Strengthening our international relations


A group of lecturers from Northern College, Canada visited South West College this week and were shown around the Omagh Campus, visiting many of our specialist facilities.


This week we hosted staff from Northern College in Ontario Canada , a college with an international reputation in civil and environmental engineering at technician and graduate level. The exchange programme is used to  facilitate the exchange of knowledge between staff and industry in the UK and Canada, ultimately improving the understanding of industry requirements and, therefore, enhancing student curriculum and employability.

Aaron R. Klooster from the Northern College, said, ‘Without doubt it has to be said that the facilities here are fantastic and the staff and everyone around are very friendly and pleasant. Irish people have a reputation worldwide for their hospitality and we can certainly vouch for that now having experienced it first-hand. We’re looking forward to reciprocating this when we receive visitors from South West College to Canada.’

The Erasmus+ International  Credit Mobility Programme offers opportunities for students to study and staff to teach or train in higher education institutions beyond Europe. It also makes the same opportunities available for staff and students from countries beyond Europe to come to participating Colleges and Universities in Europe. South West Colleges current International Credit Mobility Programme includes partners from Canada, USA and Russia who have expertise in the areas of civil and environmental engineering and tourism education.

This week SWC have also received news that we have been awarded funding for a new International Credit Mobility project which will provide 22 SWC staff a chance to undertake training with international partners in China, Canada and the USA. The international partners include The University of Calgary Canada , Xiangyang Vocational and Technical College in the Hubei Province of China, Madison College in Wisconsin and Wikes Community College in North Carolina.

Erasmus+ AquaVET project



South West College welcomed visitors from Athens, Madrid and Amsterdam this week for a partner meeting as part of the Erasmus+ AquaVET project. The AquaVET project forms a Strategic Partnership between vocational education providers and representatives from the water industry collaborating for the development of a training course for water technicians to improve their knowledge and skills in the area of water efficiency technologies.


South West College Alumni


Neil Maguire, Student Engagement Officer, Alumni & International, is looking for any alumni recommendations our staff may have, as he looks to build a database of previous students.

Neil says: ‘One of the problems we’re facing within the student engagement team is tracking down college alumni. There isn’t a database up and running as of yet, and although there’s social media, not everyone is necessarily on it. We’re hoping we can recruit staff and find out about any alumni you know who have progressed through the college, maybe gone on to University or started their own business.

‘Anyone who has passed their course full time, part time, regardless of campus, if you could pass on the details we’d be very grateful.’

Neil can be contacted at neil.maguire@swc.ac.uk or alumni@swc.ac.uk

New Study Finds That Ventilation Produces 15% Better Student Results

In continuation of evidence supporting the use of green, energy efficient buildings in education, a recent study has suggested that a well ventilated educational environment results in 15% improved student performance. The study, entitled ‘Greening America’s Schools Costs and Benefits’, said ’17 separate studies all found positive health impacts from improved indoor air-quality, ranging from 13.5% up to 87% improvement.’ It continued, ‘Teachers believe that temperature comfort affects both teaching quality and student achievement. Research indicates that the best teachers emphasised that their ability to control temperature in classrooms is very important to student performance.’

South West College Mini Olympics

Mini Olympics Hosted by Sports Students

South West College Sports Students held a ‘mini Olympics’ at the Omagh Leisure Centre on Thursday in aid of Cancer Care For Children. The event was part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport Programme and was attended by Paralympic Gold Medalist, Michael McKillop.

Level 3 Sports students, Lukas Rennick and Bartoz Wawro, said, ‘The event was designed to bring two local schools together, provide them with sporting activities and get them active. We were introduced to the Sky Sports Living for Sport Programme by our lecturer, and when Michael McKillop came in, he taught us more about it. It’s basically just about getting more young people involved in sport, so it’s great that we were able to do this today, and that we had such good weather and everyone had a smile on their face. It was very successful, and with the sun shining made a nice change from sitting in the classroom.’

Michael McKillop ‘Takesover’ SWC Snapchat



As part of his visit to Omagh, Michael McKillop took part in a snapchat takeover as he took the reigns of the South West College Snapchat account to showcase the Mini Olympics event. With a strong social media presence of his own, and a large sports following as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport Programme, Michael helped take the event to larger audience.




IT trainees enjoy McCloskey tour

A group of Level 2 Cambridge Diploma IT trainees travelled to McCloskey International in Coalisland to discover more about the crushing and screening plants they design and manufacture, and the potential Engineering and IT jobs that are available within the company.
Moyra Flannery, HR McCloskey International, presented a PowerPoint presentation about the company’s history, the plants they manufacture, their current production capacity and how they are expanding. A master class in preparing for interviews was also created for the students. The trainees received a tour of the manufacturing facility and learnt everything from how the stock control system operates, to the production process from start through to the testing of the finished plant.
Our IT trainees had an excellent visit to McCloskey International, they have a much better understanding about the types of jobs available locally in IT and Engineering.

Linda Clarke, Training and Support Officer


It’s celebration time…..

Join in the ‘Celebration of Success’ events across the campuses to celebrate our students achievement in 2016/17. 

Dates for your diary:

Omagh: Full-Time & Training 8th June@ 1.30pm (Central Hall) & Entitlement Framework & Confucius 9th June @ 10.30am (Central Hall)

Enniskillen:  15th June @ 2.00pm, Central Hall

Dungannon: 20th June @ 1.30pm, Central Hall




Health and Wellbeing: Mental Health Awareness Week


It’s Mental Health Awareness Week and a major theme this year has been that mental illness, despite not always carrying the same physical, outward symptoms, is just as important as physical illness. In the past, this hasn’t been the case; mental health has often been swept under the rug, with some sufferers even feeling guilty or ashamed for having to deal with it.

Now, perceptions around mental health are moving in the right direction, but it remains a slow transition…read more about this at Way out West.

Francis makes it a 1000!

On Tuesday 2nd May Francis McGirr and Tom Bradley, SWC Equality Officer, made a landmark presentation to a group of part-time evening student at the Dungannon Campus.  They delivered their 1,000th presentation on Good Relations!

Francis is the Head Student involved in the Good Relations team at South West College, who aim to break down barriers and encourage all students to treat everyone fairly and equal regardless of race, background or disability.

Francis said: The Good Relations Team is made up of seven members; Pearl Hagan’s, Ryan McCann, Roberta Anderson, Matthew Kerr, Tom Bradley, Paul Gordon and I.  Four of our team members are based in the South West College (Omagh campus) and the other three members are based in the Enniskillen Fairview campus.

It's been great to get to one thousand people already. It's been very successful and everyone is interested in the message it promotes. It's one thousand people so far, and hopefully lots more to come!

Tom Bradley, Equality Officer, said; At South West College, we are committed to fostering good relations and cultural diversity across all our campuses.  As part of this remit the college relies on excellent ambassadors like Francis who are committed to promoting equality and diversity through the delivery of programmes like this.  Francis in particular has developed new initiatives to provide platforms for engagement with staff and students from all areas of the College, and his presentation delivery is just excellent”.


Best Awards 2017

A number of our students are entered into the Best Awards 2017. The BEST Awards (Business and Education through Skills and Training) is a competition run annually by Colleges NI. Now in it’s 7th year, the BEST Awards were created to recognise the excellence and diversity of STEM project based learning in our further education colleges and to provide an annual showcase and competition for students to present their project work.

The BEST Awards is more than a competition – it is intended to be part of the development process for students preparing for their careers and provide an opportunity for them to further develop their skills in planning, problem solving, innovative thinking, communication and presentation.

The five categories for entries to this year’s Awards are: Creative Industries, Life Sciences, Engineering, Built Environment and Software, and the top 10 entrants per college will be exhibiting at this year’s BEST Awards event, taking place on Tuesday 23 May 2017 in the Grand Ballroom, Slieve Donard Hotel, Newcastle, Co. Down.

Projects from South West College students include ‘Our Fantastic Five Senses’ an educative package for young children explaining the five senses, the ‘SeaFood StudentCard’ which gives students a dedicated budget for food and encourages healthy eating, and ‘Petal Peace’, a product to promote health and wellbeing that develops positive mental health through the care of plants.


J P McManus Awards

The application process for the J P McManus Awards (also known as the All Ireland Scholarships) will open from 24 March 2017.J P McManus Awards

To be eligible – FE College applicants must be: Studying a Level 3 Extended Diploma, In receipt of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Planning to go to university in September 2017 to study an Undergraduate Degree (NB: those wishing to undertake a Foundation Degree are NOT eligible).

The top 6 applicants from FE Colleges (based on Level 3 Extended Diploma results) will receive £5,500 per year towards their university degree.

The CNI website has a J P McManus webpage which contains a copy of the Guidance Notes, Frequently Asked Questions and Application Form (note: deadline for applications is Friday 23 June 2017).

The only change this year is that CNI will receive applications via EMAIL as well as the usual POSTAL applications.

Can you please ensure that all your Level 3 Extended Diploma students – hoping to go to University in September 2017 – are aware of this fantastic competition.

Application forms are available on the CNI website: www.collegesni.ac.uk/JP-McManus

Former JP McManus Scholarship winner Megan


Easter Raffle Raises Money for Cancer Research

As part of their ‘Participating in a mini-enterprise project’, the STEP students decided to raffle an Easter basket and ask people to guess the number of Easter eggs in the jar.  They donated £5.00 each to buy the items and agreed any money raised would go to the College’s chosen charity, Cancer Research.

The event was very successful, with £216.21 being raised.  Nathan McGlinchey won the basket and Aaron Nolan won the jar (there were 112 eggs in it).  The students presented the prizes, and also the money to Leanne Patton, Health and Well Being Officer for the College.

The students would like to thank everyone who supported them.