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First Group Complete New Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship Course

Posted on October 9, 2019

GMIT is academic lead on the L6 course delivered in GMIT, IT Sligo, Cork IT and Limerick IT

The first cohort of GMIT students on the new Ibec Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship programme completed the course recently, receiving their Ibec Certificates of Achievement at a ceremony organised by Ibec in the Galmont Hotel, Galway (2 October 2019). The apprentice technicians will graduate from GMIT next month (Nov).

At the Ibec ceremony were 29 graduating apprentices from three Institutes of Technology – Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) along with a total of 16 companies, representatives from the Higher Education Authority, Solas, and the regional Education Providers.

GMIT’s Engineering School was the lead academic partner in the design and delivery of this innovative new two-year national Ibec apprenticeship course, which is also delivered by the three other Institutes. GMIT apprentice programme chair, Dr Paul O’Dowd, says: “Getting an engineering qualification by the apprenticeship mode is brand new in Ireland and we are delighted to see our first graduates of this course from companies such as Boston Scientific Galway and Zimmer Biomet of Oranmore. We are also working with apprentices from other west of Ireland-based companies such as Valeo, Caragh Precision, Creganna, Merit Medical, M&M Qualtech, MSA Safety, Synecco, Eire Composites and Cambus Medical.  Our Mayo-based companies include McHale's, Fort Wayne Metals and MultiPackaging Solutions. Students are also traveling to GMIT for the programme from Siemens in Dublin, Abbott in Longford, Robotics and Drives of Mullingar, BD Medical of Dun Laoghaire and Key Plastics from Bray.”

"Companies involved cross the full spectrum from small Irish SMEs to large multinationals and cover a diverse range of high-technology manufacturing, from agricultural machinery, aerospace components and automotive cameras, to replacement knees, cardiac stents and gas-detectors," adds Dr O’Dowd.

Ibec Medtech & Engineering Director Sinead Keogh says: “The Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship is a radical modernisation from the traditional apprenticeships which offers new routes to high-tech manufacturing industries. I would like to congratulate the 29 graduates on their achievement along with participating businesses in Galway which includes Boston Scientific, Fort Wayne Metals and Zimmer Biomet. This unique programme is essential to future proof Ireland’s world-class manufacturing.”

Gerard Mac Michael, Head of the School of Engineering at GMIT, says: " Leadership in this breakthrough learning paradigm puts GMIT at the forefront of Engineering Education in Ireland. We are looking forward to welcoming our next cohort of Manufacturing Engineering and Manufacturing Technician apprentices in September 2020.”

The new industry-led programme has been driven by Ibec's MedTech Group and a consortium led by Barry Comerford, CEO of Cambus Medical in Spiddal. The academic programme was developed by GMIT in cooperation with industry partners and Limerick IT, Cork IT and IT Sligo. The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at GMIT is currently managing the roll-out of the programme in the other Institutes of Technology.

Barry Comerford and Gerard MacMichael met with the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD recently to discuss the success of the course. Mr Comerford, Chair of the Manufacturing Apprenticeship Consortium and CEO, Cambus Medical, says: “This apprenticeship programme has given participants the opportunity to gain qualifications by studying subjects such as computer aided design, engineering science, and lean manufacturing. The Manufacturing Engineering Apprenticeship (Level 6) not only has a high completion rate, but students are also performing exceptionally well – exceeding our expectations in terms of overall academic achievement and on the job performance.”

“What really separates an apprenticeship from other careers routes is the way students gain their knowledge by following a proven method of experiential learning, through classroom lectures and on the job training with world-class companies. As an ex-army apprentice, I know from personal experience how far an apprenticeship can take you. The traditional academic route is not for everyone. Earning and learning is a solid foundation for any career.”

Companies interested in taking part in the next course, please contact

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