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Study USA with SWC

The Study USA programme is an opportunity to press pause on your studies at South West College, travel to the USA and spend a year at a small College or University, before returning to your studies at SWC.

This programme is funded by the Department for the Economy and institutions in the US. First year HE students can apply. The deadline is January 20th. Find more information here.

Open Days 2020

The first of our 2020 Open Days will take place on 28th January, in Dungannon, from 12-8pm. Good luck to all staff involved, as we look forward to welcoming hundreds of prospective students to the college.

Automotive Prentice Selected for Team UK

South West College (SWC) Automotive apprentice Billie-Jo McKenzie is hoping to demonstrate her skills on both the European and World stages following her selection to Squad UK for the EuroSkills Competition in Graz, Austria and the international WorldSkills Competition in Shanghai.

Billie-Jo was invited to join the prestigious training and development programme run by WorldSkills UK after excelling in its national skills competitions, the finals of which were held last month at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham.

The EuroSkills Competition will next be held in Graz, Austria in September 2020. The competition will feature over 500 of Europe’s most talented apprentices and students competing in over 40 different skills as they battle it out to be named the European Champion in their chosen skill.

The WorldSkills Competition, which will next be held in Shanghai, China in September 2021, takes place every two years and is known as the ‘Skills Olympics’. The competition will feature over 1000 of the world’s most talented apprentices and students competing in over 50 different skills as they battle it out to be named the World Champion in their chosen skill.

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Chief Executive, WorldSkills UK said:

“Congratulations to Billie-Jo, who has already excelled in the WorldSkills UK regional and national competitions, and now she will face an even tougher test as she looks to secure a place to represent the UK on the world stage. Billie-Jo has already dedicated hundreds of hours improving her skills to get to this level and there are months of hard work ahead with our training managers and performance coaches – enabling them to transform their careers and lives.”

Billie-Jo will undertake an intense training programme with WorldSkills UK, supported by her mentor at SWC, Declan McCaughey along with staff at Donnelly Group ahead of the final team announcements for both the Euro Finals and WorldSkills Shanghai.

Declan McCaughey, Automotive Lecturer said:

“It’s fantastic to see Billie-Jo selected for the UK squad to train towards the EuroSkills and WorldSkills Competitions. WorldSkills UK Competitions are renowned within the industry for accelerating the professional development of competitors whilst highlighting the value of apprenticeships. This is an exciting process for Billie-Jo and SWC and we wish Billie-Jo well with her preparations to make the final squad for Austria and Shanghai.”

SWC Professional Cookery Apprenticeship

Foundation for South Sudan Update

Work is well underway on the refurbishment project in Rumbek in South Sudan.  Ahead of the new school term,  the new roofing project and solar panels will be complete, enabling education to return to the village bringing so much joy to the children. Click on the video link to see a short update and thank-you from South West Sudan to South West NI! #makingadifference

Chinese New Year

South West College celebrates Chinese New Year every year, highlighting the great work we do with our Confucius partners. Another great day of celebrating Spring Festival for the South West College was held in Crossmaglen last week. Cole Fey said: “It was so rewarding to meet so many students who are studying Mandarin Language with us. A very warm welcome to ourselves and the UU Confucius Institute team – we hope to be back soon!”

South West College Sport

Well done to the Enniskillen campus Men’s GAA Team who beat South Regional College this week with what was a strong performance in adverse weather conditions. We thank thank Fermanagh/Ulster GAA for their continued support of the team. 👍👍

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Sport and Exercise Science classes took part in golf lessons at the Lough Erne Golf Resort resort, as part of their Practical Individual Sports module.

New Student Governor

Introducing the Newly Appointed SWC Student Governor. Congratulations to Zack (Level 3 BTEC Business, Dungannon Campus) who has been elected by the students across SWC as the new SWC Student Governor. Zack will be the voice of the students and represent their views and opinions at the College’s Governing Body meetings. Zack has experience in a similar position, having sat as a member of the Student Council at The Royal School, Dungannon. Zack’s manifesto included his desire to increase the amount of extra-curricular activities available, increase available seating areas for students and to feedback to management any feedback from students.

Beauty Students raise money for Autism NI

// CHARITY // Lovely start to the new term with our beauty students presenting a generous cheque to Lauren from Autism NI. The team hosted a hugely successful pamper day back in December, raising vital funds for this amazing charity!

Reflexology Students

The SWC HND in Hair and Beauty Management Reflexology Clinic is running for the next eight weeks in conjuction with a PR module. There are still places available. Book here.


2020 Vision

The News can often feel like a list of everything that is wrong with the world, but by most metrics, things have never been better. Way out West looks at some sources of optimism in 2020, starting with Northern Ireland’s Creative Industries.

A lot of what we hear in the media is about how things can be improved. On Radio Four’s A Small Matter of Hope, journalist Fraser Nelson called this the paradox of progress, saying: ‘as things improve, people campaign for them to get better…so the headlines are pretty bad, but that conceals what is going right.’

He goes on to say: ‘In so many measures things are getting better. Child mortality is down…death and war is way down, deaths from malaria are way down.’ Poverty, illiteracy and death by natural disaster are also lower than ever before; while life expectancy is higher than before.

So, why then is good nearly always overshadowed by the bad?

A few years ago, director Richard Curtis offered up the analogy of the tortoise and the hare. “The hare is all the bad news, attracting all the attention, making us feel that things are getting worse and worse. But slowly, coming along, is all the scientific, technological, social progress’.

In Northern Ireland, one of these areas of progress are creative industries. For a long time, a creative career was considered impossible to pursue in Northern Ireland, but according to Lovebelfast.co.uk: ‘2019 proved to be another prosperous year for Northern Ireland Screen with many successes across film, TV drama, animation, games and factual-entertainment.

‘Throughout 2019 production continued to boost the local economy and provide employment and training opportunities for hundreds of local people.’

The outstanding example of this in recent times has been Game of Thrones, the impact of which is still being felt. But on 28 December 2019 Forbes named Ireland one of the most cinematic destinations in the world, thanks also to productions like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Derry Girls and the Fall. Read more on Way out West…