CBI Conference

More than 100 senior business leaders gathered in Dungannon on Tuesday for the launch of the CBI’s Rural Economy Summit,  in partnership with NIE Networks and South West College.

A fantastic line up of speakers, including Innovate UK, NIE Networks, Ofcom, Dale Farm, CDE Global, ASDA, Devenish Nutrition, South West College and Telestack shared their insights about growth and maximising regional opportunities, while Mike Brennan, Deputy Secretary, Strategic Policy Group, Department for the Economy provided an update on the Department’s vision for 2030.

Opening the conference, Trevor Lockhart, CBI Vice Chair and Chief Executive of Fane Valley, said:

‘Working alongside Northern Ireland¹s Department for the Economy, the CBI is excited to play a leading role in informing and improving regional economic policy.

‘It’s only when we get all of the main players from business and the Executive together that we can build the strong, competitive and regionally balanced economy we need to create more sustainable jobs and deliver greater prosperity.

‘Raising productivity across Northern Ireland will be a major boost to our economy,­ creating the strong economic growth necessary for improving the wellbeing and prosperity of all our citizens.’

It was a thoroughly engaging event, with a variety of high quality and thought provoking speakers, covering a range of topics relevant in Northern Ireland and beyond.


‘Road to Recovery’ – Innovative Commercial Heat Recovery within the Refrigeration and A/C Market

The CREST centre hosted ‘Road to Recovery’ on Thursday, a free heat recovery seminar that focuses on the refrigeration and air conditioning market. The event, run in collaboration with The Institute of Refrigeration Ireland (IRI), and aimed at retailers, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers, food manufacturers and other interested parties, focused on Innovative Commercial Heat Recovery Technology and Applications for businesses, including practical case studies and cost and energy saving opportunities.

Declan Fitzmaurice, a past president of the Institute of Refrigeration Ireland, who currently chairs their Technical Committee, was key note speaker. He was joined on stage by a number of other distinguished speakers including, Paul Wharton, Technical Support Engineer from Danfoss; Jim Clarke from Invest NI, Andrew Dunwoody, a Technical Sales Engineer from the Cross Refrigeration Group and Raymond Howe, Course Co-Ordinator for Refrigeration Courses and Apprenticeships at South West College.

Heather Young, industrial development associate at CREST, believes it’s a great opportunity that local business should be availing of. “The Road to Recovery Event gives businesses the opportunity to investigate the potential for recovering waste heat from their refrigeration and air conditioning systems with the purpose of reducing energy and ultimately utility costs.”

STEP Employment Day

The STEP Employment day held in Omagh on Tuesday brought students, college staff and employers together to highlight the brilliant work being done through the STEP programme. Attended by large numbers, the event maintained a small crowd atmosphere that highlighted the family feeling within the programme, as an interactive presentation showed each student in their respective placement setting.

Richard Young and Andy O’Neill, with their employer from Camp Hill.

Seannann McCullagh, her employer, Roisin McCullagh (St Brigid’s Primary school, Mountfield) and Roisin’s daughter, Hannah.


Celebration of Success

Our latest Celebration of Success took place in Enniskillen on Thursday, as we continue to acknowledge the great work of the students across our campuses. The Celebration of Success takes place in Dungannon on Tuesday 20th June.


Quality Assured

Over the past two months the Quality Unit has gone through an intense period of scrutiny from four different Awarding Organisations, each assessing the robustness of our College internal quality assurance processes and practices.  The outcomes from each of these reviews has been very positive and is reflected in the fact that all HNC/D programmes have been released successfully with External Examiners making some very positive comments about the quality of work that was presented – well done to the teams concerned!

The scrutinies included:

  • Pearson Quality Management Review Level 1-7 (27.04.17)  led by Lynda Wilson – no actions required
  • ISO 9001:2008 audit (23/24.05.17) led by Valerie Gillis – no actions required
  • City and Guilds systems audit (25.05.17)led by Valerie Gillis – no actions required
  • OCN NI systems audit led by (14.06.17) Patricia Anne Murray – no actions required

In addition to this the College was awarded high level of confidence in its self-evaluation and quality improvement processes by ETI on the 7th April.  This achievement cannot be accomplished without the support and input from academic staff, students and wider support staff and has such reflects the College values of  Excellence, Team work and Confidence!



SWC Future Skills Cyber Security Fundamentals Academy

South West College is getting involved in the world of cyber security. Padraig McNamee talks about the Future Skills Cyber Security Academy:

The Academy is DFE funded, and is on the fundamentals of Cyber Security, set up to create a bank of well qualified, skilled, employees, for organisations who realise they have a need for securing their systems. The curriculum has been designed in collaboration with a number of industry bodies, both specialist in Cyber Security, and companies who aren’t cyber security specialists, but who have cyber security needs.

See more in the video below, and read more about cyber security in general on Way out West’s report on the Ransomware Attacks…


Design projects on display in Omagh

Product and Graphic Design students had their work on display in the Idea Centre this week as external moderators came to view it. The exhibition showcased some of the fantastic work that has been done by our students this year, reiterating what was shown by recent success at the 2017 Best Awards. Student, Damian McQuaid took the opportunity to reflect on the academic year he’s had, saying: ‘I entered my project in the Best Awards this year, and I actually won the innovative award. You can have any idea here, and with all the facilities available you’ve a great chance of making them a reality. Things like the 3D printers mean you can really make exactly what you want to make. The staff are brilliant, they’re really helpful, and with the smaller classes they can really chat to you and help you.’

Level 2 IT Trainess Enjoy End of Year Paintballing Trip

On Tuesday 6th June, the OCR Level 2 IT trainees and 2 intrepid members of staff, John Lyons and Linda Clarke, went along to Todds Leap to enjoy paintballing, as an end of term team building extravaganza.

Linda Clarke, said: ‘The trainees thoroughly enjoyed the experience, working together to achieve the goals set by Todds Leap staff around the various arenas. Everyone was on a real high on the journey home and talking about the next activity they could take part in. Thank you to June, Sinead and Padraig for approving the trip.’



Way out West Meets Ken Reid

Way out West met up with UTV’s political Editor Ken Reid when the TV cameras came to our Omagh Campus last month. Ken discussed how career started, and his current role in politics, saying, ‘I’ve found as a journalist that the way you gain respect is by being fair and balanced anyway. I mean I would certainly hope that nobody could know my own politics. I think that’s crucial.’ Read more on Way out West…

#WOW Meets Ken Reid