The head of Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK Ltd has praised his team of apprentices, recognising the important role that they play in sustaining the company’s pipeline of talent.

The Carrickfergus-based firm has been working in collaboration with Northern Regional College for over a decade to deliver their apprenticeship programme which sees participants working at Ryobi whilst also receiving training from the Further Education College.

David Watson, Managing Director of Ryobi Aluminium Casting UK Ltd, said:

“Apprentices are the bloodline of the talent in Ryobi. We have worked in partnership with Northern Regional College to deliver this programme to ensure it is as strong as possible and both parties have invested heavily in the programme over the years.

“I am extremely proud of the programme and the apprentices that have come through it thus far. Apprentices are the future of our business and, thanks to the excellent training they receive, it will be safe in their hands.”

His comments come as they were nominated for the Large Employer Award at the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards.

Presented during NI Apprenticeship Week – a showcase of apprenticeship training opportunities that highlights how apprenticeships can be a productive way grow talent to help businesses grow and support the wider economy – the Large Employer Award acknowledges excellence and originality between the training provider and the employer in the delivery of apprenticeship training.

Northern Regional College works with a number of businesses across the region to deliver specific training programmes for their business to ensure a sustained pool of talent and skills.

Professor Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College, outlined the importance of the College’s relationship with Ryobi.

“Since establishing a partnership 12 years ago, Ryobi has consistently employed apprentices who are all given the opportunity to avail of either a HNC or a Foundation Degree as part of their apprenticeship programme.

“The quality of apprentices who come through the programme is a reflection of the commitment of Ryobi to developing the skills of its people, which in turn contributes to not just its success, but that of the wider economy,” she said.

Northern Regional College Principal Lecturer for Traineeships, Patrick Wallace, explained that the College had worked closely with Ryobi to identify the company’s training requirements.

“Having identified Ryobi’s training needs, we designed a bespoke apprentice training programme to deliver a wide range of relevant theoretical and practical skills in CNC, manufacturing and maintenance. The programme also introduces students to continuous improvement, problem solving techniques and standard operation procedures in the workplace.

“During the pandemic, Ryobi was able to recruit another six apprentices, in addition to the four recruited the previous year. This innovative partnership allowed us to forge strong links with the company and we have tailored other training programmes to upskill and cross-skill Ryobi employees in electrical and mechanical maintenance,” he said.

Commenting on the importance of apprenticeships to the wider economy during Apprenticeship Week, Diane Dodds, Minister for the Economy, said they “provide employers with the skilled workforce they need to be competitive and grow their business.”

Continuing, the Minister said: “Apprenticeships will also be a key component of the economic recovery as we seek to build the local skills base. That is why I am continuing to invest in making apprenticeships easier for employers to offer, and for people to access.”

Northern Regional College has worked closely with Ryobi on several external projects, such as Mid and East Antrim’s Manufacturing Task Force.

The other Large Employer Award 2021 finalists were Allen & Overy in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College and Kainos Group plc in partnership with Ulster University.


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