The National Apprenticeship Office has awarded three outstanding Dubliners top category awards in the Generation Apprenticeship ‘Apprentice of Year’ awards 2023, out of a record number 222 nominees from across every county in Ireland. The 14 finalists including Dubliners Shakeel, Jamie and Gary won special category awards in their skilled area, across industries representing Hospitality, Healthcare, Hairdressing, Finance, Insurance, ICT, Property Services, Recruitment, Sales, Engineering, Biopharma, Logistics, Motor, Electrical and Construction.
Longford-native Hazel Johnston, Manufacturing Engineering apprentice with DePuy Synthes Cork took home the second-ever national title at the independently judged awards, standing as the first-ever female winner of the highly-coveted ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. Commenting on her win, Hazel said she was “absolutely shocked and thrilled” to have won the award, sharing how “the apprenticeship has just transformed my education and my working life.”
Pat O’Doherty Chairperson of the National Apprenticeship Alliance (NAA) announced the 2023 ‘Apprentice of the Year’ and presented 14 exceptional finalists with a prestigious award in front of a gathering of 500 guests in the Round Room of The Mansion House, Dublin.
Hailing from Lusk, Jamie Bermingham picked up a category award in ‘Construction’. A former World Skills Ireland winner now proudly working as an apprentice plumber at Jones Engineering, he said: “It was an honour to be given the opportunity to speak on ‘The Heroes Stage’ at World Skills this year to talk about the impact, benefits and importance of apprenticeships and to be nominated for an award. I am delighted to win the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ category award – If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life!”
Clondalkin-native Shakeel Jeeroburkan, winner of the ‘Finance’ award said:“Thanks to the NAO for the recognition and the kind words and most importantly, thank you for a very well-organised event. It is a proud moment for me and the entire team at Fidelity International. Winning the overall award in the Finance category means a lot and serves as a motivating factor to continue excelling in my career. Apprenticeships offer a great programme for everyone, no matter what age you are. A huge shoutout to everyone who’s been a part of my journey so far, especially my mentors, colleagues, and lecturers at the National College of Ireland. I’m looking forward to building on this success and contributing further with Generation Apprenticeship”
Ayrfield’s Gary Whelan an Electrical Instrumentation apprentice at Diageo Ireland, said of his ‘Electrical’ category win: “I have been privileged to further my skills and education through my apprenticeship in electrical instrumentation with Diageo. It was an honour to be nominated for this award and now to win an award feels incredible”.
Dr Mary Liz Trant Director of the National Apprenticeship Office said:” The NAO was delighted to present the national ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award for 2023 to Hazel Johnson and 14 exceptional finalists including Jamie, Shakeel and Gary from a 26,000-strong Generation Apprenticeship community of dedicated apprentices. The ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards not only celebrate the apprentices nominated but also the power and impact of apprenticeship as a mode of learning and career development.”
Minister Harris TD said, “Looking through the list of the 222 fantastic nominees, I can really see the talent we have in this country. Wishing warmest congratulations to each and every one of you. I want to thank each and every apprentice and employer for their unique role in supporting and developing our apprenticeship system.”
Dr Trant said ”Apprentices are transforming the landscape of Ireland’s skilled workforce, bringing exceptional creativity and innovation, adaptability, leadership, fresh perspectives and a steadfast eagerness to learn that makes them valuable additions to any industry or workforce. Their contributions cannot be underestimated.”