A North West Regional College (NWRC) student who is currently working as an apprentice with international company Errigal Contracts, has been awarded Gold in Plastering and Dry Lining at the annual Skillbuild Northern Ireland Finals.
Ryan Carlyle from Derry~Londonderry was one of 90 local construction apprentices who competed at the Construction and Industry Training Board (CITB) regional finals, which took place recently at NWRC’s Greystone Campus in Limavady. He will now go on to represent Northern Ireland at Skills Show UK, and potentially Worldskills 2019 in Russia.
The 25 year-old was one of the first group of students to take up a place in a new Dry Lining apprentice programme offered jointly by NWRC and Errigal Contracts, which allows participants to earn top apprenticeship wages while learning in college.
The programme has proved to be a huge success and Errigal are currently in the process of recruiting their second group of Dry Lining Apprentices.
Speaking after his win, Ryan thanked his lecturers at NWRC and staff at Errigal, for their guidance and mentoring.
He added: “I had just returned from a year in Australia and when I saw the apprenticeship in Dry Lining advertised I thought it would be a great opportunity.
“Three of us from the class went on to take part in the Skillbuild finals at Greystone. It was very tough and time consuming and I was delighted to win Gold. At the moment I’m working in Belfast, as well as taking classes at the College. It’s been vital for me that I’ve been able to work and get my qualification at the same time.
“The apprenticeship with Errigal has been a great opportunity and I’d encourage other young people to take part.”
Adrian Convery, NWRC Lecturer, who delivers the Dry Lining classes at the college congratulated Ryan on his success.
He said: “Ryan joined the Dry Lining programme as part of the first cohort of apprentices. He has committed himself fully to the project and his work has been commended by his employers at Errigal.
“NWRC is proud to deliver this apprentice programme with Errigal which offers fulltime employment, qualifications and the opportunity to progress into site management.
“All this while earning top apprentice wages, having all tools supplied plus continuous H&S training that keeps employees safe at work.
“Ryan’s success demonstrates the benefits of Apprenticeships and Skills training, and how our students can compete at World Level as well as managing the demands of employment in a busy and exciting global industry.
“NWRC had in excess of 1,300 visitors at the Skillbuild Regional Finals at Greystone and we would like to thank the many members of the public and pupils from local schools who attended the event.”
Terry McDermott, Site Manager with Errigal and Skillbuild Tutor with Errigal Apprentices said:
“This apprenticeship is a fantastic opportunity for young people to earn their trade in Dry Lining and gain a qualification at the same time. They are working with and learning from the best in the trade. The Skillbuild competition is a great way to demonstrate the skills and dedication required to excel in Dry Lining. I have been working with Errigal apprentices over the past 3 years both out on site and in the Errigal training academy and it is great to see them take pride in their work as their confidence grows. We are very proud of Ryan, and indeed all the young people who took part in the NI Skillbuild final and we are looking forward to our preparations for the UK Finals.”
Errigal and NWRC are now recruiting for their next cohort of Dry Lining Apprentices.