A Northern Regional College Carpentry and Joinery apprentice has won a top European award crowning him Best Apprentice.
Samuel Gilmore, based at the College’s Coleraine campus, travelled to Helsinki last week having reached the final of the Apprenticeship category at the European Alliance for Apprenticeship Awards.
Samuel had to impress an expert panel of judges as well as securing the public vote.
The awards recognise excellence in the supply, quality, image and mobility of apprenticeships. The ceremony took place during European Vocational Skills Week which was hosted by the European Commission in partnership with the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Samuel said he was “speechless” when his named was announced as winner of the award.
“I never expected to even be nominated for this award. I was shocked and completely speechless. It was such a fantastic opportunity to travel to Helsinki and represent the College.
“I have learned an incredible amount from both my tutor Ian Forsythe at the College and my employer Mark Pollock. My classmates have also been really encouraging. I’m also very grateful to my parents Henry and Edelene Gilmore, their support has been invaluable,” he said.
Winning this award is the latest achievement for the Aghadowey apprentice, who has enjoyed a stellar year.
He was the Northern Ireland Young Apprentice of the Year in 2018 and a gold medallist at the UK National
Finals of WorldSkills UK Live 2018.
Earlier this year, Samuel represented the College on a visit to South Africa to learn more about the work of apprentices there.
Professor Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive of NRC said: “Samuel is a wonderful ambassador for the College and it is fantastic to see him gaining recognition at an international level.
“The Alliance is very well regarded within the industry, so this is an outstanding achievement.”