All posts by Paula McCloskey

Specialist Joinery Group Training Academy Wins Government Award for £1m skills investment

The Specialist Academy, the joinery and craft apprenticeship training facility, at Specialist Joinery Group, Maghera, has been awarded an “Innovation Award” at the National Apprenticeship Awards, held by the Department for the Economy on 6th February. The academy which offers an NVQ level 2 & 3 training programme in Carpentry & Joinery accredited by City & Guilds, was founded in 2014, opened it’s own facilities in 2015 and is currently recruiting for their 2020/2021 intake of Apprentices.

L-R John Bosco O’Hagan, Company Founder & Chairman, Minister Diane Dodds, Debbie Deans, Business Development Manager Strabane Training Services, David Owen, Master Craftsman, Tommy Bowe, Former Rugby International, pictured at the glittering awards ceremony held at the Titanic Hotel, Belfast.

The company’s investment in the Academy has topped £1 million pounds over the past 5 years and includes it’s own small scale production facility, IT suite and Canteen. The programme strictly limits their intake of Apprentices to a maximum of 8 per academic year. This enables the tutors to deliver a student centred programme which is tailored to the individual needs and learning styles of the group.

The award was made to both Specialist Joinery Group and partners STS who provide accreditation through the City & Guilds Framework.  Over the past 18 months both organisations have successfully collaborated to develop a bespoke programme by combining City & Guilds Syllabus, with company operating procedures and new digital technologies.

In the Spotlight

This is not the first time that the Academy’s success has put Specialist Joinery Group in the spotlight. Group Facilities have recently been showcased nationally, as part of the FSB Apprenticeship Week Promotional Campaign and during Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland in 2018 the company was featured on RTE1’s Nationwide programme. The business played a key role in the island’s preparations for the visit of Pope Francis, which involved the crafting of Holy Icon depicting the Holy Family and the design and manufacture of the sanctuary furniture used by Pope Francis when celebrating mass at Phoenix Park.

Speaking about the impact of the Academy, Company Founder John O’Hagan said “The Academy has had a great positive impact by promoting a culture of learning, collaboration and knowledge sharing within our group.”

Watch the FSB Campaign — https://publish.twitter.com/?query=https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2FFSB_NI%2Fstatus%2F1224994427216809984&widget=Tweet

Kilronan School Visit

Kilronan Specialist School VIsits SJG HQ Specialist Joinery Group

On Friday last, the team at Specialist Joinery Group were treated to a visit from the students and staff of Kilronan Special School, Magherafelt. This was our first educational tour of the new decade! Attendees enjoyed a welcome reception from SJG Hosts Erin Scullion, David Selfridge, Michael Murphy and the wider team at SJG.

Practical demonstrations of key joinery manufacturing processes were set up within the vast 145,000 sqft manufacturing facilities for students to experience working life at Specialist HQ. This hands on learning experience, delighted staff, students and specialists alike.

An enjoyable morning was had by all. We look forward to welcoming the students to HQ on their next visit.

Specialist Joinery Group Delight Charities with £73,500 Funding Windfall

Maghera based company, Specialist Joinery Group (SJG) have shared a colossal £73,500 with 19 charitable causes during a presentation held at their headquarters on Friday last week. The funding was raised by their Christmas Charity event – “Project Santa” which welcomed over 3,500 visitors from across the country to Specialist HQ over two days 7th & 8th December. Patrons were treated to a 2 acre indoor Christmas Wonderland, Santa’s Grotto Experience, as well as an indoor food market and Circus performance, ensuring fun for all the family.

In August 2019 the staff set an ambitious target to raise £50,000 for 10 charities by hosting their annual Christmas event. The initiative received overwhelming support from the local community, supply chain partners and organisations, which resulted in the group exceeding the original target by raising a staggering £73,500 during the course of the Christmas Festivities.

Group Photo of the Charities that attended.

The original ten charities, chosen by the team at SJG all received cheques of £5,000. They were; The Olive Branch, STEPS, Alzheimer’s Society, Marie Curie, Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke, Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, Charis, Northlands Addiction Support and Roberta’s Wish, Supporting Chron’s and Colitis Sufferers. A further donation of £5,000 was made to Habitat for Humanity Australia’s Emergency Bush Fire Appeal in response to the devastation suffered over the Christmas period.

Once the original fundraising target was surpassed the company selected an additional 7 charities to receive £2500. They were All Lives Are Precious, Foyle Search & Rescue, Welcome Organization, Leonard Cheshire Foundation, De Paul, Brooke Harley, Kangaroo Island and Maghera Cross Community Link. During proceedings, the company also announced £1000 sponsorship for local man, Aharon Donaghy who is running the London Marathon this year in aid of Child Bereavement UK.

During the presentation, Managing Director Ciaran O’Hagan shared his thanks to the local community, SJG supply chain, event partners and local businesses. “Now in it’s 4th year of operation the Project Santa event continues to grow from strength to strength. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the support that we have received from the local community for the event. To all the staff at SJG and our event partners please be very proud of what you have achieved in supporting these brilliant causes.  Looking to the future, it is our intention that Project Santa 2020 will be back bigger and better! We plan to run Project Santa 2020 on the weekend of 5th & 6th December. Tickets will go on sale via the usual outlets in September and further details will be announced in due course.”

During the presentation Ciaran welcomed the charities to the stage and representatives shared their insight to the programmes that will be supported by the funding they received.  Across the board, the charities shared messages of how their limited funding is under increasing pressure and they emphasized their thanks to the Specialist team and all patrons of Project Santa for their support.

Karen Trainor of SJG makes presentation to Frank Diamond of ALPS
Francis Higgins of SJG makes presentation to Brian Og Mullan of Foyle Search and Rescue
Erin Scullion of SJG and Barry Dallat of Artbutus make presentation to the Leonard Cheshire Foundation
Barry Dallat of Arbutus Catering makes presentation to Heather Boyd of Maghera Cross Community Link Foodbank
Adrian McCloskey and Caolan Smith make presentation to De Paul
Martin O’Kane makes presentation to Jackie Trainor of NICHS
Sean O’Hagan of SJG makes presentation to Breige Mulholland of Northern Ireland Air Ambulance

Laura Quinn of SJG, makes presentation to Karen McCann representing Marie Cu
Feargal McMullan of SJG makes presentation to Karen McGuigan Of STEPS
Ronan McCrystal of SJG makes presentation to Sheila Duffy of Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice
Sean Ledgewood makes presentation to Kieran Hughes and Roisin McErlean of Welcome Organisation
Ciaran O’Hagan, Managing Director welcomes the charity representatives on behalf of the team at SJG
Tracey McMullan of SJG makes presentation to Linzi Stewart and Brian Tohill of Alzheimer’s Society
James McLaughlin of SJG makes presentation to Tommy Canning of Northlands Addiction Support
Dermot O’Hagan makes presentation to Geraldine Eastwood and Ann Wray of Roberta’s Wish
Paula McCloskey of SJG makes presentation to Dr Ben Glancy of Charis
Cathal O’Kane and Sean O’Hagan of SJG make a presentation to Habitat for Humanity Australia – (please note – The total amounted presented was £5,000.00.)

Season of Goodwill

Group Chairman John Bosco O’Hagan presents representatives from Saint Vincent De Paul Bellaghy and Maghera with a donation in support of their work with families in the need in the area at this time of year.

The staff of Specialist Joinery Group also provided generous support by way of toys, gift vouchers and cash donations, to be shared with children in the local area.

Thank you to everyone for your support. Your help will help make someones Christmas.

A generous selection of Toys, Vouchers and Cash donations given by the staff and families of Specialist Joinery Group to local Saint Vincent De Paul Groups.