From education to employment

SERC Fire Systems Apprentices Placed at SkillBuildNI

South Eastern Regional College Level 3 Fire Systems Apprentices have taken podium spots at the SkillBuildNI Competition – a search for the top performers within construction apprenticeship programmes from across Northern Ireland – recently hosted by the Construction Industry Training Board at Dundrod.

First place was awarded to Jonny Hamilton (Bangor) employed by Atlas World; second place went to Alex Wallace (Newtownards) employed by Building Protection Systems; and Taylor Rollo (Newtownards) employed by Building Protection Systems was placed third.

Matthew Blair (Ballinderry Upper), employed by Building Protection Systems and James Curry (Banbridge) employed by Beacon Fire & Security were Highly Commended.

Both Jonny Hamilton and Alex Wallace will also represent SERC at the IFSEC national competition, 17 – 19 May in London, and are awaiting combined results for WorldSkills.

Robin Hamill, SERC Fire & Security Lecturer said, “We are thrilled for the young apprentices, all of whom where commended by the judges on their positive and professional attitude, their expertise, and the quality of their installation.”

He added, “The Institute of Fire Safety Managers (ISFM) sponsored additional prizes for first and second place which includes an all-expenses invitation to their conference at Silverstone on 8 June 2022

“It was great to have UK industry experts support the regional finals and we were delighted to have David White, Chairman, and Helen Hilton Business Manager from ISFM in attendance at SkillBuildNI.”

SERC has been working with IFSM to explore opportunities to work with the Northern Ireland Fire Industry to enhance the students learning experience. IFSM are committed to supporting SERC in the training and development of our Fire Apprentices and have agreed to offer all Fire Apprentices a 3-year free membership, which will be upgraded to a technician’s membership on successfully completing their Level 3 Apprenticeship.

In addition, Plastering Apprentices Jake Beckett (Moria) employed by Jim McAteer and Scott Kerr (Carrickfergus) employed by Gareth Hanna and Joinery Apprentice, David Fairley (Dromore), employed by Heaney Interiors also competed in SkillBuildNI.   Results for these competitions will be announced in June following regional heats yet to take place in Scotland, England and Wales.

Winners will have the opportunity to represent Northern Ireland in the Skillbuild UK and/or Skill M&E UK National Finals leading potentially to represent Team UK at WorldSkills.

Robert concluded, “Competitions such as SkillBuildNI and WorldSkillsUK give our students the opportunity to challenge themselves, network with their peers and to get a broader view of the industry in which they are carving out careers.”

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