Northern Regional College apprentice Abigail Reilly (21) from Ballymoney was the top plumbing apprentice at the College’s annual intercampus competition hosted by the College in partnership with SkillbuildNI.
Organised locally by CITB NI, SkillbuildNI is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for young students and apprentices and the first step on a journey that could led to the world finals.
The category winners in the skills areas of Plumbing, Electrical Installation, Brickwork, Joinery and Carpentry progress to next month’s Northern Ireland regional finals. Regional winners go forward to represent Northern Ireland at Skills Show UK later this year to be in with a chance of securing a coveted place at the WorldSkills finals in Russia.
Abigail, whose father David works an a fabricator, is apprenticed to national mechanical, electrical and specialist contractor, Dowd’s Group. A student at the College’s Trostan Ave campus in Ballymena, she was the only female apprentice across all disciplines to take part in the intercampus skills competition.
Plumbing lecturer, James McKeefry, said he hoped that Abigail’s success would inspire other young women.
“On behalf of the Plumbing team, I’d like to congratulate Abigail on winning first place in the intercampus Skillbuild competition. We are all very proud of what she has achieved. Her commitment to her studies and hard work whilst practising in the workshop is a motivation to her fellow students.”
He continued: “Abigail set the bar very high with a flawless judges’ score on her Skillbuild assessment. This achievement should be an inspiration to females who wish to enter into this male dominated industry and there are many opportunities for young women in this Technical profession. An Apprenticeship in Plumbing can lead to many career opportunities, past students have progressed onto Mechanical Estimating, Contracts Management, Degree courses, Lecturing and starting up their own Plumbing business, just to name a few.“
Gerry Catherwood, site supervisor at the multi-million pound redevelopment project at Altnagelvin Hospital North Wing, said he was delighted but not surprised at Abigail’s success.
“Abigail is an exceptional apprentice. She is very capable and not afraid of hard work and we wish her every success in the regional finals.”