All posts by Paula McCloskey

Specialist Academy Joinery Apprenticeship 2019

The Specialist Academy is now open for applications!

Specialist Joinery Group has been providing joinery apprenticeship programmes since 1988. This investment has created a unique culture of knowledge sharing and innovation, enabling the company to further promote its distinct brand of elite joinery.

Our Academy is based at Specialist HQ in Maghera. It is a standalone facility comprising of manufacturing shop floor, computer aided design suite, canteen, offices and meeting spaces.

The course is delivered by a team of experienced professionals, who are involved in every aspect of Specialist Joinery Group operations. Apprentices will benefit from one to one mentoring and engaging group projects, which teach the foundations of our craft, inspire innovation and develop problem solving skills.

This Apprenticeship provides the ideal mix of formal training, on the job experience and long term career progression opportunities.

Specialist Joinery Group is accredited providers of NVQ Level 2 training, underpinning a long established culture of excellence in our business. Our NVQ programme has been specifically tailored to our operational needs and is fully accredited by ETCNI. This investment equips staff to consistently deliver high quality standards and the programme has received great praise from all those involved.

Applications are now open for our next programme starting in September 2019. Places are limited.

If you or someone you know would be interested in our programme then Download your application form and return back to us before 19th April.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Team SJG contribute £172,500 to charity in anniversary year

Specialist Joinery Group smash fundraising target with outstanding support from local community.

During a special year of celebration to mark 30 years in business the team at Specialist Joinery Group made a staggering £172,500 charity contribution. This outstanding amount was raised through a Community Fundraising Challenge, which aimed to raise £100,000 and a series of Pro Bono charity projects completed by the group to mark their anniversary year.

The team totally exceeded their original £100,000 target, which aimed to raise £10,000 each for ten charities that had been carefully selected by their staff. The entire Specialist Joinery Group family wish to thank the community for their outstanding support for their yearlong campaign.  A grand total of £122,500 was raised by the Specialist Joinery Group team which benefiting 19 brilliant charitable causes.

This company is known for it’s big heart and their efforts didn’t stop there. As well as their 30th Anniversary £100,000 Challenge, the company were also involved in several Pro Bono projects valued at nearly 50,000 for Foyle Hospice, Derry, The Stephen Lawrence Centre, London and Saint Vincent De Paul.

Speaking about the total Ciaran O’Hagan said “We received incredible support from the people of Mid Ulster and we wish to sincerely thank every single person who supported this great effort by way of donations, attending events and volunteering their time. Every event from Project Santa 2017, Project Tractor, Mid Ulster Truck Run and Project Santa 2018 received amazing support with nearly 10,000 people visiting Specialist HQ over the course the year. Thank you.”

The original ten charities, chosen by the team at SJG received cheques of £10,000 each. They were; Steps, Alzheimer’s Society, Our Lady of Lourdes Pilgrimage Society, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke, Cystic Fibrosis, Marie Curie, Children’s Cancer Unit, NI Children’s Hospice, Kings College Hospital, London and Sands. However after the group smashed their original target they again, consulted their team to carefully select an additional 9 causes who are close to the hearts of our team. They are; Forte Riding for the Disabled, Foyle Search & Rescue, DePaul, FACTS, Down Syndrome South Derry, National Autistic Society, Granaghan Outreach, Help us Help Others and Maghera Cross Community Link Food Bank.

A special presentation event was held at the company’s Maghera Headquarters on 19th December. The 3 acres bespoke manufacturing plant, has recently been extended and it’s official opening coincided with the Group’s 30th Anniversary celebrations which saw Clients from across Europe gathering with staff and friends to celebrate a new era of digital manufacturing in the business, which is renowned quality joinery work in the Major Project market.

The company also gained a significant accolade at the Irish Fit Out Awards in November, where they were awarded “Fit out Sub Contractor of the Year” in recognition of their contribution to their staff, investment in learning and development and the completion of several significant projects including Ulster Hospital, Amazon EU HQ, Avolon Aviation and DLA Piper’s new London Offices.

Specialist Work Experiences

Specialist Joinery Group love to get involved with our local communities and especially our education partners. Each year we take on dozens of work experience and placement students in different positions throughout the company.

This week it was the turn of Rosie Rogers, a Lower 6th pupil at St Patrick’s College Maghera.

The following is a short piece written by Rosie on her week at Specialist HQ.

My name is Rosie Rogers and I study at St. Patrick’s College Maghera.  I am currently studying Geography, Technology and Applied Business Studies. At the moment I am very interested in a career in design as I think it is very interesting and this is something I can see myself doing. I am a very social person which has helped me to be quite confident and good with people which I believe would be useful in this line of work.

At school I studied business studies GCSE and I am now studying Applied Business in my A-level course. In GCSE Business Studies we studied and researched Specialist Joinery, this made me very interested in the company which is why I was attracted to completing my work experience here.  Specialist Joinery is a very big company however, I was very comfortable to complete my work experience here as all the staff are very kind and welcoming.

My first few days of work experience helped me gain a great insight into the world of work. I am very interested in design as I am studying Technology & Design in school. In my second day here at Specialist Joinery I was brought to the Contracts department where I was given the opportunity to use their CAD systems. Also in the Contracts department I was shown the different stages of a drawing from the initial ideas to the final checks, and all those between including the morning brief to understand how different projects are coming along and how long they will take to complete. This was a great opportunity as it helped me to understand how the department works and if it is something I would like to do in the future.

At the moment I think it is very difficult to understand what I would like to do in the future. There are so many different jobs to choose from and for many people it’s hard to pick just one thing which you are interested in. Specialist Joinery has definitely helped me to understand the aspects of different jobs, and also how different departments of a company can link together to help each other. Overall, I enjoyed my work experience in Specialist Joinery as they gave me great opportunities for learning about the different types of jobs which i hadn’t really understood in the past. Due to this I would definitely recommend others to complete their work experience here as not only was it a great experience to see how a company like this operates, it also helps to make picking a career a bit less scary.



Academy Exhibition, Class of 2018


Last week we held our annual Apprenticeship Awards & Exhibition night at the Specialist Academy Facility.

This event celebrates the graduation of our 2017/18 class of Apprentices. Our graduates received their certificates in front of their families and co-workers and also presented their finished end of year products. For those unaware the last module of the course is a final end of year piece design project in which students are given the opportunity to express their creativity and skills they have honed throughout the programme by designing an original piece. Every year we see some magnificent projects and this year was no different with some very intricate pieces on show.

Before making the awards presentation to the group, John Bosco O’Hagan Group Chairman and Company founder shared his views on the importance of promoting vocational skills training  and it’s link to entrepreneurship. Saying “We hold this Awards night and Exhibition to celebrate and mark the incredible achievements our Academy Team over the 12 months. It is important to recognise and reward success in a bid to inspire and engage the minds of those beginning their Specialist Journey”

The event is also attended by our latest class of apprentices who have just begun at the start of September, this gives them chance to see some of the work they will complete over the next 12 months and ask any questions they have to both current and past apprentices. The event was attended by over a dozen former academy graduates who are currently involved in strategic positions across the company.

The Specialist Joinery Group Family would like to take this time to once again congratulate the class of 2018.



Second Project for Santa Secured!

Santa seeks Specialist for Delivery!

The Staff at Specialist Joinery Group are celebrating once again, after winning repeat business from Santa. The group successfully delivered Santa’s Global Innovation Centre last year. Following this Santa has asked the company to assist him in a very different aspect of his North Pole business. Of course, the detail of this project remains TOP SECRET and all will be revealed in due course. Santa’s elves have advised that he will be in Maghera in December to complete the project in advance of Christmas.

PROJECT SANTA & Specialist’s Secret Christmas Wonderland Returns in 2018!




Further detail to follow.

Specialist Welcome Erasmus Visitors

Last week Specialist Joinery group welcomed students from education partner Sacred Heart Omagh, Spain and Poland. The international visitors were part of the Erasmus exchange programme on an educational trip. The three schools are taking part in the Green power ET Formula 24 competition which gives 11-16 year old’s the opportunity to design,build and race an electric car on some of the UK’s top motor circuits, this year taking place at Rockingham Speedway.

As part of the trip the students visited several state of the art manufacturing facilities in NI to view different design and process innovations. Specialist Joinery Group where of particular interest as the latest factory extension boasts the latest in precision machinery and automated systems.

The Students were given a full tour of the massive 3 acre complex and even brought their own car design with them for some tips from the Specialist team. The event was also covered by BBC Newline.

Managing Director Ciaran O’Hagan stated ” We must congratulate Mark Deehan of Sacred Heart College for his commitment to the F24 Project. Mark’s passion for engineering and innovation is a great encouragement for his students It is a brilliant initiative to help students get hands on engineering experience which will stand to them in their future career and it’s exactly the sort of experience that employers want”