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Double smiles as Dental Nursing Apprentices are nominated for top award

04 March 2021
Dentist and dental nurse standing in dental suite holding dental equipment

Two dental nursing Apprentices from North West Regional College have been nominated for NI Apprenticeship award. 22 year-old Niamh Irvine, who works at One Dental, and 19 years-old Niamh McHenry who is employed at Braid Dental in Ballymena, both took the Apprenticeship career path with a C&G Level 3 Apprenticeship at NWRC.

The Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards 2021 will be hosted in a special ‘virtual’ awards ceremony on Wednesday 28 April 2021 – one of the highlight events during Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2021, which will run from 26 to 30 April 2021.

NWRC is currently recruiting students for a new Dental Nursing Apprenticeship course due to start in April 2021.

Dentist and dental nurse standing in dental suite holding dental equipment
Dental Nurse Niamh Irvine with Dr. Deirdre Ball, One Dental, Queen Street. (Pic Martin Mckeown).

Niamh Irvine said: “At school, I had never considered dental nursing as a career choice, I initially began the role of a dental nurse as cover. From that I gained an interest in the role as a career. With the support of the practice I am employed at, I was able to apply to NWRC Limavady, for an Apprenticeship. Working within dentistry, I have gained an insight into the possibility of other job roles within the industry."

“I am absolutely delighted to be nominated for the NI Apprenticeship awards. I am proud of my achievement of completing the dental nursing course, qualifying and being able to register onto the GDC. I believe that apprenticeships should be recognised on a wider scale as they allow the individual to carry out their study whilst also experiencing the ‘real world’ and the insight into working environments.

“I now work full time at One Dental, where I completed my Apprenticeship, and I would highly recommend the dental nursing apprenticeship course for people that are considering dental nursing as a career. “

Dr. Deirdre Ball, One Dental, who nominated Niamh for the award said: “Niamh Irvine is a dedicated and committed member of our team at One Dental. It has been wonderful to be part of her career journey and to see her qualify as a Dental Nurse. She is hugely popular among the surgery staff, and professional and courteous to all our patients. She is thoroughly deserving of this award.”

Niamh McHenry
Dental Nursing Level 3 Apprentice Niamh McHenry, pictured with Dr Jamie Pirie of Braid Dental in Ballymena. (Picture Martin McKeown).

Niamh McHenry said: “I feel so privileged to be picked for the NI Apprenticeship awards as I’m only in my first year of the course, but it is reassuring to know I have made a positive start to my career as a dental nurse. It is a real confidence boost.

“I’ve been extremely lucky to have found employment with Braid Dental, giving me real guidance with my studies, and a great introduction to dental nursing. From my first year on this course, I would definitely recommend dental nursing at NWRC. My tutor and the coordination staff have been extremely helpful, ensuring all my learning needs were attended to.”

Dr. Jamie Pirie, Niamh’s employer said: “We nominated Niamh McHenry for this award because of her determined work ethic and her commitment to her dental nursing studies. It hasn’t been an easy time because of the Covid-19 restrictions, but Niamh has hit the ground running since she first joined us in 2020.

“She’s a talented and dedicated student nurse who we are delighted to mentor as she continues with her studies.”

Kim Boyle, Curriculum Manager in Health and Social Care Studies at NWRC said: “Our congratulations both of our students on their nominations.

The dental industry has expanded in recent years growing more opportunities for dental nursing, with lots of opportunities for continued training and development. Post registration nurses can specialise in hygiene, oral health, management or education.

“NWRC is currently accepting a limited number of applications for a new Dental Nursing Apprenticeship course due to start in April 2021. This is a fantastic opportunity which allows students to earn while they learn, on their dental nursing pathway. Applicants will be interviewed by dental employers and those who secure employment will be eligible to obtain a place on this new exciting training course.

“NWRC would also like to invite dental practitioners from the region to join our Apprenticeship programme giving us the opportunity to provide employment for our students.”

Applications are welcome from anyone:

  • Currently age 16-24 years
  • Employed in a Dental Surgery in NI
  • Or able to gain employment following a successful interview with dental panel
  • Must work at least 21 hours per week in dental practice

The Closing Date for application is Thursday, 11th March at 12 noon. You can apply at

If you are a dentist who can help provide training and support for a NI Dental Nursing Apprentice, please contact Kim Boyle on

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