Donnelly Group, Northern Ireland’s largest family owned new and used vehicle retailer, has welcomed 45 new recruits to its apprentice programme.
Working alongside Transport Training Solutions, South West College, South Eastern Regional College, Northern Regional College and Belfast Metropolitan College, the Donnelly Group Apprentice Programme is aimed at preparing 16-21-year-olds for a career in the motor industry.
For the first time, Donnelly Group has extended the scheme beyond the Technician apprenticeships to include Sales Executive and a Premier Parts apprenticeships.
Emma-Louise Forsythe, Head of HR at Donnelly Group, said: “Our apprentice programme, which is certified by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), provides applicants with the chance to earn while they learn with one of Northern Ireland’s leading vehicle retailers.
“This year we have 45 apprentices joining the programme, a huge increase in comparison to previous years.
“What has been extremely encouraging is the volume of female applicants this year. The motor industry is renowned for being predominantly male dominated, so it is great that through the programme we can start to redress this imbalance.
“Those who show exceptional performance and dedication will be given the chance to further their career upon completion of the programme by taking on a permanent role with Donnelly Group.”
The scheme runs across all nine Donnelly Group locations, including; Ballymena, Bangor Belfast, Dungannon, Eglinton, Enniskillen, Newtownabbey, Mallusk and Omagh.
Dave Sheeran, Managing Director at Donnelly Group, said: “The apprentice programme allows us to ensure our workforce has the technical skills and knowledge required to provide our customers with a superior service.
“Those taking part in the programme have the opportunity to work with 18 international car and van brands, in workshops which are fitted with the most up-to-date technology, ensuring an unrivalled learning environment with some of the best mentors in the industry.
“At Donnelly Group, we recognise that it has become increasingly difficult to fill certain roles due to a skills shortage within the industry, but we remain wholly committed to narrowing this gap, and the apprentice programme allows us to do so.”
Timothy Hagan, former Donnelly Group Apprentice, said: “The apprentice programme was an amazing experience from start to finish. The support I received from my assigned mentor was invaluable, and they were extremely helpful in ensuring that I made the most of my time on the programme.
“Alongside getting my ideal job at Donnelly and Taggart Mitsubishi, I was also awarded the Northern Ireland Auto Skills Apprentice of the Year 2017, something which I could not have achieved had I not been given the opportunity to work alongside the experts at Donnelly Group.”
Upon completion of the Donnelly Group Apprentice Programme, students are awarded the IMI Level 3 certificate in light vehicle maintenance and the Level 5 diploma in automotive management.
To find out more about the opportunities available through Donnelly Group, please visit careers.donnellygroup.co.uk, or contact the Donnelly Group Careers Team on 028 8772 2887