05 Jul 2022

Dundalk student scoops national award in 2022 Generation Apprenticeship competition

O’Fiaich College student Sophie Maguire wins prize for innovative build entry

Dundalk student scoops national award in 2022 Generation Apprenticeship competition

Sophie Maguire, O’Fiaich College, Dundalk

Sophie Maguire of O’Fiaich College in Dundalk has been announced as one of the prizewinners for her innovative build entry in the 2022 Generation Apprenticeship competition. The National Apprenticeship Office have announced the winners of an exciting youth-led competition, which highlights creativity, sustainability and innovation as part of a Generation Apprenticeship secondary schools competition.

Organised by the National Apprenticeship Office, and supported by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD, this year’s contest invited learners to explore the opportunities that exist through apprenticeship and how they can combine future careers with their commitment to green values and sustainable futures.

Sophie Maguire of O’Fiaich College, was selected by a panel of industry experts to receive a €500 runner up cash prize in the coveted ‘build’ category. Her work will feature in an outdoor poster and advertising campaign later this year promoting 65 apprenticeship opportunities now available.

Sophie Maguire, recipient of the runner-up prize said:

“I am delighted to secure runner-up in a national competition. The core message I wanted to communicate is tackling climate change and promoting gender equality. To create my letter A I used materials destined for landfill which I retrieved from a building site near my school. I also found waste material in many of my classrooms.

"I hope Generation Apprenticeship will help more girls like me achieve success in what is still seen by many as jobs for the boys! I included ladders on my sculpture to show that progress is being made and to promote the gender bursary which employers can avail of. I hope to see more women ‘Breaking the Glass ceiling’ in carpentry, the career I wish to pursue.”

Dr Mary-Liz Trant, Director National Apprenticeship Office said:

“Huge congratulations and thanks to all the teams who entered the competition and to the judges for their invaluable support. The commitment of students, teachers and tutors provides optimism and a sense of a brighter future. Together they bring fresh ideas, creativity, passion and an exceptional understanding of the role played by apprenticeship industries in Ireland. Apprenticeship is expanding and we are creating a single, deeply integrated, and collaborative apprenticeship system that fits businesses of all sizes and careers of all types.”

Paul Cremmins, Competition Judge and Director in Suir Engineering, said:

“Through this competition we see learners discovering the opportunities that exist through apprenticeship and how they can combine future careers with their commitment to green values and sustainable futures. Many congratulations to the winners. Their ideas can shape and lead new thinking as we move forward and continue to create positive impacts on the environment, society and the economy.”

Morgan Sheehy, Director in Roadbridge Construction and Competition Judge said:

“Well done to the winners. They showcase a wonderful mix of creativity and innovation. Apprenticeships provide opportunities for everyone and they are now on the radar of all 21st century industries. Young people are responding because they understand that apprenticeship enriches people’s lives and has an important role in tackling the causes and effects of climate change.”

Ciaran Gormley, Planning and Design Director in Bennett Construction Ltd and a judge in this year’s competition said:

“I want to congratulate all of the winners. They have pursued their goals, experimented and turned waste materials into new ways of promoting the progress and possibilities of apprenticeship in Ireland. And most importantly, their ideas are a positive sounding board for industry and wider society.”

The Generation Apprenticeship secondary schools competition is part of a broader, ongoing range of developments in the Apprenticeship space in 2022 – including the recent launch of a Gender Bursary  grant to drive equality in the workplace, and the recent launch of new consortia-led apprenticeship programmes in careers as diverse as healthcare assistant, and bar manager.

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