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Mayor’s reception celebrates local apprentices’ success


The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has held a special reception to celebrate the outstanding success of three Northern Regional College apprentices. Carpentry apprentices Samuel Gilmore from Aghadowey and Patrick McCloskey from Garvagh along with plumbing apprentice Abigail Reilly from Ballymoney were special guests at the event held in Cloonavin which was also attended by their lecturers, family members and employers.

Samuel, a former Northern Ireland Young Apprentice of the Year and gold medallist at WorldSkills UK, was crowned Best Apprentice at the European Alliance for Apprenticeship Awards in Finland in October. He also represented the College on a trip to South Africa to learn more about the work of apprentices there. Patrick and Abigail won their respective heats of the regional WorldSkills UK and were among nine College students to qualify for the live finals in Birmingham. 


The Mayor, Councillor Sean Bateson said: “Samuel, Patrick and Abigail have shown they are among the very best in their respective fields, and I would like to offer my warmest congratulations on their significant achievements. Their apprenticeships have allowed them to develop their skills and understanding in the classroom and in the workplace, where they can put their learning to practical use. My thanks go to our local employers and the NRC staff for collaborating to ensure that these important employment opportunities exist for our young people.”


Northern Regional College Vice Principal and Operating Officer Mel Higgins said the apprentices and their tutors were outstanding ambassadors for the College.


“These three apprentices are shining examples of the skills and talent inherent in our students. The success they have enjoyed is very well deserved and it is a reflection of their hard work, commitment and determination to succeed.” 


He also acknowledged how the College staff had contributed to the students’ success by supporting them and helping to nurture their natural talent.


Northern Regional College offers a range of work based programmes that provide young people with real life work experiences in vocational areas, as well as equipping them with the academic and technical skills needed to improve their employment opportunities.


As an apprentice, the students spend one day in college and four days with their employer. Samuel is currently employed by Mark Pollock Joinery in Kilrea; Patrick works for Dan Mullan, Glenullin while Abigail is an employee of the Ballymoney-based Dowds Group.