As part of Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week (26 – 30 April) #NIAW2021, CITB NI will be running and taking part in a range of virtual activities aimed at encouraging the construction industry to support and develop more opportunities for apprentices, as well as guiding apprentices to the opportunities available in the sector.
Key activities include: participation in Apprenticeships – a new world of opportunity, an online event delivered in partnership with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council and Unite the Union which will discuss apprenticeships, the routes and opportunities; A CITB NI Women in Construction Network and Chartered Institute Of Building (CIOB) careers event for young women interested in finding out more about a career in construction; promoting a series of online video case studies entitled ‘Where will it take me’ showcasing a range of apprentices and their various career journeys plus the launch of a redesigned careers portal which will provide help, support and guidance on construction careers for students, parents, careers advisors and employers. (www.citbni.org.uk/careers.aspx)
Offering apprenticeships gives businesses the chance to play an active role in creating their future workforce and developing the future skills they need to help their business grow. Employers and business professionals can reap a range of business benefits and having a motivated and loyal workforce can help prepare for future challenges.
CITB NI can provide employers with a wealth of advice including access to support networks for funding available including the Apprentice Recovery Package, which has been extended by Department of Economy until March 2022, guidance on apprenticeship qualifications, recruitment, retention and training.
Supporting Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2021, Chief Executive of CITB NI Barry Neilson said: “CITB NI is delighted to support the Department of Economy’s Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2021 and we also very much welcome the Department’s extension to the Apprenticeship Recovery Funding package until March 2022. The construction industry needs apprentices to help the industry develop and grow. Offering apprenticeships gives businesses the chance to play an active role in shaping their future workforce and creating the future skills that they need to help their businesses develop. Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week is an essential platform that enables us to share apprenticeship success stories, encourage construction employers to place an apprenticeship, and provide apprentices with all the necessary career advice and guidance via our redesigned careers portal.”
Apprenticeship Case Study
Ryan Donnelly is a first year Digital Construction Apprentice with CITB NI registered employer Heron Bros – an award-winning construction and property development company, which operates throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Ryan always had a keen interest in construction after studying it to GCSE level and progressing to BTEC. He achieved excellent grades and felt a career in construction was the path for him. Every day is different in Ryan’s role but a typical day involves supporting the Design Managers in the delivery of digital information for all projects. This includes using gaming technology, virtual reality and augmented reality technologies through a process called Building Information Modelling (BIM).
Speaking about his role Ryan said, “The best part of my job for me is that no two days are the same. I am faced daily with different challenges that are always enjoyable. I feel like every day I am learning new things and gaining experience, and that is why I chose the apprenticeship route, as I wanted to learn and work at the same time.
“There is no real bad aspect of my job except with the current situation with Covid-19 I have had to work from home a lot. This means I have had to try and solve problems on my own first before reaching out to my mentor. However, this independent working has helped me mature very quickly and become a valued dependable team member.”
Ryan’s advice for someone interested in becoming a Digital Construction Apprentice is that you need to enjoy using creative computer systems, be able to apply attention to detail, concentration and organisation. You also need to be someone who is a team player and likes helping people with digital queries and to use the software to their advantage.
For details of CITB NI’s programme of activities as part of Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2021 including videos, information and career guidance for apprentices and employers visit www.citbni.org.uk. Follow CITB NI on Facebook CITBNorthernIreland, Twitter @citbni, LinkedIn citb-ni and Instagram @citbni