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Trainee tiler proves the worth of apprenticeships

As the Government aims to encourage small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to take on more apprentices following the publication of the Holt Report, one trainee tiler is showing just how valuable they can be.

The report – which focused on making apprenticeships more accessible to SMEs – has prompted the action from the Government, which now says it aims to increase awareness about the numerous benefits of taking on apprentices.

The Government has also pledged to make it easier and ‘more accessible’ for firms to offer apprenticeships, and is also planning to take away training firms’ powers relating to advising apprentices in a bid to empower SMEs.

The apprentice currently making his mark is tiler-in-training Graham Burns from Laurelvale, who is set to fly the flag for Ireland at the upcoming WorldsSkills competition in Leipzig, Germany.

Mr Burns – who is currently studying floor and wall tiling at Southern Regional College’s Newry campus – is in contention to represent Team UK at the competition in Germany next July. Another tiler at the same campus, John Morgan, has also been selected to compete in the final team tryouts.

Both men are being supported in their goal by their employers - Brian Burns Tiling Services employs Mr Burns, whilst Global Tiles and Bathrooms employs Mr Morgan. The men work part-time for the firms whilst they complete their tiling qualifications at Southern Regional College."

A college representative told the Portadown Times, “The two competitors have been preparing for the competition … at the college’s new purpose-built wall and floor tiling training facility at the Greenbank campus in Newry which has been designed to meet the high standards expected within the industry.

“This new facility caters for all apprentices right from school leavers through to existing tradesmen requiring qualifications in the ever-changing, competitive construction sector,” the representative added.