New welding academy for Southern Regional College

News that a welding academy is to be created at the Portadown campus of the Southern Regional College has been welcomed.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 5:14 pm

Newry and Armagh MLA William Irwin said he had lobbied both his DUP colleague, Economy Minister Diane Dodds and the SRC after local engineering firms found it difficult to recruit new welders.

He said, “This is an excellent step forward. I understand 12 students will take on the course with the guarantee of an interview and, based on performance, a real prospect of longer term employment at a local engineering firm.

Mr Irwin added: “Welding is a skilled profession and, from talking to firms such as NC Engineering who are busier than ever, they are struggling to meet demand and are very much in the hunt for new welders. This course is in direct response to this surging demand within the engineering sector.

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 3 March 2017 - NI Assembly Election 2017 Count at Banbridge Leisure Centre for Newry & Armagh and Upper Bann constituencies. William Irwin (DUP Newry/Armagh) makes his acceptance speech at the count. Photo by Tony Hendron / Press Eye.

Mr Irwin explained: “The launch information states, ‘the Assured Skills Academy will see 12 successful applicants receive industry-standard welding training during a five-week course at the college’s Portadown campus, followed by two weeks of consolidation training at one of three engineering companies in the local area. Participants who complete the Academy are guaranteed an interview for a welding position at one of the companies: AJ Power, Craigavon; NC Engineering, Hamiltonsbawn; and SFM Engineering, Keady’.

“This is a great start in response to strong demand in the sector and I would encourage SRC to ensure that, based on the success of this course, that this progress is built on and extended. I also wish those who enrol every success in finding long term employment locally. I also thank both the SRC staff and the Economy Minister for their efforts in this regard.”

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