National Apprenticeship Week – Hugh’s journey from Apprentice to FM Contracts Manager

Apprenticeships are a fantastic way for students to learn through a hands-on experience within a working environment. Apprenticeships encourage the diversity within STEM in schools – the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths academic disciplines.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, we asked our FM Contracts Manager Hugh a few questions about his career journey which begun with an apprenticeship whilst working at Michael Nugent Ltd. 

Hugh studied at Holy Trinity College, Cookstown where he gained a great interest in Engineering and dedicated to take the career path of an apprenticeship. Hugh then enrolled with the SWC (South West College), Omagh campus to study a NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) Level 2 & 3 in Plumbing and Heating.

Hugh, tell us about your journey from when you began with Michael Nugent Ltd?

I joined the company to complete my apprenticeship while studying at Holy Trinity College. I secured 9 GCSEs to get me into Omagh South West College to do my Level 2/3 NVQ in Plumbing and Heating. I completed 3 years at the South West College and qualified with my Level 3 NVQ, I then started my apprenticeship with Michael Nugent Ltd. After serving my time as an apprentice, I then started a site supervisor / management course and learned multiple skills to manage a team successfully.

I then started to learn more regarding the mechanical side of Engineering including taking different sections of building sites and fitting them out with new pipework and appliances while learning to read plans and drawings.

As I turned 26, I was then given my own contract to supervise and manage regarding orders/ staff and planning works/management of the financial side.

Michael Nugent Ltd then offered me the opportunity to move a step further in my career and become a Contracts Manager. I then started a course through the South West College Omagh / Ulster University called Architectural Engineering and Energy. This was a foundation degree / HNC in Building Services. The course was 2 years 1 day a week and upon completion I became a fully qualified contracts manager controlling my own contracts with my dedicated team.

Would you recommend young individuals deciding their educational route to consider an apprenticeship scheme?

If you are an enthusiastic, hands-on individual, I would highly recommend the apprentice route. You are provided with many opportunities to pro-actively undertake training both in house and outsourced which develops your knowledge widely. Having a mentor along your journey is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn from them on a daily basis.

From my personal experience, I enjoyed the apprenticeship route, I have been a valued member of the team from the beginning and have continued to grow with the business 12 years on. If one of the sectors within the company doesn’t suit you, there are always more career opportunities within the organisation. I currently have two apprentices on my team which have learned an incredible amount on site since they first begun. It is a privilege to be the boys mentor as I have been in their shoes as an apprentice.

What skills are crucial in your day-to-day job?

Communication is key especially within the fast-paced engineering industry. On a daily basis I speak with clients, contractors, suppliers, my onsite team for projects and many more individuals.

Great time management skills and quick thinking is needed on FM work as we must be ready every time for a worst-case scenario, I would recommend having ICT skills and problem-solving skills and time management to keep everything running smoothly.


If becoming a part of Michael Nugent Ltd’s team interests you, we have multiple career opportunities! For more information on our positions available check out the MNL careers portal > Careers