'Hard-working' Gavin is named Apprentice of the Year
A hard-working young member of staff at an electrical panel firm in Londonderry has been named Apprentice of the Year in a ceremony held by the Department for Employment and Learning.
Gavin Boyle, who is 19, was given the award by Employment Minister Stephen Farry at the ceremony in the Belfast.
The system for apprenticeships in Northern Ireland is being overhauled in a bid to make them a more attractive path for school-leavers and even graduates.
Gavin, an electrical installation apprentice employed by Electrical Control Panel Specialist, was praised for his resourcefulness and creativity in the workplace. He is studying at North West Regional College as part of his apprenticeship.
His employer designs, manufactures and tests electrical control panels and switchgear for a range of sectors, from manufacturing to power generation.
Mr Farry said: "The talent on show here is testament to the high level of skills and aptitude that exists in Northern Ireland.
"I congratulate Gavin, our Apprentice of the Year, and all the other finalists here today on their achievements and wish them continued success in their chosen careers.
"Gavin is an excellent example of how an apprentice can form an integral part of a company."
He said the new higher level apprenticeships - introduced as part of the overhaul of the apprenticeships system - offered a major opportunity to transform skills.
There are around 130 apprentices taking part in higher-level apprenticeship pilots in 46 companies in jobs from IT to accountancy and pharmaceuticals.
Michael Doherty, managing director of ECPS, said: "Gavin is a hard-working, self-starter who understands what has to be done and does it quickly and effectively. Resourceful, creative and solution-orientated, he executes his work in a safe and conscientious manner."