Business news

The power of apprentices in Mid and East Antrim showcased at event in Ballymena

Posted By:
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

6th Feb 2024

Mid and East Antrim’s Manufacturing Task Force (MTF) and Labour Market Partnership have celebrated NI Apprenticeship Week 2024 with an event highlighting the power of apprenticeships to the local economy.

Hosted by Ballymena-based engineering company, GES Group, the event brought together local manufacturing businesses and key partners – including Northern Regional College and the Department for the Economy.

Aimed at highlighting the importance of apprenticeship career paths to the local economy, it showcased the large number of apprenticeship opportunities available across the Borough with MTF companies.

Roles available include joinery, engineering, supply chain and logistics, electrical installation and butchery alongside business disciplines including sales, marketing, finance and HR – which are suitable for candidates from GCSE to ‘A’ Level equivalent and degree level.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, highlighted the importance of apprenticeships both for individuals and businesses within Mid and East Antrim. She said:

“I am delighted to attend this great event. Apprentices are vitally important to all industries and this week is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the many opportunities available across MEA.

“NI Apprenticeship Week has developed into a far-reaching campaign that brings together key stakeholders involved in the development and delivery of apprenticeships to help raise their profile across NI. It also celebrates the many successes of those who have taken part in training apprentices regionally and at a local level.

“This important initiative allows apprentices to get a valuable insight into their chosen sector and gain key skills – all while receiving a steady income along the way. Meanwhile, businesses across the Borough have a chance to expand their workforce with talented apprentices who are eager to learn and contribute in a positive way to their business. I would encourage anyone in Mid and East Antrim with an interest to get involved.”

Businesses attending the event heard from Maeve Cunning, GES Group HR Manager, who along with company colleagues shared information on the group’s apprenticeship programme, provided an overview of the company’s successful apprenticeship model and the vital role they play in helping their business develop and grow.

Maeve said: “Our Trainee Apprenticeship programme has a proven track record of attracting the best of the best, enabling us to welcome top-notch talent into our organisation and retaining them as engineers. By choosing the apprentice pathway, you’ll be given the opportunity for a life-changing experience, where you’ll gain valuable skills and knowledge that will set you up for a fulfilling and rewarding career.”

Michael Harris, Apprenticeships Development and Marketing, Department for the Economy, added: “Apprenticeships are critical to developing inclusive economic growth, at both a local and Northern Ireland level.  They offer employers access to fresh talent as apprentices gain the real-world skills and qualifications needed to help the business grow – especially within the manufacturing, construction, agri-food and engineering sectors – all of which are key sectors of focus in Mid and East Antrim.

“Today’s initiative by the MTF and Mid and East Antrim Borough Council underpins the importance that skills have to play in growing and developing the local economy.”

Sean McAleese, Work Based Learning Manager at Northern Regional College which has two campuses in Mid and East Antrim, explained how the college works with businesses across the Borough to deliver specific training programmes for their business to ensure a sustained pool of talent and skills.

He said: “The value of undertaking an apprenticeship programme cannot be understated. We often work alongside organisations who have a particular training need, then design a bespoke apprentice-training programme to deliver a wide range of relevant theoretical and practical skills.

“Programmes like these also introduce students to continuous improvement, problem solving techniques and standard operational procedures in the workplace.”

To register your interest or find out more about the exciting apprenticeship opportunities available in the Borough email: