13/06/2011

NI's Top Apprentices Sought

There's to be a gala celebration this month as the hunt for Northern Ireland's top apprentices gets underway.

The beleaguered construction industry is to put its best foot forward and lift the gloom of recession with an event that aims to highlight local young people and their employers who are working to provide the skills required for economic growth and prosperity.

The Plumbing and Mechanical Apprentice of the Year Awards, which will be attended by 150 apprentices and their employers, and was launched by Belfast's new Lord Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile.

The awards, to be presented at a black tie gala at Belfast City Hall on June 28, mark the achievements of outstanding apprentices currently completing their Level 3 NVQ through Plumbing and Mechanical Training Ltd, Belfast.

"We feel these awards are fitting recognition of the sheer determination of these young people and their employers in continuing to progress their apprenticeships in the most challenging of times," said Derek Poole, Plumbing and Mechanical Services Training (PMST) Chairman.

"It has been a very difficult period in the construction industry, so this sort of commitment is essential in providing the skills which are required to underpin future industrial growth and economic prosperity in Northern Ireland.

"We appreciate the support of the industry, and the dedication of our young people - around 300 of whom are currently fully employed across Northern Ireland - and we believe the Apprentice of the Year Awards is the perfect acknowledgement of that."

BBC personality Karen Patterson will host the awards, which will be presented by the Lord Mayor, before a VIP guest list. Addresses will also be given by leading representatives of the business community.

Cllr Ó Donnghaile added: "The delivery of an apprenticeship qualification requires direct teaching, employment, onsite training and the commitment of individual apprentices to achieve the highest standards.

"I am delighted that this event will highlight their success stories – it is a great opportunity, particularly in the present economic climate, to recognise the positive qualities and contribution being made by these young people."

(BMcC/KMcA)

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