Top engineering students at Northern Regional College recognised

Caleb Haines, a Higher Level Apprentice in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, winner of the Dayle Smyth Endeavour Award, is pictured with (from left) Engineering lecturer, Ian Craig, Garry Smyth and Ryan Logan, Operations Manager (NI) with AGR Automation

The achievements of the top performing engineering students at Northern Regional College in Ballymena were recognised at the School of Engineering & Built Environment’s annual awards ceremony.

Caleb Haines, from Coleraine, who completed a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, was presented with the Dayle Smyth Endeavour award while Rafal Fila from Ballymena, won the Concord Cup for the best performing Level 3 student over the past two years. Rafal was also named FE Student of the Year.

The Dayle Smyth Endeavour award is presented annually in memory of Dayle Smyth, an outstanding former student of the College. Dayle who attended the College for five years, progressing from Level 3 Diploma to Level 5 HND in Manufacturing Engineering, died as a result of a road traffic accident in July 2014. At the time of the accident, he was employed by RLC (UK) Ltd at Langford Lodge.

Presenting the award, Dayle’s father, Garry said: “There is a genuine sadness, but this allows us to set aside our loss. By celebrating the achievements of these outstanding students, we are keeping Dayle’s memory alive.”

He continued: “This is a wonderful college, a real centre of engineering excellence. The management and staff have shown excellent leadership, and long may it continue.”

Congratulating Caleb on receiving the award Mr Smyth said:

“Each year, the Engineering staff select a student who they think best emulates the qualities of Dayle – someone who has excelled academically and is a well-rounded individual with every chance of success in the future. Like all the previous winners of the award, Caleb is an excellent choice.”

Caleb is employed by AGR Automation, which designs and manufactures high speed automated machinery.

Ryan Logan, Operations Manager (NI) with AGR Automation, who attended the presentation, said the company’s excellent relationship with the College was mutually beneficial.

“Companies like ourselves can benefit from the expertise of College staff who in turn are informed about our business needs so they can ensure that students are equipped with the right skills set.”

The two-year Advanced Manufacturing Engineering HLA is a work-based programme designed to provide the manufacturing and engineering sector in Northern Ireland with high grade technicians and engineers who have practical skills, combined with a higher education qualification.

Students spend four days with their employer and one day in College so they can ‘earn as they learn’ and get qualified without the burden of student debt.

The programme facilitates progression from Level 3 apprenticeship and could also encourage future progression to Level 6 qualifications, enabling apprentices to work towards Incorporated Engineer status.

Northern Regional College also offers Higher Level Apprenticeships in Construction, Accountancy and Computing. For further information, go to

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