Securing sustainability across the industry for the future

Northern Regional College improves student learning experiences by working closely with local industry, manufacturers, and suppliers to ensure up-to-date training on modern appliances…

Local manufacturers have come together and helped to kit-out a revamp of the Level 3 workshop in Northern Regional College (NRC) Newtownabbey Campus. 

In line with emerging developments in the oil industry, the centre will also have an environmentally friendly bay introducing apprentices to HVO fuel and burners, solar hot water, and heat pump technology.

OFTEC Ireland have been supporting the college with development of the centre and ensuring the importance of regulations are adhered to during apprentice training.

The facilities at NRC are inclusive of green changes, government plans and preparing students for tomorrows world today. 

Training students on existing oil products and integrating emerging technologies such as HVO supplied boilers, heat pumps and solar power hot water, Plumbing Lecturer, Peter Lynch has hailed the new workshop a “real success.”

Speaking to Ireland’s Plumbing & Heating Magazine, Peter said: “On behalf of the Northern Regional College plumbing apprentices, I want to express a big thank you to the manufacturers and suppliers who have so generously supported the apprentices through the provision of contemporary equipment for use in their training. 

“Having the right equipment while training offers apprentices the opportunity to become familiar with the reality of plumbing while they are in the classroom and workshop and provides assurance that on qualifying, these new plumbers will be fully equipped to provide safe, quality work in the industry. Now is the time for employers to start recruiting apprentices for September’s intake.”

Manufacturers have opened their doors for student visits to the production factories and training facilities. 

After the recent visit to the Warmflow factory, Lisburn back in February, Chris Cormican Area Sales Manager said: “Warmflow is a strong believer in collaboration between industry and educational institutions and in taking forward the results of such collaboration to the benefit of the community as well as the heating sector itself. Sales Manager, Chris added: “To strengthen these essential interactions Warmflow is delighted to be partnering with NRC in the showcasing of the latest heating product technologies, providing both teaching-aid products and underpinning knowledge, and in doing so, helping to deliver improved learner outcomes.”

Grant has been at the forefront of the plumbing and heating industry for over four decades and were delighted to support apprenticeship training at NRC in Newtownabbey. Grant’s support for apprentices at NRC includes a dedicated Grant branded work bay and a range of heating technologies from its product portfolio for the apprentices to work with and learn about including an HVO biofuel compatible Grant Vortex boiler, Grant Aerona3  R32 air to water, air source heat pump, a Grant pre-plumed and pre-wired hot water cylinder, the Grant Uflex underfloor heating system and Grant Sahara solar thermal panel. 

When presenting this year’s Northern Regional College Skillbuild plumbing competitors (Morgan Feeney, Harry Thompson and Ethan Hood) with recognising achievement prizes, Richard Robinson, Sales Director at Beggs and Partners said the company has been delighted to support the NRC for many years in providing materials for use in the training centre. Richard said: “Providing quality products has always been our focus and we think that students should learn to use the best materials. This gives their customers an excellent job, meaning they will have faith in the installer and will return to them in the future.”

In addition, Firebird Boilers work closely with the college to ensure that each new crop of plumbers is equipped with the knowledge and skills for today as well as tomorrow, embracing new technologies and new challenges as it looks towards a sustainable future for everyone. As an industry leader, Firebird has a responsibility to ensure that talent within the industry is nurtured and developed. Firebird are proud of its strong association with NRC’s progressive apprenticeship training which is ensuring that its apprentice plumbers are trained to the highest standards. 

Plumbmaster Sales Manager, Paul McDowell commented: “Plumbmaster was very happy to help support the college and the future plumbers by helping introduce renewable technology into the apprenticeship training programme at the Newtownabbey Campus. With the knowledge and access to the best products we were delighted to be able to support the next generation of our industry.”

Mark Harris, Area Sales Manager at EPH Controls added: “EPH Controls are pleased to be involved in the development of this facility. When we were asked about this we instantly said yes as we believe it is important to support the Apprentices who are the future of the industry. Congratulations to Peter and the team here on a job well done.”

Charlie Shivers, Managing Director at Copper Industries along with LB Cylinders said they are always delighted to help inspire the next generation of plumbing and heating students, especially when it comes to renewable energies and the opportunity they present. 

 Further information on the new facility at NRC can be found online at: or by e-mailing Peter Lynch at: