Skills Northern Ireland takes place on 20 and 21 November 2019. At this year’s event the Department for the Economy will be celebrating their recently launched NI Apprenticeship Awards for 2020 by hosting an “Apprenticeship Hall of Fame”, featuring apprentices from Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, Shu, Fujitsu, Arup and Norbrook.
Tammy Whelan, who is currently an apprentice working at Arup in Belfast and won the Apprentice of the Year award in 2018, will be on the stand on Thursday 21 November talking about her apprenticeship. Read on for a quick Q&A with her about her experience.
What first encouraged you to do an apprenticeship?
I decided on an apprenticeship as I always wanted to have a career in engineering, however having children and bills to pay I felt full-time education was not an option. By completing an apprenticeship I can earn while I learn and support my family financially.
Could you tell us about your apprenticeship experience? What did it involve?
I have had an incredible apprenticeship experience. The opportunities within Arup (my employer) are endless, I have been fortunate enough to work on some high profile infrastructure projects both locally and UK-wide. I attend college one day a week and I’m in the workplace the other four days. The education aspect of the apprenticeship is very relevant to my day-to-day job which makes the learning process easier. I have 100% support from my employer in all aspects of my work and I have a mentor to guide me through me my professional development and to reach my career goals.
What key bits of advice would you give a young person today who is starting their career?
My advice would be:
- Go after what YOU want and listen to your gut instinct. If it doesn’t feel right it probably isn’t.
- Be driven and determined in everything you do, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
- Network – get to know people in the industry and make contacts and push for good work experience.
Why would you encourage young people to visit events like Skills Northern Ireland?
These events are excellent opportunities to really see what is out there and explore various career pathways. It gives you the opportunity to speak to people already in the industry you want to be a part of and make connections.
If you’d like to speak to Tammy or any of the other apprentices at the event please register for a FREE visit: skillsni2019.eventbrite.co.uk