Parkway-300x187Ryobi is proud to announce that Gareth Harkness, an apprentice Engineer from Ballymena, has been crowned Apprentice of the Year 2014.

Gareth, 19, works in the Die Cast Engineering department at Ryobi, and is completing his apprenticeship in Engineering at Northern Regional College, Ballymena.
Employers and training organisations from all over Northern Ireland were asked to nominate apprentices who they felt had shown commitment, occupational progress and enthusiasm in their chosen apprenticeship.
The awards ceremony, organised by the Department for Employment and Learning, was held in Hillsborough Castle and was hosted by presenter Claire McCollum.

Congratulating the winners, Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stehen Farry said: “The array of talent on display today is testament to the high level of skills and talent that exists in Northern Ireland.  I congratulate Gareth, the Apprentice of the Year, and all the other apprentices here today on their achievements and wish them continued success in their chosen careers.  Gareth is an excellent example of how an apprentice can form an integral part of a company.”

Barry Ferris, Die Cast Engineering Manager at Ryobi Aluminium Castings, said:“Gareth is rated highly amongst management and staff and is meticulous about his work.  He has shown great ability, and his first project led to significant savings for the company.  Since this he has become involved in higher level products, coming up with innovative ideas and solutions.  His strengths reside in his ability to identify faults and if necessary redesign products, reducing downtime whilst maintaining a close eye on quality.  Without doubt Gareth’s work is way beyond the remit of an apprentice and is certainly on par with experienced engineers.  His future with Ryobi is very promising and his contribution greatly appreciated.”

To find out more about the Department for Employment and Learning Apprentice of the Year and ApprenticeshipsNI programme visit