Two graduates of the Manufacturing Academy, funded by The Gallaher Trust with support from the Mid and East Borough Council’s Manufacturing Task Force and Northern Regional College, have branded it a great success.
Established to assist those with an interest in manufacturing to boost their skills and secure employment, Allen McMullin from Cullybackey and Dylan Nixon from Portglenone, completed the programme in January 2022 and are currently embracing their new careers.
Firstly, Allen who is a Quality Control Inspector at Apeer Doors, claims that the programme has taught him a variety of essential skills that has improved his overall employability.
“The Manufacturing Academy has given me experience in a wide range of manufacturing processes, procedures, and equipment. This knowledge and experience have definitely improved my employability within local manufacturing.
“I found the programme, both interesting and informative, and for me, it achieved all the aims it set out in the description, the course was not only funded by Gallaher Trust but there was also a weekly training allowance and travel expenses included.”
Elsewhere, Dylan, who is employed as a ThermaRoll Production Operative with Garage Door Systems, said that the Manufacturing Academy was an opportunity “too good to pass up on.”
“I first learned about the course through my mum who thought it was a great way for me to get experience,” Dylan recalled. “I learnt plenty of useful skills around working within a workshop, from using and setting up a lathe, and a break press, to working with different robotic machines.”
Encouraging others to sign up to the Academy, Dylan continued: “This is a course that will teach you great skills that you will be able to use in many different areas of work. If you are looking for a job, it [the course] will guarantee that you will go into that job with the skills you need to perform to the best of your ability. The teaching staff are great and do a fantastic job of helping you to understand all the material.”
Ian Paisley MP, Chairman of The Gallaher Trust added: “The Manufacturing Academy was born out of the success of the Northern Ireland Hospitality School – we wanted to replicate this in the local manufacturing sector.
“It’s important for the Trust to be able to deliver to the wider Ballymena community the opportunity to develop skills and obtain jobs and the Manufacturing Academy has done just that.
“Congratulations to Allen and Dylan in their new jobs and we hope to see many more examples like this in the months to come.”
Meanwhile, Alan Reid, Innovation Manager from Northern Regional College added: “We are delighted with the progress that Allen and Dylan have made since starting their employment – they have made us all very proud at the Manufacturing Academy.
“This course is a fantastic opportunity for any adult who is aged 18 and over who may be interested in a career within the manufacturing sector, to learn new skills, improve their employability and to secure an interview with local manufacturing companies. Qualifications are not a requirement to take part and I would urge anyone in the Ballymena area to apply for our next intake of students, as the course commences in October 2022.”
Graham Whitehurst, Chairman of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Manufacturing Task Force added that the Academy is also a chance to bolster the local manufacturing sector.
“Ballymena has long since been associated with a booming manufacturing sector,” Graham said. “And it’s our mission through courses like these that this sector will continue to flourish. We want to provide companies with a pool of well qualified and skilled people who can help drive both the local manufacturing sector and local companies forward.”
To find out more about the Manufacturing Academy and to register for the five week course visit: Manufacturing Academy (5 Week Fully Funded) – Engineering & Science at Ballymena (Farm Lodge) – NRC.
Or come along to an information event planned for Thursday 8 September 11am – noon at The Braid, Ballymena, to register visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/manufacturing-academy-open-day-tickets-403899994757.