Derry’s NWRC’s only female welder shortlisted for Apprentice of the Year Award

A North West Regional College (NWRC) Apprentice who is the only female welder working alongside a team of male welders at Fleming Agri Products, has been shortlisted as a finalist in the ‘Insider - Made in Northern Ireland’ Apprentice of the Year Award 2022.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 6th May 2022, 5:18 pm

Chloe Rankin, 19, who is studying for the Level 3 Apprenticeship at NWRC’s Springtown Campus, has worked with her college and employers to promote careers in welding to women and young people across the North West.

She’s delighted to have made the final three in the Apprentice category of the awards which recognise and reward the excellence of the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland and showcase the successful achievements of innovative and forward-thinking businesses across the whole region. Her employer, Fleming Agri, has also made the top three in the Manufacturing Apprenticeship/Training Scheme Award category.

Chloe said: “People are always surprised when they hear what my job is. Seeing the shock on their faces never gets old, but everyone thinks it’s class that I’m a woman welder.”

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Chloe Rankin, 19, who is studying for the Level 3 Apprenticeship at NWRC's Springtown has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 'Insider - Made in Northern Ireland' Apprentice of the Year Award 2022.

“I like being hands-on when I’m learning and working. My experience has been good working as an apprentice, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else. I don’t think things would have gone as well for me if I’d gone down the strictly academic route as I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of sitting in a classroom all day, every day, and I like having a bit of freedom when working.

“An apprenticeship is a great route for your career as you are learning a new skill but also getting the experience while getting paid.”

Lecturer at NWRC, Justin Sterritt, who nominated Chloe for the award, described her as an “outstanding example to young women everywhere”.

He added: “Chloe is fully committed to her role and is driven to become an exceptional welder. She is not afraid to get stuck in at work, is confident in her abilities, and has shown she is as capable, if not more capable in some areas, to do the job. Her skills at welding have bloomed over her time at Fleming Agri and she is now capable of the toughest of jobs, working on her own initiative wherever possible.”

The winners of the awards will be announced at a special lunchtime event taking place at The Titanic Hotel, Belfast on May 13 2022.

Applications are now open for Apprenticeships at NWRC beginning in September 2022. For more information and to apply online go to