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Teenagers receiving exam results reminded of benefits of apprenticeship route

15 August 2018

As thousands of local teenagers consider the next step in their career development in the coming weeks after receiving their GCSE and A-level results, Derry City and Strabane District Council are encouraging young people to consider an apprenticeship as an educational pathway after leaving school.

Some of the most successful professionals in the world chose the apprenticeship route to achieve their dream including Phones 4U founder John Caudwell, world famous hairdresser John Frieda and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Through the Apprenticeship NI programme they can work full time and gain an industry recognised qualification, a win-win solution to learning.
The Apprenticeship Marketing Campaign currently being driven by Council and supported by the Careers Service, NWRC and local training providers aims to promote apprenticeships to young people as a viable, realistic and cost effective alternative to further education at level 2 (GCSE level), level 3 (A level) or level 4 and 5 (Foundation Degree level).
Apprenticeships offer hands on experience and qualifications in a wide variety of sectors including Catering, Construction, Engineering, Hair and Beauty, IT, Retail, Pharmacy and many more.

Highlighting the importance of apprenticeship schemes in the Council area, Tina Gillespie, Skills Manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council said: “The Council is working 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 outcome set out in the Council’s Strategic Growth Plan, which encourages 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 thrilled with the success of our local entrepreneurs who chose the apprenticeship route and hope it will encourage more young people to look at the many apprenticeship opportunities that exist across a wide range of sectors, from engineering and law to construction and fashion design.”

There have been many celebrities who reached the top of their respective fields thanks to apprenticeships meaning they are a viable alternative to university study.

Engineering company DuPont, based at Maydown in Derry, has provided intensive training to apprenticeships since it opened 60 years ago in the city and has always selected good, hard-working people. 

It is a workplace that has encouraged generations of Derry families to come through the ranks and in turn has cultivated a loyal and determined brand of innovative thinkers over the years.

Derry teenaged trainee Jack McLaughlin has grasped the opportunity to turn his passion into a career by doing an apprenticeship at Dupont alongside his studies at North West Regional College (NWRC).

Jack wished to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father before him who worked at the Maydown plant for many years.

Both were area managers within the company and he aims to replicate their achievements by completing his apprenticeship and becoming an engineer at DuPont.

Similarly E&I Engineering, situated just over the border in Donegal, founded and owned by Derry man Philip O’Doherty is another company offering young people the opportunity to learn on the job as paid apprentices. 

Therefore, opportunities exist for technologically minded young people to become accomplished engineers and perhaps follow in the footsteps of former apprentice John Caudwell who sold Phones 4U for £1.5bn in 2006.

Another high-profile apprentice is John Frieda who is the most famous hairdresser in the world.  Becoming a success in the hairdressing industry is a pathway open to school leavers in Derry as 17-year-old Conor Toland proved.

Conor had ambitions of becoming a hairdresser at age 14 and was guided by the owners of local hair salon RoCo, situated on Derry’s quay, as part of his apprenticeship in conjunction with training provided by the Rutledge Group.

He has thrived under their tutelage and now has ambitions to emulate the success of his mentors by opening his own salon in future as part of the RoCo franchise.

One of the best-known celebrity chefs, Jamie Oliver, started out as an apprentice and has become an entrepreneur, businessman and more recently a political crusader by tackling childhood obesity and highlighting the dangers of excessive sugar intake. 

As a man of integrity he has also tried to provide the next generation with the same opportunities as himself by recruiting and championing apprenticeships.

For more information and / or impartial advice on all aspects of apprenticeships including the types and levels available contact a dedicated Skills Advisor at Derry City and Strabane District Council on 028 71 308466  or go to www.getapprenticeships.me.