Eric Fletcher works with Clarke Machinery Limited as an agricultural mechanics apprentice based in New Inn, Ballyjamesduff.

Local trainees in line for ‘Apprentice of the Year’

Two local apprentices have been nominated for a 2023 ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. They spoke about their respective career paths while attending ‘The Heroes Stage’ at WorldSkills Ireland at Dublin's RDS.

Cavan-based apprentice Eric Fletcher and Emmyvale Monaghan’s Emma McAree and 49 of their fellow nominees spoke ahead of the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ ceremony, which takes place in Dublin’s Mansion House on October 19.

Eric works with Clarke Machinery Limited as an agricultural mechanics apprentice based in New Inn, Ballyjamesduff. Now in his fourth year of his apprenticeship, he says: “From a young age, I was reared around tools. My father was an electrician, my grandfather a mechanic. Today the laptop is a key tool and technology is central to everything I do as an apprentice. We travel to England every year for four days training on the latest machinery. I tried the purely academic route and it wasn't for me but the apprenticeship has pointed me in the right direction.”

There is an apprenticeship out there to suit all types of skills, interests and abilities, with several members of Eric’s family also choosing the apprenticeship route. “My two younger brothers are also taking the apprenticeship route,” Eric reveals.

“One is serving his time as an aircraft mechanic and my youngest brother is going into carpentry. He continues: “I recommend any young person, if they have a passion for something, to consider the apprenticeship route. If you enjoy what you do, you don't work a day in your life. Push yourself and do what you love.”

Emma meanwhile is an electrical apprentice at Tirlan, formerly Glanbia.

She is in phase four of her apprenticeship and described how much she loves her training and her job: “As an electrician, I work on reactive and preventive maintenance and it's a great job.”

Commenting on her future goals, Emma says. “I love the opportunities my apprenticeship has brought me. I hope to go on to do the engineering degree and continue building my career.”

The National Apprenticeship Office hosts the 2023 ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards on Thursday, October 19, when 500 apprentices, and their families, friends and employers will gather to celebrate top apprentice talent and skills across Ireland.