Diageo Apprentice Receives Coveted Award

A trainee engineer based at Diageo’s Belfast Packaging facility has won the Apprentice of the Year Award.

Lauren Johnston was recognised at the Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2022, which shine a light on the significant contribution that Northern Ireland’s 10,000 apprentices make to their workplace environments.

The engineering apprentice has been working for 18 months at Diageo’s east Belfast plant, which is responsible for packaging beers like Guinness, Harp and Smithwick’s, with the facility producing a record volume of 18.3 million cases of beer in the year (up to June 2021).

Lauren, who has been developing her skillset as a mechatronic engineer, has completed her first year in Engineering Maintenance L3 apprenticeship studies with the South Eastern Regional College.

Diageo has a significant economic footprint in Northern Ireland with three sites, including Baileys Global Supply at Mallusk, corporate head offices in Belfast city centre, and the beer-packaging facility in east Belfast.  The company has been a consistent provider of apprenticeships for young people with a particular focus on promoting STEM and inclusivity, with Belfast Packaging committed to further Engineering and Operator apprentice recruitment in 2022.

Deirdre Delaney, Head of Operations at Belfast Packaging in east Belfast, said:

“We are delighted that Lauren’s talent, skills and work ethic have been recognised at the 2022 Apprenticeship Awards. Her enthusiasm and willingness to learn have made her a valued member of the team here, and she is making an important contribution to our business.

“Women have been traditionally underrepresented within engineering, but to have Lauren win this award is indicative of a changing dynamic within the industry, and we hope that she will go on to have a long and successful career. Championing inclusion and diversity and leveraging the broadest range of backgrounds and skills is a key corporate priority and integral to our Spirit of Progress ambition to create a more inclusive and sustainable world.”

Commenting, Lauren Johnston, Engineering Apprentice at Diageo, added: “It is a great honour to have received this award on behalf of so many apprenticeships who are making an important contribution to workplaces throughout Northern Ireland, and I would like to thank my colleagues at Diageo who have given me great support.

“I have learnt so much over the last 18 months at Diageo, with every day presenting new opportunities with consistent learning and in-house training supporting my development. I am committed beyond my apprenticeship to continue progressing my career in engineering and look forward to many exciting opportunities in the future.”