Athlone IT Students Win Gold at Ireland Skills Live Competition

Athlone Institute of Technology students swept up a plethora of gold awards at the Ireland Skills Competition in Dublin

Athlone Institute of Technology Trades students swept up a plethora of gold awards at the Ireland Skills Competition in the RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion last week.

Daniel Curtin, a heavy vehicle mechanic apprentice from Tnagh, Co Claire, and Jack O’Donnell, a plumbing apprentice from Tiernea, Co Galway, were named ‘best in class’ in Transportation Aviation - Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Construction – Plumbing and Heating, respectively.

The pair were among 125 talented apprentices and trainees to compete at the prestigious three-day long competition, which, according to Kevin Ward, a culinary lecturer in Athlone Institute of Technology, isn’t too dissimilar to a MasterChef marathon.

Heavy interest from schools made the event a sell-out with more than 5500 transition year and Leaving Certificate students turning up to hear about different educational pathways and even try a skill themselves.

According to Joe Lawless, Head of Department of Civil and Trades, the competition showcases “the amazing talents of the best of Ireland’s apprentices” and gives students, parents and guidance counsellors an excellent idea of what apprenticeships entail and what career opportunities are available from them.”

Over the course of the three days, attendees were treated to panel discussions, live demonstrations and expert talks and were afforded the opportunity to meet employers, such as Fáilte Ireland, Sodexo, Irish Aviation Authority, Jones Engineering and Bus Eireann.

This is the first year that the all national competitions have gathered under one roof to demonstrate their prowess in areas such as cookery, automobile technology, cloud computing, carpentry and construction.

Rebranded in recent years, the competition’s aim is to promote college courses, apprenticeships and traineeships that offer skills and on-the-job learning. It also aims to help to address the serious skills shortage identified in Ireland and help inform students, their parents, teachers and careers advisers about the exciting career paths available through such courses.

Daniel and Jack will join the other winners of the Ireland Skill Live competition in Kazan, Russia this summer for the 45th World Skills final. The pair, along with 14 other Irish contenders, will battle it out against their global counterparts to win best in class.

Stephen O’Connor of Baldoyle, Dublin and Matthew Shevlin of Belmullet, Co Mayo, also represented Athlone Institute of Technology at Ireland Skills Live competition in the Heavy Vehicle Maintenance category.

Athlone Institute of Technology offers a range of programmes which have a strong skills-focus and work placement component with opportunities in Ireland and overseas. For more information, please contact Joe Lawless, Head of Department of Civil Engineering and Trades. Email: jlawless@ait.ie Tel: (090) 6471824

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