A WRIGHTBUS apprentice from Larne has achieved a level three engineering qualification after completing a training scheme with Apprenticeship NI.
Ryan Kirkpatrick was one of 38 apprentices employed by the Ballymena-based company to be presented with certificates by Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry and Mandy Knowles, HR and welfare director for Wright Group, at an awards ceremony in the Tullyglass Hotel.
The apprentice training is provided through the Wright Group in partnership with Seven Towers Training and supported by the Department for Employment and Learning.
Ryan was one of 22 apprentices to achieve level three certificates in engineering, while a further 15 achieved level two in stores/warehousing and another apprentice gained level two in sustainable waste management.
The Larne man said: “I have found the apprenticeship scheme to be the perfect opportunity for me to work in a professional environment and further my qualifications, whilst being paid.
“There are also great prospects for me to build a fulfilling career. Apprenticeships are an excellent way to learn skills and experience.
“They are also a route into employment which I would recommend everyone to consider.”
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Dr Farry said: “Apprenticeships play a vital role in ensuring that we have a better skilled, modern and dynamic workforce to drive our economy forward.
“In these challenging times, competition for business contracts is even tougher. It is therefore more important than ever that business invests in high quality training that helps individuals develop fulfilling careers, drives competitiveness and fuels economic growth.
“Increasing skills levels, particularly those in science, technology, engineering or maths, is a crucial ingredient in both rebuilding and rebalancing our economy.
“Employers such as Wrightbus who are investing in the skills of their workforce are clearly reaping the positive benefit for the company.”
Mrs Knowles added: “Every apprentice here today should be rightly proud of themselves as they will play a crucial role in creating future products we can take pride in and also gain industry experience. Indeed, a constant strive for new innovations and the skills obtained on our apprenticeship training scheme are the essence of our future leaders.
“Hard work and manufacturing competence demonstrated by those graduating today allow us to continue to manufacture and create products Northern Ireland can take pride in.”