Celebrating International Women’s Day with sheet metal-worker apprentice and new mother Joanne McGuigan’s story

“I want to push the limits of what I can do and what I can become”

Apprentice sheet metal-worker Joanne McGuigan says being a new mother to 9 month old Mason has given her an expanded outlook on life.

From County Monaghan, Joanne explains why setting an example is important to her: “I featured in a short video last year as the first female sheetmetal worker in Ireland for a long time. It was amazing to see the reaction online. I shared the video myself and was blown away by the feedback, mostly from girls wanting to know more.”


She continued: “You don’t step into a strange world when you become an apprentice. It is full of people who are there to help. At college you get to learn from great tutors and at work you get to test your knowledge with people who are at the top of their game. If you are interested in doing an apprenticeship you should just go for it. There is no harm in trying, always try!”

Joanne added: “I am looking forward to the future. I know there will be twists and turns as I move through Phase 3 but my college and employer are fantastic. They understand why I want to roll up my sleeves and why I am so focused on trying out new things. When you try new things you can more easily adapt to different ways of working.”

“Doing an apprenticeship is a great way to get qualified in the area you’re interested in,” she adds. “As you move forward you will find plenty of help to keep you moving and growing all the time.”

“I want to push the limits of what I can do and what I can become. Of course, you expect so many things will change. If anything, I am more dedicated to getting the most out of myself, because that’s what I want for my family. As my son grows, I want him to know that I finished my apprenticeship and went on to become everything I could be.”

Mary-Liz Trant, Interim Director of the new National Apprenticeship Office, said, “A role model like Joanne has a vital role to play in driving the national conversation around women in apprenticeship. By sharing her story Joanne spotlights the diverse career pathways available through apprenticeship for women and the progress that has been achieved. Female representation in craft apprenticeship has doubled in the last two years and we are seeing firm footholds as women take apprenticeship options in dynamic industry areas such as Tech, Biopharma, Financial Services, Manufacturing and Engineering.”

Mary-Liz added: “This time last year we marked a milestone for diversity and inclusion with the 1,000th woman apprentice in training in Ireland. Since then we have passed the 1,500 mark and would like to pass at least the 2,000 mark this year. The pace of positive change is accelerating as we drive opportunities for women of all ages and backgrounds and also improve how we represent and communicate with women.”

She concluded: “Warmest congratulations to Joanne and her employer McAree Engineering. Together they showcase a world of work which is stronger for us all because it includes Ireland in all its diversity and ability. I would encourage anyone who is interested to visit www.apprenticeship.ie where they will find more case histories of women in apprenticeship.”


Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine & Plan Magazine

Email: denise@mcdmedia.ie      WWW.MCDMEDIA.IE          WWW.IRISHCONSTRUCTION.COM