Lyons encourages participation in NI Apprenticeship Week 2022

Date published: 14 December 2021

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today officially launched the third annual Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week which will take place from 7 to 11 February 2022.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with James Matchett, Higher Level Apprentice of the Year 2021.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with James Matchett, Higher Level Apprentice of the Year 2021.

The annual week-long celebration, led by the Department for the Economy, aims to highlight the important role played by apprenticeships across Northern Ireland by bringing together partners including local councils, employers, universities, further education colleges and private training providers.

Through a series of in-person or virtual events, the week will showcase how apprenticeships can transform the future of apprentices and businesses.

Launching NI Apprenticeship Week, the Minister said:

“As our economy continues to recover following the effects of the pandemic, developing the local skills base is a key priority for me and a cornerstone of the recovery. My Department’s 10X Economic Vision and associated Skills Strategy set out how we want to equip people with the skills they need for the constantly evolving jobs market and build on Northern Ireland’s successes on the global stage. Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in making this a reality.

“Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week provides an opportunity for everyone involved in apprenticeships, whether it be as an apprentice or as an employer, or just interested in finding out more about apprenticeships, to come together during a week-long programme of events and activity. The week will provide a great opportunity to raise the profile and showcase the very best within our apprenticeship programmes and the opportunities available and I would encourage everyone with an interest to get involved.”

A dedicated website giving details of in-person and virtual events happening across Northern Ireland during Apprenticeship Week will be available on the nidirect website. Apprenticeship partners are invited to get involved by hosting their own apprenticeship events or in collaboration with others and the website will be updated as organisations post details. Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week is open to anyone so if you would like to get involved with organising future events please contact the Department by email at:

Central to the NI Apprenticeship Week will be the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2022 which recognises excellence in apprenticeships and culminates in an awards ceremony on Wednesday 9 February 2022.

Commenting on the Award nominations the Minister said:

“The Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards competition continues to demonstrate how apprenticeships are changing the lives of businesses and apprentices.

"Once again the number and quality of nominations received for the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards competition this year has been exceptional. I would like to thank everyone who submitted a nomination which has demonstrated the difference our apprenticeship programmes are making to apprentices’ career progression and the benefits gained by employers in a wide range of sectors as well as the effective delivery and support provided by the training providers. I would like to wish good luck to all the finalists.”

The finalists for each award category are:

Apprentice Award 2022 Finalists: 

  • Daniela Geanta - First Source-  Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions
  • Lauren Johnston -  Diageo Belfast Packaging - South Eastern Regional College
  • Matthew Robinson - EDGE Innovate - South West College

Higher Level Apprentice Award 2022 Finalists: 

  • Lewis Connelly - Linden Foods Ltd - College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise
  • Jessica McMillen - Kainos Group plc - Ulster University
  • Lewis Barnes - Farrans Construction - South West College

Large Employer Award Finalists:

  • Kainos Group plc in partnership with Ulster University
  • Farrans Construction in partnership with Ulster University
  • Greiner Packaging Ltd in partnership with South West College

Small to Medium Enterprises Award Finalists:

  • Fusion Heating Ltd in partnership with Belfast Metropolitan College
  • Lakeland Dairies Newtownards in partnership with College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise
  • McGuinness Plumbing in partnership with Southern Regional College

Notes to editors: 

1. Caption: Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with James Matchett, Higher Level Apprentice of the Year 2021.

2. The Department may take photographs and videos at announcements and events to publicise its work. Photographs, interviews, videos or other recordings may be issued to media organisations for publicity purposes or used in promotional material, including in publications, newspapers, magazines, other print media, on television, radio and electronic media (including social media and the internet). Photographs and videos will also be stored on the Department’s internal records management system. The Department will keep the photographs and recordings for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which they have been obtained. The Department’s Privacy Policy is available on our website.

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