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Northern Regional College Apprentice Wins National Young Apprentice of the Year Award

A Northern Regional College bench joinery apprentice employed by Mivan has been named Young Apprentice of the Year 2023.

Conor Dallas (25) from Loughguile, County Antrim who is a final year apprentice at the College’s Ballymoney Campus, was among the winners at the prestigious Construction News Specialists gala awards dinner at the Hilton London Metropole.

Now in their 19th year, the CN Specialists Awards are the only national awards to recognise the outstanding achievements of specialist contractors and highlight the inspirational businesses and work across the industry.

As part of the rigorous judging process which got underway earlier this year, entries from all over the UK were assessed by an independent panel of principal contractors and industry figures. Conor was one of nine to make the shortlist for Young Apprentice of the Year category and several months ago, he travelled to London to be interviewed by the judges.

He said he was totally shocked when his name was called out as the winner:

“It was a ‘black tie’ dinner and I’d taken my jacket off. Just before the winners were to be announced, a couple of my Mivan colleagues at the table joked that I should put my jacket on again, just in case I had to go up on the stage. It was unbelievable to hear my name being called on – and all a bit of a scramble to get my jacket back on.

“I honestly didn’t realise just how big an event it was until we arrived at the awards dinner.”

The national Young Apprentice of the Year award is the latest in a series of accolades for the talented young joiner. In both 2021 and 2022, he was among the winners of the NI SkillBuild regional finals and went on to compete in the WorldSkills UK national finals. In May 2023, he was the recipient of the NI SkillBuild Overall Apprentice of the Year award.

Conor admitted that he took his time to decide what he wanted to do, but his settling on joinery, he has not looked back. He said the support and guidance from both Northern Regional College and Mivan have kept him motivated. 

“I thought I wanted to be a QS (quantity surveyor) and I spent a year at university after leaving school, but it just wasn’t for me. I tried a couple of other things but once I got started joinery, I knew I’d found my niche.”

Congratulating Conor on receiving the national Young Apprentice of the Year Award, his joinery lecturer at the College Ian Forsythe, said it was ‘very well deserved’.

“Conor is a very capable and competent young man who has been well motivated since he started his apprenticeship training with the us. His dedication and determination to succeed have allowed him to make great progress and I’m delighted to see him do so well. 

Charlie McCauley, who looks after Mivan’s apprentice programme, said the award recognised Conor’s commitment to excellence and is a testament to his promising future with the company.

“Conor showed great potential from day one and his dedication, hard work, and exceptional talent have truly shone through. He is a standout in his field and a true representative of Mivan values and our approach to delivering quality craftsmanship every time.”

Charlie acknowledged that Conor’s success was a great team effort:

“Conor is talented and keen to learn and he has received great support and encouragement from the College, particularly his joinery lecturer, Ian Forsythe and his colleagues at Mivan, who have all helped to push him on.”

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