of 21 hours per week. Tutors visit the apprentices at their workplace to deliver and assess units and the Apprentice earns a wage whilst doing this programme.

Qualifications are available in sports, childcare, bricklaying, joinery, industrial painting, hair / beauty / barbering, retail skills, business administration, painting and decorating, customer services, IT and warehouse & storage.

One-to-one delivery means that education is accessible to everyone.

STS is one of several training organisations working with Derry City and Strabane District Council as part of its Apprenticeship Campaign.

Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, wants to highlight the importance of apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the Council area. She said: “The Council is working very proactively with a number of education providers, private training organisations, careers service and companies to encourage people to avail of apprenticeship opportunities that exist across the Council area. The promotion of apprenticeships is a key element of the education and skills outcomes set out in the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan and overseen by the Education and Skills Partnership.

“The Education and Skills Delivery Partnership (ESDP) was established as an outcome delivery partnership under the Strategic Growth Plan, to support the education and skills ambitions outlined in the plan. Along with our partners, we are supporting employers to secure and develop the skills they need to increase productivity, and enable individuals to find fulfilling employment and progress in today’s competitive and dynamic world of work.

“Apprenticeships encourage young people to look at vocational options for training in their chosen profession through on-the-job training, study, an industry-recognised qualification and earning a wage.

“We are delighted at Christopher, he will encourage more young people to look at the many apprenticeship opportunities that exist across many sectors, from engineering and law, to construction and fashion design.”

Contact STS Training at 3-5 Abercorn Square, Strabane, tel : 02871 382438 or:[email protected]

For more information on apprenticeships available in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area, visit: www.getapprenticeships.me