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Donegal ETB & Killybegs Marine Cluster Collaboration

New Marine Engineering Traineeship Developed to meet Industry Skills Needs of Killybegs Blue Economy

Donegal Education and Training Board (ETB), through its Further Education and Training (FET) Service, has developed Ireland’s first Marine Engineering traineeship in collaboration with engineering professionals and employers involved with the Killybegs Marine Cluster.

The course has been developed to meet an identified skills gap in engineering within the fishing, marine engineering and offshore wind sectors in this region.

Killybegs is one of Europe’s leading commercial fishing ports with huge potential to drive substantial economic growth for the entire North West of Ireland and beyond through the fishing, marine engineering and offshore wind sectors.

Blue Economy

The Killybegs blue economy, currently comprising seven blue economy marine sectors including Commercial Fishing, Fish Processing, Renewable Energies, Offshore Marine Services and Marine Engineering, has a combined annual turnover in excess of €300 million, 94% of which is generated from export markets. Employing over 1,000 people means having a skilled pipeline of workers for entry level roles is central to its future.

Recognising this potential prompted industry and education and training providers to design a platform to provide a pipeline of skilled talent to future proof industry in Killybegs. This was facilitated by the Killybegs Marine Cluster, an industry-driven marine cluster that aims to build capacity with businesses working within the blue economy which currently has twenty members across these sectors.

Companies such as Mooney Boats, MMG Welding, Seaquest, KER, Swan Net Gundry, Barry Electronics and KT Nets completed a profiling exercise around their skills and training needs, resulting in the development of a custom-built Marine Engineering traineeship by Donegal ETB to address the skills gap, meet industry needs and help to position the region for future sustainable growth opportunities.

Speaking about the development of the course, Donegal ETB’s Area Training Manager Vinny McGroary, said, “Our FET Service realises the importance of employer input and collaboration when developing our training programmes. We have been particularly impressed with the Killybegs Marine Cluster members for their insight into the importance of professional training while also giving of their valuable time to support and inform our programme development team.

“We believe this new innovative traineeship will help the Killybegs engineering sector to secure a sustainable supply of ready-made home-grown talent which will be vital in supporting their growth and success in the years ahead.”

Course Outline

Traineeships combine learning in the classroom and experience in the workplace to improve employment outcomes for participants and increase industry retention and productivity. This full-time course offers thirty-two weeks of classroom and workshop-based learning, along with fourteen weeks of industry placement. The course covers engineering technology, welding, fabrication, safety, ticketed training and transversal skills needed for the workplace, with additional training in associated personal effectiveness and digital skills training.

Employment Prospects

The certification will provide work-related qualification for general operative employment, with underlying basic knowledge and skills of the industry. It also provides qualifications at a level that enables employment progression opportunities within the Killybegs Cluster Group member organisations and to apprenticeship programmes within the engineering sector.

Applications are now being accepted for this full-time course which is funded by the European Union – NextGenerationEU. Those interested in securing a place should apply online through Donegal ETB’s website (using the keyword marine): Alternatively, call FET Course Recruitment on +353 (0) 7491 20500.