Plumber apprentice Abigail takes the gold

Abigail Reilly with Sarah Travers (left), MC of the Skillbuild NI competition, and Barry Nielson (right) Chief Executive of Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland
Abigail Reilly with Sarah Travers (left), MC of the Skillbuild NI competition, and Barry Nielson (right) Chief Executive of Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland

Ballymoney plumbing apprentice Abigail Reilly, a student at Northern Regional College has become the only female student to win a gold medal at the annual Skillbuild NI competition.

Abigail was one of only two females to take part in the competition, which sees apprentices from all over Northern Ireland pitting their skills against each other across different trade areas, including plumbing, carpentry, joinery, electrical installation and brickwork.

To qualify for the final, competitors first had to make it through the Skillbuild Intercampus competition and then score sufficient marks in comparison with all other College intercampus competitions throughout Northern Ireland.

Now in the second year of her plumbing apprenticeship at the College’s Ballymena campus, gold-medallist Abigail is employed by the Dowds Group, and has worked on major projects such as the multi-million pound redevelopment of Altnagelvin Hospital.

This year marks the second competition success for Abigail in as many years as an apprentice, having won bronze at last year’s competition.

Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive at NRC, said: “Abigail is a fantastic role model and I hope that her success will encourage other young women to consider non-traditional career paths like apprenticeships.

“Competitions like Skillbuild are a great way to showcase the talent and technical skills of our apprentices and also to demonstrate to employers the high standard of provision which exists in our College. This connection with industry is important and we work closely with businesses to ensure our provision is relevant and reflects the industry needs and standards.”