Apprenticeships in Donegal

Apprentice Stories- Young Falcarragh woman breaks ground in electrical trade

A hard-working Falcarragh woman is breaking new ground in the male-dominated electrical trade. Katy McGeady is an electrical apprentice at O Hara & Harrison Electrical Contractors in Letterkenny. Apprenticeship administration in the county is facilitated by Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service through its Apprenticeship Services team.

Katy McGeady

She is recently back from maternity leave with her second child and is on track to be fully qualified with a Level 6 Advanced Certificate by the end of the year.

Despite being the only female electrician on the team, Katy hasn’t faced any barriers. "Nobody treats me any different," she says. "There's nothing you can't do," she adds confidently.

Katy acknowledges there are some perceived challenges faced by women entering the trade: "It's just a male-dominated industry and girls don't even think about trying to go into something like this.”

Katy's own journey began when she was working in hospitality and wanted a change.

She did her first apprenticeship placement on a large construction project in Dublin, embracing the new challenge and carving a path she hadn’t seen any other woman take before her.

"I just did it," she says, "there wasn't any inspiration or want for it, I just landed with electrical work.”

The electrical trade offers not only stability but also a wide range of career opportunities. "You're always going to be in work, people always need electricians for domestic and commercial projects," Katy explains. The growing renewable energy sector is another exciting prospect for qualified electricians.

When Katy had her first child, she decided to return home to Donegal to be closer to her family.  Luckily, she was able to find a supportive placement with O'Hara & Harrison, a close-knit team that has been instrumental in her learning and development.

"They have been great at showing me everything I need to know," Katy says.

Apprenticeships are based on a mix of learning in an education and training institution with at least 50% of learning in the workplace. Apprentices also ‘earn while they learn’, as they are paid for the duration of the apprenticeship.

“You are paid from day dot, which is a huge advantage compared to going to college,” said Katy.

The variety, teamwork, and good earning potential are just some of the advantages that Katy highlights in trade work. "Every day is completely different, you are travelling all over Donegal doing a bit of everything - domestic, commercial and industrial,” she said.

Donegal ETB actively encourage women to think about working in, and applying for, training in non-traditional fields.

There are many women in Donegal undertaking apprenticeships in a wide number of areas – including electrical, motor mechanics, plumbing, butchery, insurance practitioner, manufacturing engineering, transport operations and commercial driving, auctioneering, retail supervision and more.

A gender-based bursary is available to employers who employ apprentices on any national apprenticeship programme with greater than 80% representation of a single gender and apprentice employers are eligible to receive a €2,666 bursary for each registered apprentice from the minority gender.

Looking to the future, Katy is optimistic about the world of work before her. "There are good job opportunities when you have this, you can go anywhere with it, but I wouldn't see myself moving," she said, happy to continue building her career at O’Hara & Harrison.

Employer Liam O’Hara said: "As an equal opportunities employer, I believe that everyone deserves a fair chance to enter into a career of their choice".

“When Katy approached us with her apprenticeship, I could see a drive and passion in her which made my decision easy to give her a position working within O'Hara & Harrison.

“For the past two years, she has proven to excel and performed at a very high level. I have no doubt as time progresses that Katy will excel further in her education and training to become a qualified electrician. Through her determination and commitment, she has proven to being a great asset to O Hara and Harrison.”

Liam adds: “Katy is a great role model for women out there pursuing their ambitions."

Donegal ETB prides itself on creating a supportive atmosphere for women in all apprenticeship programmes. The number of apprenticeship programmes has expanded greatly in recent years with 73 different types of apprenticeship now available across a range of sectors including Construction, Electrical, Finance, ICT, BioPharma, Hospitality and Food, Logistics, Recruitment and Property Services.

You can find a full list of apprenticeship training programmes in Ireland on

If you are interested in pursuing an apprenticeship, or are an employer wishing to find out more, simply contact Donegal ETB’s Apprenticeship Team on 074 9120500 or email

Further information is also available on Donegal ETB’s website here: and their social media accounts (X, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn).

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