Ballymoney Apprentice Beats NRC Apprentices in SkillbuildNI Heats


Northern Regional College apprentice Abigail Reilly (21) from Ballymoney was the top plumbing apprentice at the College’s annual intercampus competition hosted by the College in partnership with SkillbuildNI. Organised locally by CITB NI, SkillbuildNI is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for young students and apprentices and the first step on a journey that could led to the world finals. The category winners in the skills areas of Plumbing, Electrical Installation, Brickwork, Joinery and Carpentry progress to next month’s Northern Ireland regional finals. Regional winners go forward to represent Northern Ireland at Skills Show UK later this year to be in with a chance of securing a coveted place at the WorldSkills finals in Russia.

Abigail, whose father David works an a fabricator, is apprenticed to national mechanical, electrical and specialist contractor, Dowd’s Group. A student at the College’s Trostan Ave campus in Ballymena, she was the only female apprentice across all disciplines to take part in the intercampus skills competition.

Plumbing lecturer, James McKeefry, said he hoped that Abigail’s success would inspire other young women.
“On behalf of the Plumbing team, I’d like to congratulate Abigail on winning first place in the intercampus Skillbuild competition. We are all very proud of what she has achieved. Her commitment to her studies and hard work whilst practising in the workshop is a motivation to her fellow students.”
He continued: “Abigail set the bar very high with a flawless judges’ score on her Skillbuild assessment. This achievement should be an inspiration to females who wish to enter into this male dominated industry and there are many opportunities for young women in this Technical profession. An Apprenticeship in

Plumbing can lead to many career opportunities, past students have progressed onto Mechanical Estimating, Contracts Management, Degree courses, Lecturing and starting up their own Plumbing business, just to name a few.“ 
Gerry Catherwood, site supervisor at the multi-million pound redevelopment project at Altnagelvin Hospital North Wing, said he was delighted but not surprised at Abigail’s success.
“Abigail is an exceptional apprentice. She is very capable and not afraid of hard work and we wish her every success in the regional finals. 

Speaking at the presentation ceremony, David Cooper, chairman of CITB NI, congratulated all the competitors.
“Taking part in competitions like this is a very important part of your career development and you should all be very proud of what you have achieved so far. This is the first step of an important journey which could take you all the way to the world finals which are held every two years.
“Competitions challenge your ability and while they can be very daunting, if you have the ability and the mental stamina, you should be able to build on what you have achieved here today and go on to do very well.”

Adding his congratulations to the participants, Matt Murray, Head of Engineering and Built Environment at Northern Regional College, said: “We encourage all our students to participate in competitions as it is an excellent way to enhance their skills and knowledge.
“The Intercampus Skillbuild competition contributes to the learners’ experience and improves their confidence, while providing them the opportunity to test their skills against their college peers.”

The category winners of the Skillbuild 2018 were:
Plumbing, 1st Abigail Reilly, Trostan Ave; 2nd John Glasgow, Newtownabbey; 3rd Chandler Douglas, Trostan Ave.
Electrical Installation, 1st Mark Fullerton, Farm Lodge; 2nd, Zak McFarland, Farm Lodge; 3, Morgan Wallace, Newtownabbey.
Brickwork, 1st, Derek McMullan, Farm Lodge; 2nd, Andrew McSorley, Newtownabbey; 3rd, Brandon Grant, Farm Lodge.
Joinery, 1st, Kyle Parry, Coleraine
Carpentry, 1st, Samuel Gilmore, Coleraine; 2nd Patrick McCloskey, Coleraine; 3rd, James Drennan, Magherafelt


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