The first graduates in Geo-Drilling were awarded their Higher Certificates in Science by South East Technological University (SETU) at its Carlow campus on 12th January. The 18 successful apprentices were from the classes of 2021 and 2022.
The Geo Drilling Apprenticeship, launched in late 2019 by the then Minister of State Damien English TD, is designed to provide a Level 6 qualification for the very skilled and exacting work by drillers who gather data and information on the subsurface. This information is a crucial foundation for the development of groundwater resources, minerals , construction, energy and infrastructure projects.
The Apprenticeship is overseen by a Steering Committee representing industry, state, semi-state, regulatory, trade union, professional organisations and third level bodies, including Geoscience Ireland (GI), Geological Survey Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority, SIPTU, Irish Water, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, Engineers Ireland Geotechnical Society, the International Association of Hydrogeology, the Irish Mining & Quarrying Society, the Institute of Geologists of Ireland and the Irish Association for Economic Geology. Several drilling companies are represented, including GI members Irish Drilling, Priority Drilling, Causeway Geotech, Geo Drilling Solutions, GSI and QME. Other companies on the Steering Cte are Tara Mines, Fogarty Drilling and IGSL.
Commenting at the Graduation Ceremony, Sean Finlay of GI and Chair of the Steering Committee said;
“I am delighted to see the first Apprentices in Geo-Drilling receiving their Certificates. Despite the challenges of Covid and personnel shortages in the industry, SETU staff led by Ger Keohane (Course Director) along with Anne Crowley, Brian Byrne and Stefan Peterson have delivered an excellent and comprehensive qualification for a cross section of experienced and new drillers in the field. The support of industry, the Steering Committee and of SOLAS has also been crucial. In particular, the role played by the principal contacts for the Apprenticeship – Stephen Walsh and Shane Lavery initially and Joe Mongan since 2022 – who liaise with SETU, the students and the industry has been essential for the success of the course.”
The photo shows the Apprentices present at the Conferring Ceremony and includes SETU and GI staff.