‘I wanted a hands-on approach so I love being an engineering apprentice’
Case study: Adam Looney | Apprenticeship and Cork IT degree
Adam Looney achieved an impressive 485 points in the Leaving Certificate last year, opening a world of CAO courses to him.
The 20-year-old from Donougmore, Cork, had his heart set on engineering, and actually applied for, and received, a CAO offer for an honours engineering course at Cork Institute of Technology. Engineering was his favourite subject at school and his skills shone in the project he completed for the Leaving Certificate — a model amusement park ride, recognised as being one of the best in the country last year.
During 6th year at Coachford Community College, Adam had explored non-CAO routes to his career destination, because he preferred a hands-on approach to learning.
“I started looking at apprenticeships and, in talking to my guidance counsellor, I realised that electrical instrumentation was what I wanted to do,” he says.
He kept an eye on newspapers and websites for opportunities and when he saw an ad from pharmaceutical multinational, GSK, which has plants in Cork, Dungarvan and Sligo, he applied. GSK is expanding its apprenticeship offering this September, to include pharmaceutical technicians.
The CAO offer arrived and he enrolled in Cork IT because he still wasn’t 100pc sure of the right route for him. When the apprenticeship offer came along three weeks later, he didn’t think twice about making the switch to the four-year electrical instrumentation apprenticeship at GSK.
A year on and Adam is really happy: “I have no regrets, this is the route for me 100pc,” he says.
Adam’s learning does not stop when his day ends in GSK, where he is pursuing a Level 6 National Craft qualification, while gaining paid work experience.
The company encourages recruits to undertake additional learning up to degree level. So, Adam, who left a day course in Cork IT a year ago, is now back at the Institute at night, pursuing a degree course.
Entry to apprenticeships is not points-based. The minimum requirements for the GSK programme is at least five Leaving Certificate ordinary level passes, including maths and English, as well as engineering or a science subject at grade A-C.
Other Leaving Cert subjects that give engineering apprentices an advantage are design & communications, graphics, engineering or technology at ordinary level.