Search is launched to find top apprentices

Pictured launching the 2024 Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards are (from left) last year's winner Conor Braniff, employed by Tullycross Tiling and trained at Southern Regional College, with Moira Doherty, head of skills and education at the Department for the Economy; comedian Paddy Raff, who will be MC at the awards ceremony; and last year's higher level apprentice award winner Kerry Moore, employed by Deloitte MCS

THE search has begun to find the north's top new apprentices across a range of disciplines.

The Department for the Economy has launched the 2024 Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards, which recognise apprentices, their mentors, employers and training organisations who have demonstrated exceptional progress as well as personal achievement and commitment.

Applications have opened and will be accepted up until noon on Friday October 27, and the initiative will culminate in a special awards ceremony next March.

There are seven categories for 2024, and full details on application criteria for each of the awards, along with how to apply, is at

Moira Doherty, head of skills and education at the Department for the Economy, said: “Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop talent and offer real benefits to both the individual and the employer. These award are a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate the depth and quality of our apprentices, their employers and training providers.

“They are a way of celebrating the essential role apprenticeships play in our economic development and the 10X Economic Vision. Apprenticeships are integral to this vision, as they provide a way for people of all ages to gain the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.

“We are lucky to have so many great apprentices who are supported by fantastic employers, mentors and training providers. I encourage them all to get involved in the competition. Their story could inspire others to consider an apprenticeship, start the path to a successful career and help to build a stronger economy for Northern Ireland.”

Professor Jonathan Heggarty MBE, principal of Stranmillis University College and who will sit on the judging panel, said: “Apprenticeships and Higher Level Apprenticeships continue to increase in popularity as they offer apprentices a fantastic opportunity to develop both skills and knowledge as part of their career journey.”