Belfast Telegraph

50 Jobs in 50 Days: McAuley Engineering pledges four new apprenticeships

More than 50 apprentices have already benefitted from our campaign. Dr Jonathan Heggarty (left) of Belfast Met with apprentices Niamh Donegan and James Reynolds

By Lesley Houston

Co Antrim sheet metal manufacturer McAuley Engineering has offered four apprenticeships as part of the Belfast Telegraph's campaign to help create 60 jobs in 50 days.

The Ballymoney-based firm is taking on four young people this year who will receive industry standard training at the Northern Regional College (NRC) in Ballymena.

The quartet will follow in the footsteps of three Ballymena High School pupils already engaged in the company's apprenticeship scheme.

Managing director Jonathan McAuley has applauded the Belfast Telegraph's campaign for jobs and apprenticeships.

"These apprenticeships have found a new place in industry and we congratulate Belfast Telegraph for helping to make them more visible and attractive to young people who might not otherwise know about them or be aware of their value to their future careers," he said.

Mr McAuley also praised Northern Regional College's commitment to quality training and education.

"NRC delivers a quality training course and has the facilities and resources at its Farm Lodge campus to train apprentices to the exacting standards McAuley Engineering requires."

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"Apprenticeships are a vital part of industrial activity, maintaining the highest standards and creating new generations of experts and trades who will bring new thinking to the manufacturing sector," he added.

The three students from Ballymoney High School include Adam Jones, a first year apprentice at Level 2, Joel Heggarty and Jordan McCaw who started level 3 in April 2013 and are undertaking a level 3 NVQ Diploma in Engineering Maintenance and a Technical Certificate Level 3 Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering.

NRC spokesperson Dr Brian Hill said: "NRC has a long track record of close partnerships with industry.

"We collaborate with business on a wide-ranging front including the provision of training for employees at the workplace, consultations with our lecturers on manufacturing processes and the creation of courses particularly tailored in response to industry needs."

Meanwhile, in England and Wales, plans for companies to pay training costs for apprentices upfront have been condemned by the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA), which said the plans would impact on cash flow, putting apprenticeships "out of reach" for many small to medium companies.

How to get involved

Over the last number of weeks, this newspaper has been encouraging companies of all sizes in Northern Ireland to take on apprentices as a means of investing in the future of the youth, while helping hone the skills businesses need to thrive in the future. The Belfast Telegraph has been working with companies, colleges and the Department for Employment and Learning to create 60 apprenticeships in 50 days - a target it will reach by May 1.

1 If you are an employer who would like to take on an apprentice as part of our campaign, please let us know by emailing

2 You can also contact the Department for Employment and Learning to find out about the apprenticeship system in Northern Ireland, on 0800 028 4161. You can also visit

3 You can find your apprentice by advertising in the usual way through the press or job centres or by going to a training supplier, which will have details of young people looking for apprenticeships.

4 The Department for Employment and Learning will fund the costs of the ‘off-the-job’ training in all apprentice frameworks for the under-25s.

Those who are over 25 will have 50% of their training paid for - but only if they are training in one of a defined list of economically important sectors, which includes the food and drink industry, IT companies and creative and digital media operations.

5 An incentive payment is also offered to employers of apprentices who successfully complete the programme of between £250 and £1,500.

Belfast Telegraph