Belfast Telegraph

Engineering firm aids Belfast Telegraph's 50 Jobs In 50 Days apprentice drive

BY Margaret Canning

A small but strong engineering firm in Co Down has taken on an apprentice in response to the Belfast Telegraph's 50 Jobs In 50 Days campaign.

After attending the launch of the campaign by HRH the Duke of York last week, McGreevy Engineering managing director Ignatius McGreevy said an uplift in the Ballygowan firm's business had prompted it to take on another apprentice.

Robert Mayne from Bangor is being taught the techniques of mechanical engineering with the company at the Maryland Industrial Estate.

He is also receiving off-the-job training at South Eastern Regional College in Bangor.

The 19-year-old will train with the company in a level three apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, learning techniques such as grinding, turning, milling and the use of computer numerical controlled machines for cutting.

Mr McGreevy said: "We are very busy at the present time and we keep bringing in young people to train them and hopefully keep them.

"We always want to keep a good apprentice as it can cost three fortunes to train a good one."

Company training will also cover health and safety, as well as learning about working for its diverse customers.

Overall, business was good so the company was able to make provision for its future.

"We are very, very solvent," he said. "Things are growing really strongly."

And the company has come through the recent economic downturn relatively unscathed. "We cut out the really heavy overtime, and because of that, were able to keep our numbers at between eight and 10. We didn't have to lay anybody off."

It now employs 13 – including two apprentices.

Mr McGreevy said he strongly supported apprenticeships to train the workforce of the future – but acknowledged they had gone out of fashion.

"I blame the mummies and daddies eight or nine years ago because they wanted their sons and daughters to get white-collar jobs and go to university. But they went, and those degrees ended up being worthless.

"But now people are coming back and want to serve their time.

"Mechanical engineering is a good area to be in."

He said he had enjoyed his encounter with Prince Andrew, who has emerged as a vocal champion of apprenticeships.

"He seemed really switched-on and we had a short conversation."

BACKGROUND

The Belfast Telegraph has launched apprenticeships campaign 50 Jobs In 50 Days and wants to hear from companies, big or small, who want to take on apprentices now or pledge to take them on at a later date. The campaign was launched last week by HRH the Duke of York, who said young people wanted to work and should be given a chance to prove themselves.

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