The MEGA network (Manufacturing & Engineering Growth & Advancement) was established in 2019 to advance and grow world-class manufacturing and engineering by attracting, developing and retaining people. Their mission is to promote the manufacturing and engineering sector as a source of high-value, long-term employment and to create transformational career opportunities that deliver skills for life.
In just over two years, the MEGA network has established itself as a successful and highly respected collaborative skills network, with industry leading and shaping skills solutions best suited to meet their own needs. This initiative sits centre-square “on-strategy” with every major government programme and policy relating to economic development, as well as employability and skills growth in the region.
Maria Curran, Mega Project Director states:
“We have been working in collaboration with various stakeholders to transform careers by providing a breadth of innovative career paths and development opportunities for our local people. We launched the Mega Degree Apprenticeship in Sept 2021, in conjunction with Ulster University and the Department for the Economy, to provide undergraduates with an abundance of real-time industry experience. The final result being highly skilled graduates, ready for local employment within international companies.
Apprenticeships at this level empower all young people, regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds, to attain higher level education at no cost. It removes the financial barriers to all. In addition, the apprentices positively impact their companies with real-time application of their theory. We have a range of students with testimonies on just how active they are in astoundingly short periods of employment. For those people who respond positively to experiential learning, and with the right support mechanisms in place, an Apprenticeship creates a springboard for a promising career and can ignite so many opportunities for the participants as well as their employers.”
Key to the success of the Degree Apprenticeship is quality training and mentoring. The Mega Network are delighted that the James Kane Foundation have given us the support to create a new role for a Mentor and Support Officer, who will geographically cover all companies in Northern Ireland employing a Mega Degree Apprentice.”
Michael Wilson, Chair of The James Kane Foundation agreed:
“The Foundation recognises the need for, and the benefits of, mentors in areas of learning. We believe this role will have a significant impact on supporting apprenticeships through their experience within the workplace, but equally it will also support employers seeking to create apprenticeship career paths within their businesses. The Foundation is delighted to support MEGA with this initiative and we look forward to seeing the positive outcomes resulting from this new role over the coming months.
“The Mentor and Support Officer position is key to empowering our employers with demonstrations of best practice in mentorship. They will also ensure all stakeholders are engaged throughout the process, supporting the apprentice and companies in their journey of learning. The James Kane foundation have given us the invaluable resource to achieve this.”