Business Community Constituency Education Newry Newry and Armagh

The BIG Apprenticeship Event – A Roaring Success

February has seen the return of The BIG Apprenticeship Event at Southern Regional College.  The College hosted an Apprenticeship and Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) open evening at Newry West campus on Tuesday evening. 

Crowds flocked to the event with over 600 people, made up of prospective students and parents attending.  Attendees got the opportunity to hear about available career opportunities with local employers and the College’s many apprenticeship and HLA programmes. 

An initiative of The Department for the Economy, The BIG Apprenticeship event is not just big in name, but big in content.  Throughout the event attendees were able to hear from current and past apprenticeship students, through drop in ‘My HLA/Apprenticeship Journey’- sessions.  This allowed attendees to question current apprentices in detail on their thoughts of apprenticeship routes and courses. 

The College career guidance team were available to speak with and guide attendees through the many career routes available.  For those who had a clear career route in mind, campus staff were available to help with course applications.

One of the main focuses of the event was to enable attendees to meet with potential future employers.  Over 46 employing businesses and exhibitors were at event including First Derivative, Re-Gen Waste and Shelbourne Motors covering a range of sectors from accountancy, beauty therapy, construction, engineering, hairdressing, and transport to science.

Speaking on the night, Jill Cowan, Head of HR at Alternative Heat commented:

We really see Apprentices as our future, there is real skills gap in the market, and we need to be ready to address that.  Apprentices are ready to go with great qualifications and the right work experience.

Brian Doran, Principal & CEO of Southern Regional College commented:

We were delighted to see over 600 young people and their families attend our recent Big Apprenticeship Event at Newry campus.  These events are important in showcasing the breadth and depth of apprenticeship training opportunities offered at Southern Regional College from level 2 right through to Degree level.  

Apprenticeships are an exciting option for people young and older, as they gain practical hands-on training while also having the chance to put their skills into practice in the workplace. The Apprenticeship pathway allows people to earn whilst learning at College and in the case of higher level apprenticeships, participants can obtain degree level qualifications without the level of student debt synonymous with full time higher education.

The College partners with over 700 local businesses in offering Apprenticeship opportunities across a wide spectrum of areas from construction, software development to life science and digital communication. Apprenticeships are co-designed with business and industry thus ensuring that the knowledge and skills that are at the core of every apprenticeship are both up to date and relevant. 

Apprenticeships are increasingly being used by employers, both large and small, as part of their development planning to harness new talent and thus create a loyal and motivated workforce. Our Big Apprenticeship Event is supported and sponsored by Mourne & Down District Council and saw over 46 local employers in attendance to provide information on apprenticeship vacancies within their businesses.

Commented on the event, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson and Councillor Michael Savage commented:

“Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, through the Labour Market Partnership were delighted to sponsor the SRC Big Apprenticeship Event, which has proved to be fantastic in providing potential apprentices with distinctive career pathways. Given the interest, attendance and buzz, it is clear that apprentices have a great deal to offer our local business community and similarly our employers can offer apprentices a fantastic opportunity in a range of sectors such as engineering, construction, tourism, digital, accountancy, science and sports. Apprenticeship Week has highlighted the fulfilling and rewarding routes available to secure your ideal job.”

To find out more information or make your application, see:



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