Read about Ronan’s story, career background, and why he chose to do the apprenticeship at Polar Ice, along with his thoughts on the National Apprenticeship Office award.
Ronan first joined Polar Ice for work experience when he was in Leaving Cert Applied (LCA), at around 15 years of age. He was drawn to Polar Ice having frequently seen the branded fleet go through the town and learned that they were a local family business. He was also curious about the rather unique dry ice product that Polar Ice manufactured. He even returned for a second year’s work experience to learn more about the different areas of the business.
Ronan grew up in Portarlington town, but he describes himself as a country boy at heart, with a great love of the outdoors. Like many locals, the surrounding bogland has long been a part of his family history and where he often likes to spend time. His interests also extend to tractors and other machinery; Ronan had a tractor licence from a young age and enjoyed being involved in tractors runs and similar events.
When Ronan finished school, he was offered a job by Polar Ice, working with the production team. Over the years he learned a great deal working in all departments; from manufacturing, to the warehouse, and eventually the logistics side of the business. This is where Ronan found the kind of work he enjoyed most, a role that combines his love of machinery and the freedom of being out on the road. In his logistics role, Ronan was also responsible for loading, unloading, vehicle safety checks, and driving the LGV range of the fleet once he obtained his full car license.
The apprenticeship was attractive to Ronan as it allows him an opportunity to upskill in the logistics industry. To expand his knowledge, learning about different aspects of the industry including legalisation, route planning, vehicle planning & replacement, including budgeting. As well as on-the-job training for the industry, the daily challenges drivers face and how to best navigate them.
At the end of this apprenticeship, Ronan will receive a university qualification, something Ronan says he had never envisioned for himself in his earlier years.
“I very much learn by doing and by taking a more hands-on approach, so the typical classroom environment never really suited me. Finding a role where I’m (mostly) free of a desk, and where my work is varied and quick-paced has been a real game changer. When you find your thing – that work that you enjoy – it really does make the journey easier. The apprenticeships earn as you learn approach gave me a practical way to upskill, but to do so during my working hours, so I still have that really important work-life balance. I’m really enjoying the course; the content of each module is extremely valuable for my day-to-day work. I highly recommend this apprenticeship to other companies and any persons (male or female) who are considering a career in the logistics and supply chain industry.”
Dennis Ryan, Ronan’s mentor commented;
“Polar Ice are thrilled that our team member Ronan Dunne was an award winner at the Apprentice of the Year 2023 Awards. Ronan is a pleasure to mentor; he clearly has a love for the logistics industry, and this shines through in his commitment to his course work, his working day, his team members, and our customers.
Polar Ice made the decision to upskill one of our own team members on the Transport Operations & Commercial Driving Apprenticeship, giving Ronan the opportunity for professional development and to graduate in under two years with a Level 6 qualification from Atlantic Technology University in Sligo. Under this programme, apprentices are given the opportunity to gain a higher education qualification as well as their professional driving qualification, giving Ronan both the technical and business skills to excel in our industry. The programme is supported by lead proposer Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTA Ireland) and co-ordinating provider Atlantic Technological University Sligo. It is through their combined efforts and supported by a strong consortium that this programme has come to fruition. Polar Ice are thrilled to be part of the very first group of apprentices and we are all excited for the future growth that lies ahead.