John Mullarkey was presented with a finalist trophy by Minister Dr Stephen Farry at the Apprentice of the Year Awards held in Belfast on 20 May 2015, in association with the Department of Education and Learning.
John, from Lisnaskea has completed his advanced (Level 3) Engineering Apprenticeship at South West College (SWC), and will commence the Higher Award (Level 4) in September 2015. John has been employed by Balcas since 2011. Balcas, whose Head Office is in Enniskillen, is a leading timber products supplier, and has pioneered biomass renewable energy in the British Isles. John is based in the biomass Combined Heat and Power plant in Enniskillen which produces renewable energy. Residual heat from electricity generation is used to dry locally sourced woodfibre that is then processed into high-energy fuel pellets – marketed under the company’s brites brand, displacing 750 million litres of oil in homes, commercial premises and industry.
Johnathan Pollock; Energy Plant Manager, Balcas, said: “John has developed into an integral part of our team demonstrating and leading through practical thinking, effective decision making with excellent interpersonal skills and exceptional ability to maintain and engineer out problems with an acute appreciation for safety and production requirements.”
Gareth Rooney; Curriculum Manager for Training, SWC, said: “John has an inquiring mind, and is adept at getting to the bottom of engineering challenges and at striving for a full understanding of engineering concepts relating to practical activities.”
John said: “Engineering has always been a passion of mine; fully understanding the way machinery and processes operate. Balcas Timber Ltd offers a wide variety of engineering challenges, allowing me to demonstrate my ability to fault-find, rectify and improve plant issues efficiently.”
John was short listed as one of 6 as a finalist for NI Apprentice of the Year (6 out of 7000) but narrowly lost out to Gavin Boyle an electrical apprentice. He was however, along with the other finalists commended for ability, commitment and professionalism.