The Armagh City Hotel is thrilled to celebrate the recent successful completion of Level 2 NVQ Diploma programme, by two dedicated members of their Housekeeping team.

Armagh City Hotel Housekeepers, Ellie McManus (left) and Krisitana Caunane (right) with their NVQ Level 2 Diplomas in Housekeeping

The hotel has a long-standing partnership with People 1st, the program facilitator, and takes pride in aiding its valued employees’ professional progression through various industry-specific courses. The latest achievers are Housekeepers Ellie McManus and Kristiana Caunane, both receiving NVQ Level 2 Diplomas in Housekeeping.

Armagh City Hotel delighted with the achievements!

Regarding the girls’ accomplishments, Senior HR Advisor Siobhan Maxwell expressed her joy, stating,

” I’ve been so happy seeing the girls complete their NVQs – both girls have worked exceptionally hard on their course with their People’s 1st tutor Colleen. We started working with People 1st last year, and we have had eight employees, including managers part take in different qualifications. Completing these courses as you work has been amazing, People 1st have been so flexible with working around the girls’ work schedule. All classes and assessments take place during working hours and that has been a huge draw for our participants as some may not have the option to complete a qualification outside of working hours “

The new All Age Apprenticeships will also be so positive for the hospitality sector as it will allow employees who were outside of the age criteria to take part now in an Apprenticeship and gain a qualification, as Siobhan explains:

 ” When the girls commenced the course, apprenticeships were only open to 16-24 years olds, however, apprenticeships now have no restrictions and are open to all ages, so we are hoping to offer NVQ programmes across all age groups within the hotel to existing and new employees. The courses can be tailored to each participants individual needs, depending on their current role and what they see their role developing into through additional optional modules. Providing these courses for our existing and new employees is our way of supporting them in developing their careers with us.”

Management team of Armagh City Hotel toasts to great success!

General Manager Henk Compier echoed the sentiments, presenting Ellie and Kristiana with celebratory Prosecco to mark their achievements. Henk emphasised his pride in the girls and their growth over the past two years, attributing it to the course’s impact on their confidence and skills within the hotel.

“We are so proud of Ellie and Kristiana on the completion of their NVQ’s, both girls have been with us just over two years and in the last year in particular their confidence has increased immensely, that I believe is down to participating in the course – the knowledge and the skills they have gained from the course has helped them tremendously in their roles within the hotel, I can see both of them progressing through the ranks within the hotel.” 

The team at the Armagh City hotel really feel that the difference has come from the fact that the training is able to be undertaken during working hours while the team members are able to earn while the learn and allows them to gain a qualification while they are gaining solid experience and a salary too, helping to alleviate some of the pressures that come with a return to studying!

“That is the reason we work with People’s 1st in delivering these courses, on the job training and development is so important, however, this course and the subsequent qualification has given both girls unmatched knowledge and confidence. Once again, I am so proud of them both.”

General Manager Henk Compier

Onwards and upwards at the Armagh City Hotel for the girls!

Both Kristiana and Ellie are so delighted to achieve this qualification and know that it is a great step on their career path and are looking forward to implementing everything that they have learned over the past year. Commenting on her experience of the course, Kristiana said: 

” It was different because I didn’t know you couldn’t do something like this with work. Our tutor Colleen from People 1st, created such a bond with us and there were things that I didn’t know going into the programme and now I do so it’s nice to know that I have this foundation now for the future.”

Kristiana’s department colleague and classmate Ellie shared a similar experience, stating:

“It was such a new experience. I was learning things that I thought I knew already, but I didn’t. We had a great tutor and created a bond and it was actually really nice. The NVQ Level 2 is better for the future. If I wanted to move on or move up in hospitality it will help with that.”

You can find out more about the Armagh City Hotel on their website and you can also find out more about the wide variety of Hospitality NVQ’s that you can do with People 1st, on our website

In conclusion, both Ellie and Kristiana’s success stories underscore the hotel’s commitment to employee development through tailored courses, fostering confidence, and knowledge crucial for career progression.

Don Burns, People 1st Construction Centre Manager ( second from left) with Industry leaders across Northern Ireland

The construction industry in the United Kingdom and Ireland has always been a powerhouse of economic growth and development. However, in recent years, it has faced a unique set of challenges when it comes to attracting and retaining young, fresh talent. With an ageing workforce and a growing demand for skilled professionals, the construction sector must adapt to ensure a sustainable and vibrant future.

How prepared is Northern Ireland’s construction industry to meet the ambitions of 2050 and beyond?

That was one of the main questions posed at a recent roundtable discussion at the Construction Industry Training Board NI (CITBNI) and one that our Centre Manager for Construction Don Burns, was on hand to answer, exploring the challenges faced by the industry in getting young talent through the door and, more importantly, keeping them engaged and motivated to stay.

“In my experience, the challenge is more nuanced and centres more on retaining young people in the industry rather than that initial attraction. The attraction exists. A major government arm’s length body recently had over 480 applications to a call for six electrician apprenticeships. However, when we get young people into the industry, it can take between three to five years for them to qualify and earn an attractive wage. The reality is that in that timeframe, other industries and sectors can appear more appealing. If we want to have an industry that can deliver on future challenges, we need to improve the attractiveness of not only entering the industry, but the long-term benefits of staying there. ” Don Burns Centre Manager, People 1st Construction Training Academy
A heating engineer installing underfloor heating system
A heating engineer installing underfloor heating system

What other challenges do we face when trying to attract fresh talent to the Construction industry across Northern Ireland?

  • Perceptions and Stereotypes:
  • One of the primary challenges in attracting young talent to the construction industry is the negative perception that often surrounds it. Many young people still hold outdated stereotypes of construction work as physically demanding, low-paying, and lacking in opportunities for career growth. Changing these perceptions is crucial to drawing in fresh faces.
  • Lack of Awareness:
  • Many young individuals may not even consider construction as a viable career option due to a lack of awareness about the diverse and rewarding roles within the industry. Promoting construction careers through educational institutions and outreach programs is essential.
  • Skills Gap:
  • While the industry is keen to embrace new talent, there is often a disconnect between the skills required and those possessed by young job seekers. Bridging this skills gap through training and apprenticeship programs is vital.
  • Safety Concerns:
  • Safety is a paramount concern in the construction sector, and young workers may be hesitant to enter an industry with perceived higher risks. Ensuring stringent safety measures and offering comprehensive training can address this concern.
  • Career Progression:
  • Young professionals seek opportunities for career advancement and development. The construction industry must showcase clear pathways for growth, from entry-level positions to senior management roles.
  • Work-Life Balance:
  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is increasingly important to the younger generation. Construction companies need to consider flexible work arrangements and other benefits to accommodate this need.
  • Technological Adaptation:
  • The construction industry is rapidly evolving with the integration of advanced technologies like BIM, drones, and AI. Embracing these innovations can make the industry more appealing to tech-savvy young talent.
  • Mentorship and Support:
  • Creating mentorship programs and providing ongoing support to young workers can significantly boost retention rates. Offering guidance and constructive feedback helps them feel valued and motivated.
A construction site safety inspector.
A construction site safety inspector.

People 1st is a major contract holder locally in Northern Ireland for Construction training at all levels, from school leavers through to Level 4 Site Supervisors.

We work with a range of construction specialists to get staff certified and qualified in joinery, bricklaying and roofing at our custom-built training facility in CITBNI headquarters at Crumlin. We have a team of talented tutors, and Don the Centre Manager and his team of support staff, there to assist each student in achieving their goals- whether you are new to the sector and wanting to achieve a Level 1 City and Guilds qualification or whether you are an experienced site supervisor, needing their Level 3 or Level 4 qualification to renew their CSR Gold Card. We cater for a range of levels and expertise and our team is always on hand and ready to create a bespoke training package that suits your company’s needs, so reach out to Don and the team at our CITBNI Training Academy on 028 9030 3982 or email Don at [email protected]. You can also find out more about our construction qualifications here:

To read more about the round table discussion please find the link to the full article below:

What next for new talent in the construction industry locally?

Attracting and retaining young talent is crucial for the long-term sustainability and growth of the UK construction industry. By addressing the challenges of perception, skills development, safety, career progression, work-life balance, technological adaptation, and mentorship, the construction sector can create an environment that is not only appealing to young professionals but also fosters their growth and commitment. With concerted efforts, the industry can build a brighter future that benefits both the newcomers and the construction landscape as a whole.

Apprenticeships have long been recognised as a valuable pathway to acquiring new skills, advancing one’s career, and boosting employability. Traditionally, these programs were often associated with younger individuals aged 16-24, looking to kickstart their professional journey. However, times have changed, and the doors to apprenticeships have swung open for individuals of all ages. The Department for the Economy’s ApprenticeshipsNI programme is leading the way, embracing a diverse pool of applicants. 

Expanding Horizons: No Age Criteria

Gone are the days when apprenticeships were exclusively for school leavers or young adults. Now, there is no age limit to who can benefit from these invaluable programs. Whether you’re in your twenties or your fifties, if you’re eager to learn, develop new skills, and enhance your career prospects, apprenticeships are open to you. This inclusive approach ensures that everyone has a chance to grow professionally, regardless of their age.

Our Areas of Specialisation

At People 1st, a proud provider of the Apprenticeships NI programme under the Department for the Economy, we offer a wide range of apprenticeship opportunities in ten specialised areas. These areas cover various industries, catering to a diverse set of interests and career aspirations. Here are the ten areas we specialise in:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Hair, Barbering and Beauty
  • Transport and Distribution
  • Hospitality and Catering
  • Business Administration and IT
  • Children’s Care Learning and Development
  • Construction and Building Services
  • Retail and Customer Care
  • Team Leading and Management
  • Finance

Diving Deeper into Apprenticeships

Now that you’re aware of the diverse fields we cater to, let’s delve into what an apprenticeship entails and why it’s a fantastic opportunity for individuals of all ages:

  • Hands-on Learning: Apprenticeships are characterised by learning on the job. This means you gain practical experience and skills directly related to your chosen field.
  • Earn While You Learn: One of the key advantages of apprenticeships is that you earn a wage while you’re training. This can help alleviate financial pressures while you pursue your qualification.
  • Industry-Recognised Qualifications: Successful completion of an apprenticeship often results in industry-recognised qualifications, such as NVQs, which can significantly boost your career prospects.
  • Mentorship and Support: You’ll have the opportunity to work closely with experienced professionals who can guide and mentor you throughout your apprenticeship journey.
  • Career Progression: Apprenticeships can lead to fulfilling, long-term careers. Many individuals who start as apprentices go on to become leaders in their respective fields.
  • Adaptability: Regardless of your prior experience or age, apprenticeships can be tailored to suit your needs and learning pace.
Would you love to support those in your local community

How to start an Apprenticeship with People 1st

If you’re interested in embarking on an apprenticeship journey, we encourage you to reach out to our dedicated team. Our experts can guide you through the application process, answer your questions, and help you select the apprenticeship program that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Whether you’re looking to enhance your current career or make a fresh start, there’s an apprenticeship opportunity waiting for you. Find out further information here and who to contact in your sector:

Apprenticeships are no longer reserved for the young; they are a universal path to skill development, career advancement, and personal growth. As a provider for the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeships NI programme, we are proud to offer these opportunities to individuals of all ages. So, if you’re ready to take the next step in your professional journey, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. Your dream career could be just an apprenticeship away.

Please find the Department for the Economy’s press release announcing the All Age Apprenticeships below:

The Department for Economy announcing the All Age Apprenticships with  two apprentices holding an Northern IreIand map cut out that says 'All Age apprentices on it. Surrounded by a manager and a representative from the Department.
The Department for Economy NI announced All Age Apprenticeships today across Northern Ireland

People 1st – Skills for Life and Work

Are you a school leaver with big dreams and a passion to succeed? Are you wondering what to do after getting your results and thinking about your next step…then take it with confidence at People 1st and our school leavers vocational training courses across Northern Ireland. 

We have a school leavers vocational training course called ‘Skills for Life and Work’

This training course takes place at our 6 learning centres across Northern Ireland and is specifically created for school leavers to allow you to earn while you learn. You get paid to study with People 1st and get an NVQ Qualification and real practical experience to help set you up for the world of work. Making that jump from school to a full-time job can be too much sometimes, so this course allows you to get some work experience while getting trained by our talented team of tutors at the same time. 

We believe that success is built on a strong foundation of support, guidance, and encouragement. Our dedicated team is the heartbeat of People 1st and we have been training school leavers for over 25 years, and we want to help shape your journey towards a brighter future.

Make the right choice and chose People 1st for School Leavers Vocational Training Courses across Northern Ireland
Future change start freedom journey

How coming to People 1st to do a school leavers vocational training course, is a great move!

We like to think that we offer a fantastic environment for post-GCSE school leavers vocational training courses across Northern Ireland and we stand out from the crowd because of the following things:

1. A Caring Approach:

Our team members are more than educators – they’re mentors, motivators, and champions of your growth. From day one, you’ll experience their genuine care for your success, ensuring that you feel valued, heard, and supported throughout your learning journey.

2. Expertise that Matters:

The People 1st team is a pool of experienced professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. Their expertise spans various vocational areas, allowing them to provide you with insights and guidance that go beyond the textbooks.

3. Personalised Attention:

With smaller class sizes, you’re not just a face in the crowd at People 1st. Our staff-to-student ratio ensures that you receive personalised attention, enabling you to thrive academically and personally. Classes are practical and interactive and there is help readily available whenever you need it.

4. Career Coaching:

Navigating your educational journey can sometimes be overwhelming, especially when it comes to making career decisions. Our career coaches are here to help you explore your options, set goals, and align your choices with your aspirations. They’re dedicated to guiding you towards a path that’s best suited for your unique strengths and interests.

5. Building Confidence:

We understand that confidence is a cornerstone of success. Our staff is committed to nurturing your self-assurance, not just in your chosen field but in your overall growth as an individual. Through practical experience, mentorship, and positive reinforcement, you’ll find your confidence soaring to new heights.

6. A Supportive Community:

The camaraderie at People 1st extends beyond the classroom. Our Student Support Staff foster a warm and inclusive environment where you’re encouraged to collaborate, share ideas, and build connections with your peers. This sense of community enriches your learning experience and prepares you for the real-world workplace dynamics.

7. Going the Extra Mile:

From providing extra resources to offering one-on-one help, our staff members go above and beyond to ensure your success. Their dedication is evident in their commitment to your growth, both academically and personally.

At People 1st, we’re more than just a further education – we’re a family that’s dedicated to helping you achieve your dreams. Our ensure that you’re not just gaining knowledge; you’re building a strong foundation for a thriving future. Ready to experience the difference that a supportive team can make in your educational journey? Join us at People 1st and let us be your partners in success and get started on our school leavers vocational training courses across Northern Ireland.

We offer up to 15 subjects to chose from on our School Leavers Vocational Training Courses across Northern Ireland with People 1st. Get onto the right path today.
Confused? Start your journey off on the right path with People 1st.

Here’s why choosing People 1st can set you up for a bright future:

Earn While You Learn: Say goodbye to traditional education costs. We pay YOU £40 a week to learn with us! No need to worry about fees – just focus on building your skills.

Hands-On Training: Our small class sizes ensure you receive personalised attention and hands-on training. Get practical experience and gain confidence in your chosen field.

Explore 15 Vocational Areas: Whether you’re drawn to Beauty, Catering, IT, Hairdressing, Barbering, Joinery, Bricklaying, Childcare or any of our other subjects, we have something for everyone. Find your passion and unlock your potential.

Guidance Every Step of the Way: Unsure of your path? Our dedicated career coaches will help you navigate your options and choose the right course for YOU.

No Prior Qualifications Needed: Don’t have GCSE passes? No problem! We’re here to help you succeed, no matter your starting point.

NUS Student Card: Enjoy student discounts and benefits with your NUS student card, exclusively for People 1st learners.

Find out more general inforamation aboutschool leavers vocational training courses across Northern Ireland here on the NI Direct website:

We are dedicated to helping you turn your aspirations into reality and our branch in the Dairy Farm Centre is open over the coming days and weeks, so please drop in anytime for a chat to our Student Support Officers in your local office 👉🏼 find their details here:

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply NOW on or scan the QR code on our advert and secure your spot for our September intake

Your journey to success starts with People 1st. Let’s make it happen together! 🚀

We have spaces NOW for 4 apprentice roofers for a building contractor who is based in Carrickfergus!! If you know someone aged 16-24 who wants to get into a trade? – then we want to hear from you. Get trained, get paid and get employed right from the beginning.

People 1st have opened up 4 spaces on our new course beginning next month. This is an incredible opportunity to get onto an apprenticeship that will have you trained up in a few short years and on the road to earning great money!!

Roofers in NI earn over £50,000 a year!! Thats more than a dentist, a teacher, and lots of other professions across NI! Put yourself onto a firm footing now for an incredible future with People 1st. We have a top training centre 15 mins outside Belfast where all our construction guys, including roofers, come one day a week for specialised training and then the other days are spent working with your employer!!

We have 4 vacancies ready to fill asap- our training team are ready, the employers are ready… are you ready? then contact us and sign up today by emailing our construction specialist Don on [email protected] or call 02890303982

Invest in your warehousing team with an NVQ qualification and specialist training to develop your workforce into a team of motivated, efficient and skilled individuals. Warehousing is a crucial part of the local supply chain and with rising costs across the sector, it is more important than ever to have skilled and certified staff within your warehousing and logistics team to drive your business forward.

As demand continues to surge across this fast-paced sector, we recognise that warehousing staff need training and development to meet specific sector needs. We are offering an Apprenticeship in Warehousing to local businesses to help address skills shortages in this area by training new staff members or up-skilling existing team members. Use the skills and knowledge of our highly experienced tutors and assessors to learn how to handle these rapid advancements and improve the processes within your warehouse setting and ensure industry standards are met for quality, cost, and efficiency.

The next intake is open now for applications and with the courses starting on an ongoing basis, it is the ideal time to implement some changes and invest in your staff. The issue of an ageing workforce in Warehousing means an apprenticeship is a great way to inject fresh talent and incentivise younger team members so they are trained to progress when the time comes. Act now and make decisive changes for the better for your business- we are your preferred partner with over 25 years’ experience, delivering apprenticeship courses, People 1st will support you every step of the way.

We provide one to one guidance for the apprentice and will liaise directly with them to take care of the paperwork, and let you get on with running your business. Each Apprenticeship training is tailored to the needs of the individual employer and key skills delivered in this apprenticeship include: Organising Planning Customer Service IT Skills Teamwork Communication – formal and informal Personal Development And any other skills you feel the employee could benefit from!

We can also offer essential skills training in Maths and English to those who need it. Benefits to employee: Employed immediately and paid to learn Gain qualifications related to your industry Learn good problem-solving skills Work in a fast-paced environment Learn latest technology Work ‘on the job’ alongside experienced team members Receive ‘off the job’ quality training specific to Warehousing Receive mentorship from People 1st Gain skills for future progression.

 An Apprenticeship is the key to driving staff retention by investing in your team. Call our warehousing specialist Andrea at People 1st today on 07501724787 or email her at [email protected] to find out more about joining the May intake. Enrolment is now open so contact us today to secure your place!

We offer both Level 2 and Level 3 in this Apprenticeship, costs are as follow: Level 2: £850 plus vat plus initial £55 registration fee Level 3: £950 plus vat plus initial £65 registration fee.

Avail of full funding currently if you meet criteria on our Apprenticeships programme page.