Career success for NRC apprentices

Emalee and Jennifer.
Emalee and Jennifer.

Two students who completed a Food and Beverage Service apprenticeship at Northern Regional College, in partnership with Galgorm Spa and Golf Resort, have secured full-time, permanent posts at the award-winning resort.

Jennifer Perez from Alicante in Spain and Emalee O’Connell from Ballyclare, recent recipients of the college’s highest achieving student awards, feel the apprentice programme is a great progression route for anyone interested in a career in the hospitality sector.

Apprentices spend four days with an employer and one day in college and the combination of a structured training programme and work experience allows them to show their employers that they can hit the ground running.

Jennifer went to university in Spain and already had a Master’s degree in Nutrition before she embarked on the apprenticeship programme.

She believes the quality of theory-based teaching at the college and the practical experience she received at the Galgorm, were of the highest possible standard.

Jennifer comments: “An apprenticeship is a fantastic way to enter the industry and get hands-on experience from some of the best in the business.

“I was immersed in the real world of work at Galgorm, and because of this, I know I’m not wasting my time as I’m confident this is the area I want to work in. In the longer term, I would like to be a wedding planner and I feel I’m on the right path to achieve this goal.”

Emalee chose the apprenticeship over going to university.

She said: “I didn’t want to go to university and come out with a ridiculous amount of debt. The apprenticeship has given me an opportunity to earn money whilst learning and focus on what I love to do.

“Our teacher was really passionate which made the course so much more interesting. He adapted the course to our level, challenging us and allowing us to get the most out of our learning.”

Emalee enjoyed her time at the college, saying it was “much less stressful” than being at school.

She added: “I’m so glad I chose the apprenticeship and I would definitely advise those who are unsure about university or what to do following school to consider it.”

Northern Regional College offers apprenticeships in a range of vocational areas including hospitality, engineering, brickwork, carpentry and joinery, plumbing and motor vehicle. For further information, go to