Cork College of FET celebrates apprenticeship graduation

Pictured at the Presentation of National Apprenticeship Awards by Cork Education and Training Board and the National Apprenticeship Office, at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Little Island, were Denis Leamy, Chief Executive Cork ETB; Valerie Cowman, Manager Cork College of FET Bishopstown Campus; Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Finance; Damian Walshe, National Apprenticeship Office and John Fitzgibbons, Director of Further Education and Training Cork ETB. (Pic: Jim Coughlan)

Cork College of FET celebrated the graduation of 450 apprentices on Friday, 10th November. Apprentices graduated across a range of fields, including 22 of the 25 craft apprentices three Post-2016 apprenticeships.

The profile of apprentices is changing- it’s not solely the preserve of school leavers. For instance, graduating on the day with a QQI level 6 Certificate-Craft in Motor Mechanics, in her 50s was Mary Russell, who went back to complete her apprenticeship later in life. She urged others to follow their dreams and to take on an apprenticeship, saying “no matter what your gender or age – apprenticeship is for everyone”.

The ceremony was also attended by employers who supported and mentored the apprentices through their training.

The graduation was attended by Minister Michael McGrath T.D., Denis Leamy, CE of Cork ETB, John Fitzgibbons, Director of Further Education & Training for Cork ETB and Damien Walshe of the National Apprenticeship Office.

Denis Leamy, CE of Cork ETB congratulated the apprentices and urged them to keep studying.

“Congratulations on your achievement. You have finished one part of your educational journey. Don’t stop here and continue to study and learn and grow. I wish you all the best in your future careers,” he said.


The first group of National Craft Butchery apprentices at Cork College of FET graduated on the day. They completed their training in the state-of-the-art Cork College of FET- Westside Hospitality Centre, under the expert guidance of Ger O’Callaghan.

Also graduating was Lisa O’ Sullivan, Level 6 Auctioneering and Property Services, who won Apprentice of the Year in the Property category in Apprentice of the Year 2023.

Commenting on her win, Lisa said: “Earning the title of Apprentice of the Year means the world to me. Juggling a full-time job and two years of studying has been a challenging journey, but it was so work it. I am passionate about my work and I see it as my lifelong career. There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction I get from helping people find new homes and embark on their next adventures. I am incredibly honored to receive such an accolade”.