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Belfast Met students recruited for A&O apprenticeship scheme in IT

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International law firm Allen & Overy has recruited two new apprentices through a two-year 'earn while you learn' programme led by the Department for the Economy. 

The hands-on scheme will see Conor O’Neill and Connor McIlwain spend up to four days per week gaining valuable on-the-job experience while also studying part-time for industry essential qualifications and Microsoft certificates at Belfast Metropolitan College. 

Last year, Niamh Donegan and James Reynolds earned full-time permanent roles with Allen & Overy following completion of the programme. Rachel Freeburn and Ashley Sofley, who signed up in 2014, will complete their apprenticeships in November having gained experience assisting the firm’s IT teams in Deskside, Global IT Service Desk and Citrix support Andrew Glenn, IT Support Team Leader, Allen & Overy said: 

“Bringing in apprentices from Belfast Metropolitan College has proven to be a positive experience for us as a firm, and the people who have joined us. It is particularly pleasing that our first apprentices have earned full-time roles and have been able to continue their career development with the business.  

“The calibre of applicants who put themselves forward for this apprenticeship has been extremely high over the past three years because talented people, like Conor and Connor, recognise it as credible alternative to full-time study. We wish them every success as they start their two-year apprenticeship with us.” 

Conor O’Neill, IT Infrastructure Apprentice said: 

“At Allen & Overy, IT is delivered on a global scale and that brings a rare opportunity to grow both my personal and professional skills. I’ve come to understand just how fast-paced and diverse a career in IT can be. Through my experience here, I hope to learn how systems are managed on an international scale and boost my career prospects.” 

Last year, the international law firm expanded its Belfast operation with the leasing of a sixth floor in the Donegall Quay building that increased the capacity of A&O’s local IT division. 

Established in 2011, the Belfast office employs more than 450 people in legal and non-legal roles and supports A&O’s 2,700 lawyers across 44 offices worldwide.  While a lot of the work is completed within the local office, the skills and expertise of the IT team has seen members work on projects in Barcelona, Casablanca, Dubai, Monte Carlo and Paris.

Belfast Metropolitan College Principal and CEO Marie-Thérèse McGivern, said: “We are delighted to see two of our students embarking on a two year apprenticeship with this top international firm. Apprenticeships are a great way to enhance classroom learning with practical industry experience in order to be the most prepared you can be for the world of work. I would like to congratulate the students and wish them every success as they commence their apprenticeship with Allen and Overy.” 

To find out more about apprenticeships visit:

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