Skip to main content

Case Study

James has a true talent for his craft

James Case Study Main

James Ward Kelly’s has grown into a talent craftsman through hard work and graft, since starting his apprenticeship at Abbey Upholsterers Ltd three years ago through Belfast Met. James is a former pupil of Trinity College, Antrim Road, and completed his Fast Track Level 2 English and Maths whilst training on an 18 month programme with Training for Success at Belfast Met.

James, following advice went on to enhance his skills in a workshop setting and moved to Abbey Specialist Joinery as an apprentice and gained a Bench qualification and completed his Level 2 qualification in site joinery and then a Level 3 in Bench joinery. James is now a qualified joiner, and is staying on with firm Abbey Upholstery which works on projects such as high-end stadiums, as he has been offered employment there as a joiner.

James was recently nominated as Apprentice of the Year by the Belfast Met and Abbey Upholsterers Ltd. for the Apprenticeship Week Awards 2021. Kieron Flannery, Lecturer in Joinery, confirmed, “James is an exemplary student with many outstanding qualities. He excels at his chosen field in Bench Joinery and in many other ways that make him an exceptional person.

“As an apprentice joiner, James has completed the very difficult project of planning, drawing and making a Gothic window with intersecting lancets. With no other peer support due to the stand-alone nature of the task, it was even more difficult for James to complete. Yet he did so with precise skill and commitment and was awarded a distinction for the project.”

James, who has really enjoyed his apprenticeship, said: “Knowing little about joinery when I started, as soon as I’d finished my first week, I was hooked on woodwork. Within weeks I had a placement with a housing executive contractor and got a real feel for the trade. My next placement was on a high-end housing development where I got a real insight into what a quality-site joiners’ requirements are and I was trained in the skills and direction required.

“The training facilities at Belfast Met are excellent and have some of the best industry standard equipment in Northern Ireland which helped me to learn on the job using the world class machinery installed at Abbey Upholstery. So many more opportunities have opened up for me now, and I have the option to progress to do a Higher Level Apprenticeship.”

Judith Neill, Commercial Director at Abbey Upholsterers Ltd, said: “James stands out due to his positive attitude, attention to detail and the quality of his work. He is keen and eager to please and takes great pride in his work. Senior management often take note of his work and are happy to present him with projects that can stretch him, and we are delighted he has been with us as an apprentice.”

Find out more about Apprenticeships

< view all case studies