CARRICKFERGUS based project management and bespoke joinery company, McCue, has been commended for its investment in skills in the workplace during Apprenticeship Week. The Economy Minster, Gordon Lyons MLA, whilst visiting McCue, saw first-hand the skills and craftsmanship that McCue has developed through its apprenticeship programme.
The company, which delivers high quality projects throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe, has placed a keen focus on developing apprenticeships for over 20 years, in partnership with the Northern Regional College.
It currently employs 18 apprentices – all of whom are studying NVQ Carpentry and Joinery at the college. As part of the apprenticeship programme, students undertake on-the-job training with the company’s highly skilled craftsmen, as well as studying part time, which culminates in a recognised qualification.
During the visit to McCue’s 5,500m2 production facility on Tuesday, the Economy Minister met with staff and apprentices from the company, and was given a tour of the facility, where he saw the contribution that apprentices provide to the company.
Speaking during the visit, the Economy Minister said, “As part of my 10X Economy vision, we are focusing on developing a flexible skills system for the next decade, and in order to realise this ambition, we are focusing on innovation in areas where we have real strengths.
“We have an exuberant manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland, which is showcased globally, and it is thanks to companies like McCue, that the industry is so strong. Getting first-hand experience will help apprentices develop the key skills that are required within the manufacturing environment, which can only strengthen our economy further.
“I am delighted to see that McCue, a company established some 68 years ago, is a thriving and successful business and that its apprenticeship programme is making a real difference and impacting not just the future of apprentices, but the business.”
Managing Director of McCue, Gary Purdy, who began his career as an apprentice with the company said, “It is a privilege to welcome the Economy Minister to our facility today to see the positive impact apprentices are having on our business.
“Apprentices are integral to strategic growth and thus success at McCue – accounting for almost 20% of our workforce. As we have begun our recovery following the pandemic, and workflow is increasing, it is imperative that we maintain the volume of apprentice joiners required to fulfil customer demand. Some of our most talented joiners joined the company as apprentices and have gone on to work on some of our outstanding and award-winning projects.”
Patrick Wallace, Principal Lecturer at Northern Regional College, who attended the visit said, “Apprenticeships are hugely important to help develop the skills and knowledge required for the future generation of workers in Northern Ireland. The first-hand experience and training our apprentices receive at McCue, coupled with their two days a week at the college, provides them with a great footing and enables them carve out a successful career.”
Apprenticeship week is an annual, week-long celebration led by the Department for the Economy, which aims to highlight the important role played by apprenticeships across Northern Ireland. The theme of this year’s event is “Transform their future with an apprenticeship.”