Ronan (16) hired as apprentice after online Facebook post goes viral

A teenage boy, who posted a plea on social media for an employer to give him an apprenticeship, is overwhelmed after it went viral.

Ronan Mongan with some of the many trophies he has won for boxing.

Ronan Mongan, aged 16, was very concerned when, after gaining nine GCSEs, he was told he may not get into the local Further Education College unless he was sponsored by an electrician.

The Portadown teenager, who went to St John’s Primary School and then to St Patrick’s College in Armagh, was struggling to find someone to take him on as an apprentice but turned to social media and within days his post was shared 6,000 times.

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Ronan revealed: “As much as I enjoyed school I didn’t want to go into higher education so my dad, Martin, told me if I achieved my GCSEs and was mature enough to pick a trade and organise getting into tech and getting an employer to take me on to serve my time, then he would allow me to leave school.”

Ronan Mongan.

He explained that he wanted to be an electrician as it can open doors to other trades.

“Being an electrician I can go down so many avenues and use that to go forward, like joining the fire service or joining the army. So it provides me with options which can only be a good thing for myself.”

Ronan, who is a champion boxer, used his time during lockdown to keep up his training and trying different programmes with his father.

When he discovered he had to get an employer by the Friday or lose his place on the apprenticeship course and have to wait another year, Ronan said it was more out of desperation that he took to Facebook to see if anyone might take him on.

Ronan Mongan with boxing trainer Gerry Storey.

“The response I received I could never have dreamed of. I think it had over 6,000 shares and I received countless messages of support and several offers for people going to take me on as an apprentice.

“The response was unbelievable and it goes to show. Not only the power of Facebook but there’s a real sense of community out there and a real willingness for people to help each other.”

“I feel really lucky so many people wanted to help me and I’m grateful to everyone who shared the post,” said Ronan, adding Colin McCusker has taken him on as an apprentice.

Ronan said his father is a huge inspiration and has been teaching him exercise and boxing from a young age. “I fell in love with the sport.”

Ronan Mongan winning another boxing match.

He first started boxing at Phoenix ABC club with Marty Toland in Lurgan coached by the Haughian family and when he was 12 he moved to Gilford Amateur Boxing Club with Bernard McComiskey - all who whom were hugely inspiring to Ronan.

“My dad always told me it’s not just about boxing it’s about building relationships and meeting people,” said Ronan who has now joined the Holy Family Boxing Club in Belfast.

“I have had over 100 fights/exhibitions. I’ve been lucky enough to claim a few provincial titles and a few tournaments and managed to box in Germany for the high performance team under the tutelage of Michael Conlan’s dad Jon and Damian Kennedy and I returned from the Black Forest Cup.

He has heroes such as Carl Frampton but his real inspiration is his family and friends.

“I have unbelievable support. My dad is a single dad and he is my inspiration. Three years ago him, myself and my younger brother were homeless for about six months. Not once did I see my dad down, upset or even moan. He’s kept smiling despite everything and he has given me and my brother a nice home. He is my dad, my mum, my cook, my cleaner, mentor, friend and my coach and he does all this for me and my brother while working shifts. He has provided for us and never moaned about it.

“He has made sure I remain focused on my boxing and my schoolwork and that strength has allowed me to do well in my life. I know I’m nowhere near the best boxer out there but I’ve fought with best kids in the country and I’m doing okay.

“I believe through hard work and dedication and the support of my family friends and community that I can qualify as an electrician and become a professional boxer. That’s the dream.”

“My dad drives me all over the country in his old Ford Focus and I know it takes every penny he has to raise me and my brothers. So I would love to be a professional boxer so I could buy him a new Ford Focus. That’s my ambition and anything else is a bonus,” said Ronan, who coaches children aged 7-11 in Portadown Community Boxing Club with Clifford Forbes.

The enterprising 16-year-old is funding his training by selling T-shirts. If anyone wants one, check out Ronan’s Facebook page or call 07724 223 429.

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