Kilkenny apprentice to represent Ireland in Russia at Skills Olympics

Sian Moloughney


Sian Moloughney


Kilkenny apprentice Russia skills olympics

Team Ireland who are off to Russia for the Skills Olympics

The team of 17 young apprentices, trainees and students will fly to Russia this evening (Monday) to represent Ireland at the WorldSkills Competition, the Skills Olympics later this week - from August 22 to 27.

Among them a young Kilkenny apprentice. Luke O’Keefe (pictured below) is from Mooncoin and working in Waterford. He will  compete in BIM (Building Information Modelling) in the competition.

The Irish team will showcase skills and talents in the areas of Aircraft Maintenance, Beauty Therapy, Cabinetmaking, Visual Merchandising, Construction Metal Work, Electrical Installations, Freight Forward, Joinery,  Cloud Computing, Building Information Modelling, Brick-laying, Plumbing and Heating, Restaurant Service, Industrial Millwright Mechanic, Cookery  and Welding.

Each member of the Irish team, all of whom are under 25 years, has proven expertise in their chosen field having competed against their peers to secure their places at the Competition. They were selected from the winners of the National Skills Competition Finals at Ireland Skills Live in March 2019.

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD said: “The WorldSkills Competition is a great opportunity for our young people to show their skills and talents on the international stage”.  

“The Irish team is made up of some of the finest young men and women working in crafts, all of whom are great ambassadors for apprenticeships and traineeships. Beir bua agus beannacht don foireann as they head to Russia in August. I know they will do themselves, their families and the country proud.”

Minister of State with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan TD said: “The Irish World Skills Team represents the wealth of talent, creativity and quality- showing the quality of our training and apprenticeship programmes and how they compare globally.  Every member of the team has worked incredibly hard to compete at this level and they bring with them all our support as they compete with their peers – the best craftspeople in the world.

Competitors, who come from Kilkenny, Donegal, Waterford, Cavan, Kerry, Wexford, Offaly, Kildare, Galway, Longford, Dublin, Limerick, Roscommon and Cork have been in training for the past ten weeks under the direction of their coaches. The team has been training in TU Dublin, the Institutes of Technology (CIT, LIT, WIT, DKIT, IT Carlow & AIT) and education and training board colleges (Kerry ETB, Waterford Wexford ETB, Limerick Clare ETB, Donegal ETB, Dublin Dún Laoghaire ETB) and Shannon College of Hotel Management. 

SOLAS Director of Apprenticeship and Work-based Learning, Shauna Dunlop added: “To be able to compete at the level of the WorldSkills Competition requires not just enormous talent, but determination and dedication. The young people representing Ireland have all three in abundance. SOLAS, as the Further Education and Training Authority, is delighted to support the team and the Ireland Skills Council and we wish them every success in the upcoming competition.”

Ray English, Chair of the WorldSkills Ireland Council said “It is a remarkable achievement to represent your country in the WorldSkills Competition. The hard work and commitment shown by the Irish team in their preparation for the competition is admirable and their development ever since their success in the National Skills Competition is very evident. I would like to acknowledge all those who have supported the team in getting this far including family, friends, employers, instructors and coaches.  I wish the team the very best as they compete against their international peers on a world stage.”

The WorldSkills Competition, which is held every two years, is the world’s largest professional education event. Approximately 1,600 competitors from 60 countries will compete in 56 different skills and disciplines in Russia.  All competitors will demonstrate technical abilities both individually and collectively to execute specific tasks for which they study and/or perform in their workplace.