'Finest' apprentices in the country jet to Abu Dhabi to showcase skills
Some 14 young apprentices and trainees have flown to Abu Dhabi to represent Ireland at the 44th WorldSkills competition.
The Irish team will showcase its talents in the areas of aircraft maintenance, beauty therapy, cabinet making, heavy vehicle mechanics and construction metal work.
Each member of the Irish team, all of whom are under 25 years of age, has proven expertise in their chosen field having competed against their peers to secure their places in the competition. They were selected from the winners of the National Skills Competition Finals that were held in December 2016.
Education Minister Richard Bruton described the apprentices and trainees as "great ambassadors" for their country.
"The WorldSkills competition is a great opportunity to showcase Irish skills on an international stage. The Irish team are some of the finest young craftspeople we have and are great ambassadors for apprenticeships and traineeships. I wish them the very best of luck as they head to Abu Dhabi and I know they will do themselves, their families and the country proud," Mr Bruton said.
Paul O'Toole, the CEO of Solas, which is responsible for funding, planning and co-ordinating Further Education and Training (FET), said those competing have "enormous talent".
"To be able to compete at the level of the WorldSkills competition requires not just enormous talent, but determination and dedication.
"The young people representing Ireland have all three in abundance.
"Solas, as the further education and training authority, is delighted to support the team and the Ireland Skills Council and we wish them every success in the upcoming competition," he said.