Two Donnelly Group Apprentices have reached the final stage of this year’s Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) Skill Auto WorldSkills Awards and will compete at WorldSkills UK Live in Birmingham from 21st – 23rd November.

Ruairi Barrow and Billie Jo McKenzie are completing their technician Apprenticeships with the Donnelly Group whilst studying at South West College.

Prior to reaching the final of this competition Ruairi and Billie Jo competed in the South West College intercampus competition, the Northern Ireland cross college competition and took part in a regional qualifier. Both Ruairi and Billie Jo, who work in the Honda and Jaguar Land Rover showrooms, were also recognised at the South West College Apprenticeship Awards.

Robert Fitzpatrick, Head of Learning and Development at Donnelly Group said:

“The IMI Skill Auto World Skills Awards aim to identify the most talented young apprentices working in the UK automotive sector – so we are delighted to see two of our apprentices make it to the competition final.

“Ruairi and Billie Jo have performed extremely well during their time at Donnelly Jaguar Land Rover and Donnelly Honda, gaining hands on skills and experience sure to stand to them in good stead as they compete with the best of the best.”

“On behalf of the team at Donnelly Group I would like to congratulate Ruairi and Billie Jo on their efforts to date and wish them well in the final rounds of the competition.”

WorkSkills Live – which hosts the competition final – is the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event, attracting over 80,000 visitors annually.

During the timed competition apprentices/students are tested on practical skills, knowledge and employability attributes.

Finalists compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze medals along the opportunity to join Squad UK to train for future international competitions.

Gareth Donnelly, Deputy Head of School – Automotive & Electrical at South West College commented:

“It is fantastic to see Ruairi and Billie Jo competing at national level at the upcoming Worldskills UK competitions. WorldSkills UK competitions are renowned within the industry for accelerating the professional development of competitors whilst highlighting the value of apprenticeships. On behalf South West College I would like to congratulate Ruairi and Billie Jo on their achievements so far as we support them through this exciting process. and wish them the best of luck in the final later this month.

IMI World Skills Awards 2019

Robert concluded:

“I would encourage any young person considering an apprenticeship to speak to our Careers Team about the opportunities available across the Donnelly Group. With a workforce of over 800 employees and ongoing investment at our nine sites across Northern Ireland, this is a very exciting time to work for the Donnelly Group.”

For more information on apprenticeship opportunities please contact, Donnelly Group Careers Team on 02887722887 or email

More information about the IMI Skill Auto World Skills Awards can be found at