SRC’s BIG Apprenticeship Event 2024 inspires potential learners

Posted By:
Southern Regional College

19th Feb 2024

With January resolutions hopefully not forgotten, February has seen individuals being presented with fresh hopes and prospects at Southern Regional College’s Big Apprenticeship Event.  Held at the College’s Newry West campus on the 6 February, the event saw over 900 people attend the Newry campus.  Showcasing the various apprenticeship and higher level apprenticeship courses now available for September 2024 entry, the event gave attendees a chance to explore career aspirations and goals with over 40 employers in attendance.

The event was held in partnership with Newry, Mourne and Down Labour Market Partnership.  Funded by the Department for Communities, Labour Market Partnerships create targeted employment action plans for council areas, allowing for collaboration at local and regional level to support people towards and into work.

Higher Level Apprenticeships offer students the opportunity to earn a wage whilst learning, with no tuition fees being payable as fees are sponsored by the Department for the Economy, saving applicants thousands.  This offers students the opportunity to learn in their chosen career path, gaining a foundation degree or honours degree without being faced with hefty loans.  Additionally, applicants will gain a competitive advantage over university peers as they work in their chosen occupation four days week whilst studying at College one day a week to learn all the technical know-how.

Visiting the Big Apprenticeship Event were twins Doroteja and Gabriele Kurlianskaite from Tandragree who are business and engineering students.  Commenting on why she was considering an apprenticeship, Doroteja said: “I’m looking for future employers finding out about progression opportunities”.

Also visiting on the night was Tiernan Mullan with mum Sonya.  Tiernan will be undertaking his GCSE’s this summer and is searching for apprenticeship opportunities in engineering.

Local Newry business Resonate Testing Limited was in attendance, hoping to recruit two higher level apprenticeships in mechatronics to drive business forward. Speaking on the night, Operations Manager Orla O’Donnell commented:

“The reason why Resonate Testing are here this evening is because we currently have four level 5 Higher Level Apprentices in Mechatronics, two are in their first year and two in their final year.  So, we find the apprentice experience with Reasonate Testing is something that adds great value to both our workforce and also to the individual themselves and we are hoping to expand our workforce and recruit an additional two apprentices in mechatronics.”

Also attending was Hyster-Yale HR business partner Stephen Morrison alongside colleague Judith Gibson.  Stephen commented:

“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for students to learn on the job and we find there are amazing opportunities for them when they come in as apprentices.  In Hyster-Yale we are very pleased to provide those opportunities and help develop students’ potential.”

MTM Engineering Group Marketing Manager Michelle Mullan was also in attendance alongside colleagues, hoping to inspire future apprentices to join the business across multiple career fields:

“We are looking for driven school leavers passionate about engineering, quantity surveying, accounting and marketing, particularly within the construction sector. Our higher level apprenticeships this year include roles as a BIM Engineer, Electrical Engineer, Quantity Surveyor, Digital Marketer and Accounting Technician. Ambitious individuals should consider kick-starting their career journey with a higher level apprenticeship as it empowers them to thrive from the outset, blending hands-on experience with academic learning, all while earning a competitive salary.”

Raymond Sloan, Director of Client Services at Southern Regional College commented:

“I am delighted to see the success of The Big Apprenticeship Event this year. The availability of retraining and upskilling opportunities for individuals across all age groups is essential for the economic recovery and social well-being of our region. The Big Apprenticeship Event showcases the diverse and rewarding career paths that apprenticeships can offer and connects learners with employers who are looking for talent and skills. I look forward to welcoming our future Apprentices and Higher Level Apprentices to the College in September.”

 Councillor Valerie Harte, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council further commented:

“How encouraging to see such interest, from both prospective participants and the breadth of local employers from the Newry Mourne and Down District Council area. The palpable energy felt at SRC’s Big Apprenticeship Event, was fantastic. Apprentices for the forth coming year have the opportunity to transform their individual futures, by learning while they earn and also for employers to grow their businesses with fresh ideas, relevant skills, new talent and job creation. Newry, Mourne and Down Labour Market Partnership were pleased to be involved.”

 Applications for Apprenticeships and Higher Level Apprenticeship opportunities can now be made on SRC’s website.  Visit