A group of students are future-proofing their careers in the National Broadband rollout after completing a unique traineeship in Donegal.
Being a fibre cable splicer is “the best job in the world” according to James Mc Geoghegan, who trained in Communication Systems Installation last year. He is now working with leading telecommunications company Circet creating high-speed fibre broadband connections.
James gained his skills through a traineeship developed by Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service and Circet to meet the needs of the communications cabling industry.
Out of the class of 2022, 80% of students gained jobs with Circet after just under a year of training, including two months’ work experience.
While employment with the company is not guaranteed, the skills can take you anywhere. Cable splicers are in demand across Ireland, the UK and the US. Donegal ETB equips students with globally recognised City & Guilds Certificate in Communications Cabling along with extra modules such as Vehicle Mounted Hydraulic Lorry Loader, Boom-Lift Cherry Picker, Safe Pass, manual handling, First Aid and many other courses essential in the world of construction and communications.
“I always wanted to go into telecoms,” said James. “Within a minute of working, I saw how good this job is. You go everywhere, you see everything, you are in different places and doing different things.”
His colleague Craig Shaw agrees. “I was able to walk into a classroom and just months later I was able to walk into work. It’s so much quicker than a college degree.”
Craig was a plasterer by trade before deciding to change jobs during the pandemic. He enjoyed training under David Mc Groary, who has eight years of experience with Circet.
For Craig, the work experience helped him realise that telecoms was a great sector to be part of.
“That was when I realised this is the job I want to do.”
Steven Doherty, a fellow colleague, progressed so well that he has inspired his brother to follow in his footsteps and apply for the same traineeship. Steven said: “Our tutor David was very good. It was a long time since I was in a classroom, so it was a good opportunity to get back in and I fitted in no problem.”
The work has already taken the new recruits to places such as Achill Island, Connemara, Longford and Creeslough. They are guided by local mentors Matthew Ward and David Ruane who are supported by Olivia Hamilton, Circet’s Learning and Development Officer.
The government’s target is that by 2028, every single home and business in the whole of Ireland will have access to gigabit broadband. Once the cables are installed, the work for splicers will evolve into upgrades and maintenance.
As the rollout accelerates further, Donegal ETB is enrolling a new cohort of students for September 2023.
For those who want to secure a place now, they can apply online through the ETB’s website course finder: https://www.donegaletb.ie/course-detail/?CourseId=370673.
For further information contact FET Recruitment on 074 9120500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Traineeships are funded by the European Union.