Belfast Telegraph

Success in the pipeline for young plumber as he wins top accolade

By David Elliot

A young Co Antrim man was last night awarded the inaugural Plumbing and Mechanical Services Apprentice of the Year 2011 title during a glittering ceremony at Belfast City Hall.

Ross Getty (20), from Newtownabbey, is a plumber at Belfast-based company Sharpe Mechanical Services, which was simultaneously awarded the accolade of Employer of the Year 2011.

Around 100 young apprentices and VIP guests from business and industry attended the black tie event, which was co-hosted by BBC presenter Karen Patterson and comedian Tim McGarry.

The awards, organised by Plumbing and Mechanical Services Training (PMST), recognised the achievement of apprentices gaining their NVQ Level 3 qualifications in plumbing and mechanical services.

Derek Poole, PMST chairman, said: "The Apprentice of the Year awards are fitting recognition of the sheer determination of apprentices and their employers in continuing their apprenticeships in the most challenging of times.

"It has been a very difficult period in the construction industry so it's this sort of commitment that is essential to provide the skills which are required to underpin future industrial growth and economic prosperity in Northern Ireland."

Among the VIP guests at the ceremony was new Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Niall O'Donnghaile, who introduced the awards, and Professor Jackie McCoy, director of the Business Institute, University of Ulster, who gave an address which outlined the next steps apprentices could take to further develop their careers.

Winners included: Colin McComb in the Most Consistently High Exam Results category, Jamie Allen for Demonstrating Exceptional Persistence, Ryan Gallagher for Overcoming Economic Adversity, Ross Getty and Jason Clarke were joint winners for Best Attendance, Ciara Walls won the Adult Apprentice Award for Most Consistently High Exam Results, Graham Dillon won the Adult Apprentice Award for Best Attendance and Kyle Moore was the Adult Apprentice Award Category Winner for 2011.