Manufacturing Excellence Academy closing date looms

Applications are currently invited for Ballymena’s first ever Manufacturing Excellence Academy but they must be in by Friday, October 1.

Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 4:45 pm

With just 20 places for people living in the wider Ballymena community there is no time to waste.

Northern Regional College (NRC) is to play a key role in the Academy, which has been established with funding from The Gallaher Trust and assistance and support from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Manufacturing Task Force.

Successful applicants will secure a place on an intensive five-week training programme at the College in Ballymena.

Pictured alongside the Chair of The Gallaher Trust Ian Paisley MP is: Graham Whitehurst, Chair of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Manufacturing Task Force; Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Deputy Mayor Councillor Matthew Armstrong; Nicola Olphert, Student Support, Northern Regional College; Wilbert Moore, Managing Director, Moore Concrete; Lorraine Farrell, Growth Development and Marketing Manager, GES Group; and Neil Collins, Managing Director Wrightbus.

The programme has been specifically designed to help boost their employability in the local manufacturing sector.

Alan Reid, Principal Lecturer with responsibility for industry engagement, said participants would be taught by industry experts: “Students will be introduced to a range of generic manufacturing processes, standard operating and assembly procedures that are applicable across the sector. As part of the programme, participants will develop their knowledge in a range of areas including health and safety regulations, inspection and quality assurance principles, working to set specifications, correct use of tools and machinery, fundamentals of computer-controlled equipment and lean and continuous improvement techniques. The programme will include guest speakers and industrial visits, but the main source of learning will be a work-based project so participants can put their new skills and knowledge into practice.”

Participants will be paid a weekly training allowance of £150 and a daily travel allowance for the duration of the programme.

The Gallaher Trust committed almost £60,000 for the first year of the Manufacturing Academy initiative.

Ian Paisley MP, Chair of The Gallaher Trust, said: “The Trust will provide almost £60,000 enabling 20 individuals to attend the College programme where upon completion, they will be guaranteed interviews with local manufacturing companies and the potential of employment.

“It is important to us that we deliver to the wider Ballymena community the opportunity to develop skills and obtain jobs.

“This programme will do just that and, if successful, it will run for a further two years.”

For more information or to apply, visit NRC’s website: