NEWTOWNABBEY teenager Jack McIlroy has fought off competition from more than 100 school leavers from across Northern Ireland to win a place on one of the world’s most sought-after training opportunities – a three-year apprenticeship with Ferrari at Charles Hurst, Belfast - the only official Ferrari dealer in Ireland.
The 18-year-old, a former pupil of St. Patrick’s College on the Antrim Road, will now join 12 other successful applicants from across the UK to start their intensive training at Ferrari North Europe’s Head Office near London.
The Ferrari Apprenticeship will lead to a nationally-recognised qualification accredited by IMI Awards, the leading awarding body for the retail motor industry.
Jack, who will now be employed with Charles Hurst Belfast on a full-time basis, will undertake 24 weeks of block training as part of the three-year programme.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the car industry and I applied for this scheme thinking that never in a million years would they pick me – but they did,” said Jack. “This is a life-changing opportunity for me.”
Charles Hurst Franchise Director Richard Stinson said the apprenticeship was designed to train people in a way that enables them to keep pace with advancing technology and the high levels of customer service that is expected with such a quality brand.
“We’re proud to offer such a prestigious opportunity, which is part of our philosophy of investing in promising young talent and we look forward to welcoming Jack to the Charles Hurst Ferrari team,” he commented.
“Attracting bright young talent into the automotive sector is key to our long-term success.”
Northern Ireland Transport Training Service (TTS), which is part-funded by the Department of Employment & Learning (DEL) is administering the programme in partnership with Ferrari North Europe and Charles Hurst Group.
Minister for Employment & Learning Stephen Farry said: “Ferrari is one of the world’s most prestigious vehicle manufacturers and is committed to developing young people.
“Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to develop specialist skills, giving you the chance to earn while you learn and gain qualifications that are recognised across the world. My Department is proud to be involved in such an innovative, rewarding and exciting scheme and we wish Jack every success for the future.”
Michael Kerr, Business Development Director at Northern Ireland Transport Training Service (TTS), added: “A role as a vehicle technician or parts apprentice - employed as one of Ferrari’s approved dealers or authorised repairers - is a fantastic start to anyone’s working life and we look forward to seeing Jack develop his newly-acquired skills with a practical approach to working.”
On completing the course, Jack will gain an NVQ Level 3, an IMI Technical Certificate, an Advanced Apprenticeship Completion Certificate and Key and Core Skills Certificates relevant to his chosen specialist area.