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Welcome to Way Out West your unofficial guide to living, working and studying in the west of the province

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FRONT PAGE FRIDAY

Huge well done to you all, we have reached Friday in our first remote delivery week.

We understand the difficulties of this situation for you, your colleagues, your students and your families.  Trying to maintain a working pattern is very difficult right now and we know that you are all doing your very best to juggle work and home life.  We appreciate your on-going efforts and have seen some excellent examples of workarounds for staff and students.

It is a credit to you all that we are still open for business and this is due to the incredibly hard work that you have put in.  Stay in touch with each other – team meetings are key.  Help each other out where you can – if you need help, make sure to ask.

Thanks for all your incredible work in preparation for and during this week.  South West College staff and students have been amazing.  Remember the College is not just a place to work but a source of support – reach out if you need to and staff will do their utmost to help.  Enjoy your weekend as best you can and remember that the Easter Break is just around the corner.  Be Safe and take care of yourselves and your families.

– South West College Senior Management Team

HR: Remote working guidelines

We are in extraordinary times and as part of a precautionary measure being taken for the management of COVID-19 SWC are now supporting our staff to work remotely.  The purpose of these guidelines is to support staff on how to adapt to this different way of working, maintain good security practices as well as ensuring the continuity of college business using our excellent online systems. 

You will appreciate that the information and guidance is continually changing in this fluid environment. Please ensure you are keeping up to date with the latest PHA & government guidelines at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/  and https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Remote working refers to a working style in which an employee works outside of their traditional work environment.  This is enabled by a range of online collaboration tools such as Canvas, Microsoft Teams, Office 365, Blackboard Collaborate and other appropriate tools. 

For some people this transition may be a seamless and natural one and for others it will be a struggle to adapt.  Regardless of which group you fit into you are not alone and we will come together as a college community to support one another during this time.  

If this is a new experience  you will have to adapt to Getting to grips with remote working; Dealing with technology problems; Finding the balance between working and being available for family members who are also at home. However we will also have the opportunity to learn new skills to make the best use of our technology/connect in a different way; and gain some respite from the daily commute to/from work yet still be able to come to work from our remote settings. 

Read the full remote working guidelines here and the guidelines for line managers/supervises here.

STUDENT SUPPORT: ‘We’re still here…’

At South West College, we recognise that these may well be worrying times for our students and their family and friends. It’s important to remind everyone that student support is still available and there is still someone to talk to. As we move towards remote learning, student services will remain as accessible as ever, and for now, student support staff are best accessed via e-mail. We will continue to update our students with all developments, and will use our social media channels to provide more detailed information on areas such as EMA, Student Finance and Health and Wellbeing.

Student Engagement officer, Nicki Gregg recorded a video this week for the South West College Facebook page, reassuring students that college staff are still here for them, ready to help with any concerns of listen to anything they want to talk about. Nicki also shared a few helpful tips on how she has been adjusting to our new shared normality and working from home in the last week. Remember to keep an eye on our social media pages as we continue to use them to support our students and their families.

‘I want to share a few things that have been helpig me get through the last week. I’m trying to keep my routine as normal as possible. I get up in the morning at the same time i usually do, I exercise as normal, and then i go a SPECIFIC area that i have set aside for college work.

Nicki gregg

support for local scrub drive

Following news stories about the lack of scrubs available for our front line hospital staff, our very own Clara Maybin put out an appeal over social media to help get healthcare workers the supplies they need. Clara said “I decided to do this when a relative said they were so low on scrubs they wouldn’t have any for the next few days. I couldn’t believe it. I did a few posts on social media and it has just spiralled! We have people all over Northern Ireland sewing scrubs and donating their old scrubs.I know there are businesses beginning to produce them, but the quantities and wait for some nurses at this stage is too long.”

I would like to appeal to the staff in the College who may have any scrubs at home or would like to donate material to please contact tracy.sharkey@swc.ac.uk or call 074 3653 3475. Collection can be arranged.

STEM AT HOME

As we are all trying to adjust to new routines, staff from the SWC STEM Centre thought it was a good time to share some STEM activity inspiration by suggesting activities that staff, students and kids can try at home. To get involved, like the STEM Facebook and Instagram pages. Don’t worry, you won’t need to be a scientist or mathematician to take part…its all about having fun and learning a little along the way!

HEALTH and wellbeing

The ‘Coping Calendar’ suggests 30 actions to help look after ourselves and each other, as we face this global crisis together. Advice includes: make a plan to help you keep calm and stay in contact with people; Get active – even if you’re stuck indoors, move and stretch; send a latter or message to someone you can’t be with.

STAYING SAFE SANE AT HOME

It has no doubt been a strange and perhaps challenging week for staff as we adapt to working from home. However, we’re doing our best to carry on and in several ways have already made great progress in adapting the new situation. A few members of staff have already shared pictures to give us a glimpse into their current working day. Please get in touch with friday@swc.ac.uk to share your own pictures and experiences so far.

Troy Prenter: “I’ve managed to get myself set up in our Henry’s bedroom whilst he’s in the kitchen with his mum and sister for home schooling, which is actually going remarkably well…almost too well. We have a set routine during the week to make sure things stay as normal as possible for the children (and us), even as far as getting
 Henry to wear his school uniform during ‘school hours’ #staysafe all! “

Niall Marlow: For me, working from home at present means going without a settled work-space. My laptop usually goes from my knee, to just out of reach of my wee man, and back to my knee again, on repeat for most of the working day. But i’m managing to get stuff done, alongside the essential day time naps. (him not me) of course!

STUDENT SPORTING SUCCESS

It already seems like a long time ago, but right up until the point where it was no longer advisable to do so, our talented students were showcasing their skills on the national stage.

RUSTLERS IRELAND CUFL ALL-IRELAND MEN’S DIVISION THREE FINAL

THURSDAY 12TH MARCH 2020 MAYNOOTH UNIVERSITY ‘C’ 0 v 1 SOUTH WEST COLLEGE-ENNISKILLEN A last minute goal from Alex Holder proved just enough to get South West College Enniskillen past the Maynooth University ‘C’ side and clinch the Colleges and Universities League Division Three title for a first ever success after just two seasons playing in this all island competition. The final at a windswept Athlone Town Stadium turned out to be a very close affair and with the conditions the players had to contend with the game produced very few chances. The game had remained scoreless going into the final minute and the prospects of extra time looked likely the Enniskillen side had one last chance to break the deadlock and Holder seized the opportunity in some style and he proved to be the side’s hero. Simon Warrington delivered a deep cross into the Maynooth box from the left where Cian Kavanagh managed to block the ball which was then headed clear to the edge of the box, but it fell nicely for Holder. The South West College play maker who had impressed all through the game with his hard work and was subsequently awarded Man of the Match steadied himself and powered a right footed effort past the helpless Maynooth ‘keeper Hugh Murphy. Maynooth did have a golden opportunity to get their heads in front early in the second half after Callum Worfield ran clear of the South West defence. His run took him into the box and with only goalkeeper Ben Thompson to beat the Maynooth striker pulled his finish outside the post. A delighted South West College Manager Chris McDowell said “I am delighted for this group of players, the effort and commitment they have shown over the season has been top class and they got there rewards today, what an achievement . Man of the Match: Alex Holder (South West College).

keeping fit and healthy at home

So your online learning 💻is sorted…you’ve all your box sets 🎥 queued up for the next few 📅weeks/months 🤪all you need now is a regular fitness session 🧘‍♀️🤸‍♀️ beamed into your house twice a week….look no further. Our SWC Evolve Fitness Suite team are offering FREE sessions twice a week. Details below….

I.T: Remote Learning with Microsoft Teams WEBINAR

Build collaborative classrooms, join professional learning communities and connect with colleagues with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a digital hub that brings conversations, meetings, files and apps together in one place. Because Teams is built on Office 365, education benefit from integration with their familiar Office apps and services.

With Microsoft Teams, your school or institution can create collaborative classrooms, connect in professional learning communities, communicate with school staff, coordinate research across institutions or more easily facilitate student life efforts like clubs or extracurricular activities – all from a single experience in Office 365 for Education.

We are offering a bespoke education-focused Teams webinar, to focus on the use of Teams for Education in a remote learning environment. During the webinar we will cover a basic live demo of:

  • What is Microsoft Teams for Education?
  • Conversation and chat functions
  • File Storage
  • Integrated Class Notebooks
  • Assignment features

This webinar will be aimed at users that are perhaps new to the adoption of Teams for Education and are looking to understand the basics of how it can be utilised to both communicate with their staff and colleagues as well as provision remote learning for their students during these unprecedented times.

increased phishing email risk

Now that a large amount of people around the world are working from home and outside the usual protection of the organisation, hackers have stepped up their efforts.  here are reports all over the world of hackers trying to use Covid-19 to make people drop their guard and either infect their machine or provide login information. It’s always worth recapping some of the questions you should keep in mind when receiving e-mails. Do I know the sender or am I expecting this e-mail? Why would this person be sharing a document with me or is it too good to be true? Is the grammar or formatting poor? Also, remember: no one but you needs your password.

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