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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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‘Get Engineering’

We’re preparing to celebrate NI Apprenticeship Week with ‘Get Engineering’, which will take place on Tuesday 27 April from 5:30-7:00pm and will demonstrate to prospective apprentices and employers the benefits of becoming and hiring an apprentice. This interactive online webinar will include a live Q+A function and will be hosted live on You Tube Premiere. Organised in conjunction with local employers, the event will offer visitors the chance to find out more about local engineering apprenticeship opportunities and courses starting from September 2021, suitable for both A Level and GCSE school leavers. Prospective apprentices are encouraged to pre-register for the event and should log on to the College website at www.swc.ac.uk/NIAW Read more about the event here.

SWC Chief Executive, Michael McAlister said: “The Get Engineering Virtual Careers Fair is a great opportunity for young people and their parents to hear for themselves what apprenticeships are available. It is designed to give school leavers and those looking to further their career prospects a valuable opportunity to experience at first hand the variety of exciting job options available to them and the high-quality skills training that is on offer to help them realise their ambitions right here on their doorstep. 

Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Awards

Also central to NI Apprenticeship Week are the NI Apprenticeship awards, which recognise apprentices who are making a significant contribution in their workplace and have shown a dedication to excel in their professional development and learning. Winners of the awards will be announced on Wednesday 28th April.

Higher Level Apprentices Hannah Maneely from Dungannon, who studies Manufacturing Engineering and is employed by Nugent Engineering, and Barry Donnelly from Dungiven, who studies Architectural Engineering & Energy and is employed by Cundall Ltd, Belfast, have both been shortlisted in the NI Higher Level Apprentice of the Year category.  Jonathan Hawthorne from Armagh, who studies Gold Engineering and is employed with Greiner Packaging has been shortlisted for the NI Apprentice of the Year award. South West College partner employers, TBC Conversions (Donnelly Group) have also been nominated for the SME Apprentice Employer Award. You can read more about SWC’s talented trio here.

Women in Sport – Changing the Game’

This month, South West College are hosting a webinar, Women in Sport- Changing the Game’. The webinar, taking place on April 21 will feature an open forum discussion with invited guests focusing on challenges in sport, their own personal milestones and achievements, and education opportunities for women. The guests are Grainne Crabtree, an IRFU National Panel Referee; Gemma Begley from the Women’s Gaelic Players Association; Tandy Jane Haughey, Ulster University; Aoife Downey, Warrenpoint Town FC General Manager; and Beth Healy, Cricket Ireland- Women’s Team Operations Manager. They will share their stories and the passion for sport in a way that will inspire others. Register for the event here. 

Speaking ahead of the event, Jane McGinty, Deputy Head of School for Sports and Life Science at South West College, said: “Following a very difficult year the success stories of these women should provide inspiration to others. This webinar highlights the continuing efforts made to close the gender gap in female participation in sport, on and off the field of play, presenting the opportunities available to female athletes and coaches across the country.”  

SEN Team re-create The Masked Singer

The SEN team across Omagh, Cookstown, and Enniskillen campuses held their own version of the Masked Singer recently, as fifteen lecturers and support staff from the team created disguises and stage names accompanied by pre-recorded homemade music videos. Students and staff logged into the live and interactive show online over a period of 3 weeks. They voted for their favourite performances and attempted to guess which member of staff was behind the mask. The final round saw 3 contestants: ‘Queen Mare-cury’, ‘The Lough Ness Monster’ and ‘The Mad Biker’ compete (with plenty of help from the student audience!) in a live sing-off, music quiz, and dance-off before the final verdict. ‘The Mad Biker’ aka Sandra Blackburn was crowned the final winner after an entertaining take on a classic Meatloaf song. Hats off to all involved in this engaging, lockdown-friendly, and fun event!   

Meet Your Colleague: Aisling McQuaid

We’re continuing to showcase our staff, highlighting what they get up to at and away from work. This week we hear from Aisling McQuaid, about how she has settled into the marketing department, her hobbies away from the college, and how she once played at Croke Park.

Tell us a bit about your role within South West College?

As a Marketing and Communication Officer, I work in the marketing team, so the role is quite exciting and varied. I work alongside the rest of the marketing team, actively promoting the College through various channels and supporting the Colleges marketing priorities. A large part of my role involves producing press releases and liaising with the media to generate press coverage.

How long have you worked at the College? What has been a highlight of your time here?

I am still relatively new to the College and started around October time which is nearly six months ago. The time has flown by, and to date, I have really enjoyed my time working with the College as everyone is so friendly and always willing to offer advice, which is great, especially when you are new to the job. Read more here.

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