Apprenticeship programme sets Victoria on the pathway to full time employment

Omagh woman Victoria Pratt has used the experience she gained in Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Apprenticeship Programme to secure a full time post in her home town with Kenwell Engineering. 

The local Council is taking part in Northern Ireland’s first ever Apprenticeship Week next week in an effort to demonstrate how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Apprenticeship Week, which is co-ordinated centrally by the Department for the Economy and supported by Councils, education providers and training providers across Northern Ireland, will take place from 03 to 07 February 2020.

Victoria went to Loreto Grammar School where she was encouraged by a careers advisor at school to explore the options of an apprenticeship.

“I thought apprenticeships involved bricklaying and electrician work and didn’t think girls really did apprenticeships,” she said at the time.  “I was under the impression there would be very few options for apprenticeships, but it turns out that there were actually loads of opportunities.”

With the help of Strabane Training Services Victoria secured a part-time job with Russells – a shoes shop operating in Omagh for 111 years.

Earning while she learned, Victoria gained a Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service and is now in a Level 3 Business Admin Role with Kenwell Engineering where she carries out front of house, administration and marketing duties.

Kenwell Director Gareth Kenwell said the programme has been mutually beneficial to staff and the business.

“Because the Apprenticeship Programme is delivered on site at Kenwell Engineering, our staff get very real and relevant training which is tailored to each one of them. 

“It has helped me to both recruit and retrain staff, some of whom were from other industry backgrounds.”

To find out more about what is happening in Derry Strabane for Apprenticeship Week visit –

You can follow Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2020 on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #NIAW2020.


98 Strand Road, BT48 7NN
Northern Ireland