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Ballyclare Apprentice to Compete in SkillBuild UK National Finals

A young apprentice studying bench joinery at Northern Regional College has qualified for the SkillBuild UK national finals in Milton Keynes later this month.

Jamie Matthews (17) from Ballyclare, who is a Level 2 bench joinery apprentice at the College’s Newtownabbey campus, is employed by leading luxury fit-out and bespoke joinery company, Mivan in Antrim. He came through the Northern Ireland regional finals with flying colours to finish among the top eight in the UK and qualify for the national finals.

With 9 GSCE’s under his belt, Jamie decided to do an apprenticeship rather than go back to school and said he would have no hesitation recommending a joinery apprenticeship at Northern Regional College.

“I attended an Open Evening at the College and really liked what they had to offer so decided to do my Level 2. Once I achieve this, I will start working towards my Level 3 qualification which will help with my career progression.

“I have been able to learn and practice all the key skills needed to be a competent joiner. I’ve also been able to experience competing and winning the Northern Ireland SkillBuild competition and qualify for the national finals.”

Jamie added that his experience of competing in the SkillBuild competition had really boosted his confidence:

“It gave me a chance to put into practice all the skills and knowledge I have learnt at both the College and at work and showcase my full potential. It’s been a great learning experience.

“I would really encourage other students to get involved in the SkillBuild competitions as it is a great opportunity to compete against other students at an inter-campus level and if successful to progress to the national UK finals.”

Congratulating Jamie on reaching the national final, David Russell, Curriculum Area Manager for Construction in the Department of Advanced Technologies at Northern Regional College, said he had done exceptionally well to qualify for the national finals on his first attempt.

“The SkillBuild competitions are an opportunity for young people to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a specific skill area and see how they measure up against their peers. Jamie was still in the first year of his apprenticeship when he qualified and was competing against final year apprentices.

Supported by the Department for the Economy and local construction companies, the SkillBuild competitions provide an opportunity to showcase the high level of skills and the impressive talent within the workforce, as well as raising the status and standards of professional and technical education and training.

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