The first female electrical apprentice to graduate from Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB), and a World Skills Winner, were among 119 apprentices from Kilkenny and Carlow who graduated this week at a special ceremony at SETU Sports Arena in Waterford.
The National Apprenticeship Awards 2023 for the south-east region saw Fiona Manning from Johnswell, Co. Kilkenny become the first female electrical apprentice to graduate from KCETB after four years of study. She is now working with the ESB, based in Kilkenny.
Fellow graduate Craig Nolan, from Carlow Town, graduated as a metal fabricator and is working with Thompson’s Engineering in Carlow. In recognition of his exceptional skills, Craig also received the World Skills Award for Metal Fabrication.
Fiona and Craig were amongst 119 other KCETB apprentices at the ceremony who marked the completion of 19 different apprenticeships from five industry sectors: engineering; electrical; motor; construction; hospitality and food. They were presented with their awards by KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis and Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr Joe Conway.
The National Apprenticeship Awards recognise the achievements of apprentices who have completed four years of study and are now driving new career standards of leadership, teamwork, creativity and problem-solving in their sectors.
KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis spoke at the event about the expansion of apprenticeship opportunities in Ireland. “With over 72 apprentice programme options now available through KCETB, and more in the pipeline, apprenticeships are now firmly on the map as a choice for school leavers and older learners, people of all ages and backgrounds across Kilkenny and Carlow. The feedback we receive from employers on the quality and talent of the apprentices they recruit is outstanding. We are delighted to see an acceleration in the number of employers using apprenticeship as a talent pipeline in Kilkenny and Carlow, and indeed all around the country”, she commented.
“This is a special day for the apprentices and their families and an important milestone in their skills training and development. These graduates are the next generation of skilled crafts men and women whose skills are so much in demand nationwide and who will contribute to the economic growth of our country in the years ahead. Strong apprenticeship growth is key to the development of our region and our economy”, added Eileen Curtis.
KCETB Director of Further education and Training Martha Bolger said KCETB will expand its apprenticeship offering over the coming months and that the new Kilkenny College of Further Education and Training will provide state-of-the-art facilities for apprenticeship training.
“We are looking forward to dedicated new apprenticeship training facilities when the new Kilkenny College of FET opens. In the interim, we are expanding the training spaces for Electrical Phase 2 Apprenticeships and will be able to offer additional training spaces from late 2024”, she commented.
Main image caption: KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis with Fiona Manning from Johnswell, Co. Kilkenny who become the first female electrical apprentice to graduate from KCETB after four years of study.