By Elizabeth Lee
LEADING retailer Screwfix is searching for the best apprentice in Ireland and the UK in its annual competition.
The retailer, which trades across 12 stores in Ireland, is extending its annual competition to Irish colleagues and customers to support young people who are working in the construction sector.
The pandemic has presented many challenges to the construction industry, with the current closure of sites significantly impacting employment and ongoing learning opportunities for young apprentices.
Demand for essential construction services has remained high and Irish tradespeople have continued to work throughout the pandemic, with many reporting that they have had to say no to jobs because they are too busy and there are not enough other skilled tradespeople to support them.
According to SOLAS, the state agency tasked with building Ireland’s further education and training sector, there were 4,687 apprentices in the construction sector at the end of 2020. To support this sector and achieve growing housebuilding targets into 2021, it will be vital to sustain these ‘earn and learn’ opportunities for youth employment, according to Screwfix.
Following the launch of the Screwfix Top Tradesperson competition last year, the retailer is now extending the career-boosting accolade to apprentices nationwide to celebrate their outstanding work and professionalism as a first of its kind to support the growing trade industry in Ireland. The winner will walk away with a €10,000 bundle including high-spec tools, the latest technology to boost their trade and training to support their ongoing development. The worthy winner will prove to be a standout candidate in their trade, an innovative thinker and a professional who goes above and beyond for their customers.
“Every year we are amazed by the outstanding quality of entrants and this year we are on the lookout for apprentices who go above and beyond to succeed within their chosen trade,” said Simon Jackson, customer and digital director of Screwfix.
“We’ve seen how this career-boosting accolade and prize bundle helps kick-start an apprentice’s career. Good luck to everyone who enters, we can’t wait to crown our winner!”
The competition is free to enter and open to all apprentices across Ireland and the UK who are in college or working with a mentor. Apprentices can enter directly or be put forward by their college lecturer or their employer. All entrants must be over the age of 16. Entries for ‘Screwfix’s Trade Apprentice’ are open until Monday 22 February. To find out more and to enter, please search www.Screwfix.ie/sfta