Bessbrook’s Ciara counts on success with Higher Level Apprenticeship

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Tuesday, March 15th, 2016
Community, Jobs & Careers
Ciara Small from Bessbrook is pursuing a career with SP McKeown & Co., Newry, while completing a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy.
Ciara Small is completing a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy at SP McKeown & Co., Newry and Southern Regional College. Pictured left to right are Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College, Minister Farry, Ciara Small and Shane McKeown, Managing Director, SP McKeown & Co.

Pictured left to right are Brian Doran, Chief Executive, Southern Regional College, Minister Farry, Ciara Small and Shane McKeown, Managing Director, SP McKeown & Co.

The Accountancy Higher Level Apprenticeship, which is delivered by Southern Regional College (SRC), is one of the Higher Level Apprenticeships developed as part of the Northern Ireland Apprenticeships Strategy – Securing Our Success. Speaking about the experience so far Ciara told Newry Times, “This is a very worthwhile and rewarding opportunity as it gives me the chance to apply what I’m learning in class to each task I complete within the office. “This also allows me to challenge myself with the support of my colleagues who are guiding me throughout this whole learning experience,” she adds. Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, said, “I am committed to growing and developing apprenticeships in Northern Ireland – creating gold standard provision as part of the new skills landscape that will benefit both young people and our economy. “The benefits of apprenticeships are well documented with apprentices able to earn while they learn, develop and practice skills in the work environment and enhance their future career prospects. Minister Farry added, “The development of this and other Higher Level Apprenticeships in priority skills areas are vital for the future success of the Northern Ireland economy. Higher Level Apprenticeships will be available from Foundation Degree to PhD level as we implement the strategy ensuring we deliver the future skills required to support the local economy.”
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LearnSpark1Brian Doran, Chief Executive, SRC, said, “We successfully introduced the pilot Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy in September 2014 in conjunction with many leading local accountancy employers. “This collaborative programme between industry and education provides the accountancy sector in Northern Ireland with highly skilled accounting technicians who have practical skills, combined with a higher education qualification.” Shane McKeown, Managing Director, SP McKeown & Co. said, “The Higher Level Apprenticeship model is working well for my business – I have talented and enthusiastic higher level apprentices who are really adding value to my business and at the same time, the company is playing a key role in the training and development of our local young people. I am fully supportive of this programme and I look forward to seeing it continue to thrive in the future.” More information on Higher Level Apprenticeships is available at: or on the SRC website at:
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