Pictured Back row L-R: Matthew Dooley (Abbey Machinery) Aidan Burke (Jungheinrich) Christopher Gibson (Combilift) Gavin Kealy (Jungheinrich) John Heffernan (Tanco) Jason Kierans (Combilift) Front row L-R: John Pomeroy (GEON Engineering) Jake Dunne (Turmec) Caoimhe Dennehy (Dennehy’s Garden Machinery) Alana Kernan (Combilift) Dean Tobin (Keenan Alltech) Aaron Dunphy (Dennison Trailers) Missing from photo Jack Martin (Combilift) Conor Wall (Turmec)
The anticipation and excitement in the air was palpable as the OEM Engineering Apprenticeship Class of 2023 gathered on Thursday 09 November for their highly anticipated graduation ceremony. This milestone marked not only the completion of three years of hard work and dedication but also the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of these talented graduates.
The graduation ceremony, held at Lawlor’s Hotel in Naas, was a testament to the resilience, determination, and achievements of the graduating class. It was attended by family, friends, employers, faculty members, and distinguished guests who came together to celebrate this important occasion.
This was the first joint Graduation ceremony for the OEM Engineering Apprenticeship between Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board (CMETB) and Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB). The occasion marked the first Limerick cohort to graduate, following on from the inaugural graduation for the first Monaghan cohort last October.
Cllr. PJ O’Hanlon (Chairperson, CMETB) congratulated the Apprentice graduates stating:
“There has been a real focus placed on apprenticeships in recent years and we are now starting to see the impact both locally and nationally with apprentice numbers continuing to rise. I wish to congratulate the OEM Consortium Steering Group, all representatives and staff for their dedication in developing, delivering and promoting this programme, to meet the needs of local and national employers. This apprenticeship provides a strong value proposition for employers and apprentices which delivers high standards and sought-after qualifications.”
Also speaking at the event, Dr. Fiona McGrath (Chief Executive, CMETB) said
“OEM Apprenticeship graduates are leaving with a most up-to-date qualification. A qualification that stands as one of the most innovative Apprenticeships in Ireland, that actively meets the evolving demands of the industry. And meeting the needs of industry is crucial for Apprenticeships and indeed the wider Further Education and Training sector. The OEM Apprenticeship Programme is a perfect example of that, as work trends continue to evolve, listening to industry and employers is key, so that education and training can be shaped to address the skills requirements in the workplace.”
Programme Manager for the OEM Engineering Apprenticeship, AnnaMarie Woods explained that the graduating class of 2023 began their apprenticeship journey in October 2020, during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic, saying;
“They are to be commended along with their employers and tutors for successfully completing the programme against all adversities, the resilience they displayed throughout their three years is a testament to their determination and character.”
Ms Woods also paid tribute to Alana Kernan (Combilift) and Caoimhe Dennehy (Dennehy’s Garden and Construction Machinery) on being the first ever female graduates of the programme, saying
“We are privileged to have our very first two female apprentices graduating from the programme, both Alana and Caoimhe have been fantastic ambassadors for the programme and indeed for women everywhere in Engineering. We are also delighted to have our further three current female apprentices with us tonight, Grace (Irish Rail), Isabella (Moffett Automated Storage) and Tatjana (Johnson & Johnson), along with female mentor from Tanco, Karolina.”
Martin McVicar, Managing Director with Combilift, also addressed all present, saying that,
“Combilift are delighted to have a further four OEM Engineering Apprentices graduate after 3 years on the QQI Level 6 Apprenticeship.
These highly skilled employees have gained knowledge in key areas such as Mechatronics, Robotics, Troubleshooting Diagnostics, PLCs and Engineering Drawings. The upskilling and development of our Apprentices is key to sustaining the growth and expansion in an evolving engineering Industry.
The collaboration with CMETB, LCETB and their tutors continues to have a positive impact on the Apprentices as they gain practical hands-on experience in the workshops using state of the art engineering equipment. This knowledge is then brought back and implemented in the manufacturing processes here on site which attributes to our continued success in the manufacturing of material handling equipment.”
Graduates, Alan Kernan (Combilift) and Jake Dunne (Turmec) addressed the room saying:
“We are honoured and delighted to be graduating as OEM Engineering Technicians. We would like to thank the teaching staff, management team and company mentors for the time and effort put into the programme. We feel that the knowledge and experience we have gained over the past three years will be invaluable as we now progress onto the next stage of our careers.”
As the ceremony closed, the graduates tossed their caps into the air, symbolising the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. They left the ceremony with a sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that they are well-prepared to face the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. The world awaits the contributions of these bright, young minds as they step into their roles as future leaders and innovators.
The OEM Engineering Apprenticeship is a national programme, which is managed by CMETB with collaborating provider LCETB, now in its fifth year, having been first launched in 2019. This programme represents a new and exciting way to study Engineering, leading to excellent career prospects in an array of industries, along with various established progression paths into Higher Education. The programme delivers skilled apprentices trained to work in dynamic engineering environments.
For more information on the OEM Apprenticeship please visit: www.oemapprenticeship.ie
Pictured Back row L-R: Martin Mc Vicar (Combilift) Ciaran O’Shea (Tanco) Richard Murphy (Turmec) Conrad Mc Gonagle (Jungheinrich) James Hickey (Keenan Alltech) John Pomeroy (GEON Engineering) Dermott Wylie (Dennison Trailers) Front row L-R: AnnaMarie Woods (OEM Apprenticeship Programme Manager) Damian Walshe (National Apprenticeship Office) Paul Patton (Director of FET LCETB) Sinead McKenna (FET Manager CMETB) Cllr PJ O’Hanlon (Chairperson CMETB) Dr Fiona McGrath (Chief Executive CMETB) Dr Linda Pinkster (Director of FET CMETB) Martin McKenna (Chairperson OEM Steering Group) Joe McGrath (Chairperson FET Board CMETB)