From education to employment

Shea on Track with Land Based Engineering Apprenticeship

Male apprentice wearing red and black hoodie smiling to camera

After a false start, due to the impact of the pandemic, a young apprentice is making a career for himself with a Land Based Engineering Apprenticeship.

Shea Cunningham (20), from Dromore, progressed from St Patrick’s in Banbridge to commence a Level 3 Land Based Engineering Apprenticeship.   He said, “The impact of the pandemic made it difficult for me to settle into the apprenticeship with all the disruptions, so following advice, I changed level and training provider and haven’t looked back.   Although I had the qualifications for Level 3, I decided starting off at the Level 2 would give me a better foundation, and since then I have moved on to the Level 3 in Land Based Engineering.

The young man who studies at SERC’s Lisburn Campus is employed by Johnston Gilpin Ltd, the John Deere tractor and harvester specialist in Ravernet.   He said, “I come from a farming background and have always been in and around tractors helping my dad, William, on the dairy farm, cleaning out the cow shed and all the usual chores, so the Land Based Engineering Apprenticeship seemed the obvious choice for me.

He added, “I love the variety of the job as one day I could be in the workshop and the next day out in a job in Enniskillen or down south.   It’s the perfect role for me as I like working with my hands and am best suited to practical work. 

Speaking about College he said, “College is very different from school, and I come in one day a week as part of my apprenticeship.   The tutors are great, and you are learning something new every day and get to hear what the other apprentices are working on, so we also learn from each other.

Speaking about future plans, Shea concluded, “Right now I am focussed on completing my Level 3 Apprenticeship and building up my experience.  At some stage, I might like to do some travel.   I’ve heard about previous students from SERC who have gone off to travel and work in Canada, the United States or Australia, so I know the apprenticeship skills and qualifications are internationally recognised and valued.   I would recommend the apprenticeship route to anyone who likes practical work and variety.”

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