After a summer of great weather, Front Page Friday is back to let you know about some of the things that have happened since June, and keep you up to date with what has already been a busy new academic year at South West College. Open evenings and enrolment days have brought a wave of new students and returners into our campuses, while our new campaign – Because Life Is Never Just Black And White – has helped highlight how varied our students are.
1st year Joinery student Joseph Fitzpatrick (pictured below) is just one of our students to have been profiled as part of the campaign. You can see some of the others on the college Facebook page. Joseph knew how to get his first impression right last week as he strutted his steel toe-capped boots to our Dungannon Vibe-a-thon. Good man Joseph, keep up the good work.
Erne Campus Update
The Erne Campus ground works started on site in July with Tracey Bros making substantial progress to date. At present our new build is on track to be completed in April 2020. Work is around the clock at the minute to complete rock breaking, get the foundations in and the steel fame erected by Christmas ’18. The Contracts Manager Donal McGloin and Site Manager Paddy Kerrin have been working with the Erne Team and Curriculum staff to put student placements and site visits in place by the end of September. The time lapse of the progress on site will be available to view on Front Page Friday and the Erne page www.swc.ac.uk/Ernecampus in the coming weeks! #excitingtimesahead
We welcomed delegates from Pudong, China on Wednesday. We were able to show off some of the best South West College has to offer, including visits to the IDEA Centre, student workshops, the SUSE horticulture poly-tunnel (pictured), and several other facilities. There’ll be more about the visit in the next edition of Front Page Friday.
Talented young construction apprentices shine at Skillbuild NI 2018
SWC apprentices Edward Allen and Kyle Weir were among the 80+ trades apprentices who gathered their tools to compete at the annual Skillbuild NI National Finals held earlier this year at NWRC, Limavady Campus.
Edward from the Technology and Skills Centre and Kyle from Omagh Campus secured first place in their respective trade categories of Cabinet Making and Joinery.
Skillbuild NI is organised by CITB NI and supported by the Department for the Economy. The competition helps to assist with maintaining and raising the status and standards of professional and technical education and training and many winners progress further to represent NI in the Skills Show UK and potentially at WorldSkills.
Speaking about Edward and Kyle’s achievements, Ciaran McManus, Head of Industry and Training at South West College said:
“Congratulations to both Edward and Kyle who have excelled in their respective trades. The Skillbuild NI competition provides our young apprentices with a great platform to showcase their skills to other apprentices and importantly to key employers who are keen to identify new talent and skilled apprentices to meet their company needs.”
The SUSE+ Programme celebrated its first Celebration of Success on 31st August at Dungannon Campus.
The Event was opened by Ciaran McManus ,Head of Industry & Training. Guest speakers included Councillor Sean McPeake, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Annie McGowan Head of ESF Branch, Marie Devlin Agewell & Ann Marie Hegarty, Tesco. Over 50 participants and stakeholders attended the event to celebrate achievement in the programme from April 2018 – including Level 1 qualifications and successful progression into Employment and Further Education.
The SUSE+ programme is part financed by European Social Fund and Department for the Economy. It is also match funded by Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, Mid Ulster District Council, DAERA & Radius Housing.
SUSE+ is a Mentor led initiative that will identify and address barriers to progression into Education, Training & Sustained Employment through1:1 mentoring support, Careers Guidance, Level 1 qualifications and specialist training. Participants will have access to Specialist Support Services, work placement and Step Into Employment Programmes. Post programme mentoring for the 12 months aftercare package. The programme is eligible to those aged 16+ who are unemployed or economically inactive.
The programme is available in all campuses at South West College – Enniskillen, Cookstown, Dungannon Omagh and also Northern Regional College – Magherafelt.
Congratulations to Claire McCloskey who won the overall staff award 2018.
‘Don’t Drop Out, Drop In’ is one our new college initiatives encouraging students that may be facing challenges of tough decisions regarding their education to come in and ask for help rather than giving up. The imitative highlights how SWC can help with changing course and managing workloads, and reminds students that having made it this far, they shouldn’t give up.
The European Parliament in Brussels was the final destination for the all-female team of ambassadors on the Miss STEM Europe project, who were tasked with the mission of influencing policy-makers and to raise awareness about the need to encourage more females into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) study and careers.
Encouraging girls to consider and pursue a STEM career is critical if engineers and innovators of the future are to undertake the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Despite girls showing a passion for technology at a very young age, girls still remain underrepresented with gender stereotypes in STEM study and the workplace.
Thirty females from local post-primary schools, South West College and STEM related careers participated in the project, which was delivered by SWC and the Leuven Institute (funded by Erasmus+).
“Our research with local businesses, educators and authorities has enabled the team to formulate an action plan aimed at increasing the number of STEM ambassadors, promoting gender neutral toys and promoting positive social environments in the workplace.”
Emma Gormley (McAleer and Rushe) from Miss STEM project, added;
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for local females to address the underrepresentation of females in STEM education and employment and it’s important that our work continues to reach out to key influencers in industry, education and policy making.”
During the trip to Brussels, the team also visited the Living Tomorrow project – an inspirational hub for innovative enterprises – where visitors can experience products and services that could vastly improve the quality of our future life, home and workplace.
Starting this September (Thursday 20th) our 12 week Pound for Pound weight loss programme will help you lose those excess lbs, get healthier all while raising vital funds for the College’s Charity “The Education Foundation For South Sudan”. The Health and Wellbeing programme will donate £1 to the College’s Charity for every 1Ib of weight a staff member loses.
During the 12 weeks participants will receive nutrition, dietary and exercise advice and lots of support from the team. The programme will consist of weekly weigh-ins, support network and information. Staff will have the opportunity to attend a group workshop on nutrition, diet and exercise (Thursday 20th September 11-12pm). If you’re interested in participating please reply on/or before Friday 14th September. Weigh-ins will take place every Thursday 11-12pm in the Omagh campus.
In an attempt to engage more directly with students, “You Said, We Did” forms have been revamped and will be available at reception in each campus this week. I would be grateful if you would make your co-ordinators aware of this process and encourage them to distribute the leaflet to their student groups. The purpose of this process is to allow students the opportunity to feedback on any issue, outside the management and delivery of their programme, which they are concerned about. Students are invited to complete the form and leave it at reception. The Quality & Performance Manager will feedback directly on a monthly basis and collate a report for management to inform them of student concerns.
NI Students Experience Shanghai International Youth Interactive Friendship Camp
This summer for the first time, the Northern Ireland Bureau office in Beijing successfully secured five places for students from the province to attend the 14th Shanghai International Youth Interactive Camp in Shanghai, China.
Over the last thirteen years the camp has attracted close to 1500 teenagers from 53 countries and regions around the world. The purpose of the event it to provide an opportunity for the young participants to set up a bridge of friendship, provide an exchange platform beyond language and cultural barriers and introduce and develop a spirit of co-operation.
Representing NI was Lucia Cathers (Omagh Academy); Niamh Doherty and Chelsea McElroy (Loreto Grammar, Omagh); Jack McKane (Methodist College, Belfast) and Rachel Thompson (Enniskillen Royal Grammar School), accompanied by Linda Beatty, South West College Confucius Officer.
The itinerary included visits to, Shanghai Zoo; Zhujiajiao Water Town; Shanghai Natural History Museum; Oriental Pearl TV Tower and Volkswagen China, as well as activities such as orienteering around Shanghai city; night cruise on Huangpu River; speaking Chinese; Chinese brush writing and Chinese papercutting.
A unique feature of the trip allowed each student to spend a weekend with a Shanghainese family and one of the NI students, Jack McKane was interviewed for television speaking about his Shanghai experience.
On behalf of the group, Linda Beatty expressed her sincere gratitude and thanks to Mr Tim Losty, Minister Counsellor for Northern Ireland Bureau for giving the NI representatives this experience and acknowledged “the support the delegates received from Yan Liu and the staff at Confucius Institute at Ulster University and not forgetting all the staff and volunteers in Shanghai who made everyone so welcome and done everything with a smile on their face.”
The students agreed it was life-changing, memorable and unforgettable, with one summing it up perfectly citing “A gem of a memory tucked inside my heart forever.”
Congratulations to our Media Lecturer Caroline Bradley, who not only accomplished a long-term goal of completing the PGCE but in doing so, Caroline also achieved the highest grade across the PGCE FE in Northern Ireland!
Caroline was presented with the Biggar Award at a special prize-giving ceremony at Ulster University in Coleraine.
The Media team of staff and students are delighted for their colleague and lecturer!
Caroline said: “It’s been great to share the news of my achievement with my students as they knew that I had been studying for the past two years and they had also been part of the observations and coursework activities. Although there were times when studying had been a real pain, it has given me a new sense of confidence in what I do on a personal and professional level. It has certainly been a worthwhile experience and helped to prepare me for teaching in today’s challenging environment.”