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

Fb. In. Tw. Yt.

#WOW AT SOUTH WEST COLLEGE, WE LOVE TO SHOWCASE OUR TALENTED STAFF AND WHAT THEY GET UP TO AT AND AWAY FROM WORK. AS WE CONTINUE TO TEACH AND WORK REMOTELY, WE’RE DOING THIS BY ASKING THEM FIVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR ROLES AT SWC AND THEIR PASSIONS AWAY FROM WORK. NEXT UP, IS ROBERT FITZPATRICK.

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

I am Heritage Skills Co-ordinator for the construction students, who are working at restoring the Enniskillen Workhouse. The project will take 18 months and on completion, will be a fantastic addition to the new college as both a heritage and enterprise centre. The project is providing opportunities for 12 individuals to achieve an NVQ Level 3 heritage skills (construction) qualification.

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

I have been working in the College Part Time lecturing in HR from 2012, but took a new full time post in August 2020 as Heritage Skills Co-Ordinator. I settled in very quickly and have met many interesting people and visited local places of historical interest and beauty.

What is your favourite thing about SWC/your job?

I have always had a passion for local history and heritage so this job is perfect for me. The restoration of the Workhouse will be a fantastic asset to the community. In my job, I get the opportunity to work with people of all ages and offer apprentices a pathway. This can enhance their future possibilities for employment and perhaps live locally.

How have you found the transition to working remotely?

I had little experience of working remotely prior to this, so at first it was a daunting experience, having to contend with Wi-Fi and technological issues for starters. Added into the mix was my wife and I trying to juggle home-schooling. Despite this, having previously spent 25 years in a HR job, I was resilient to adapting quickly to the challenge.

What do you miss most about being on campus?

I miss the office printer and scanner.  But most importantly, I miss the daily face to face contact with my colleagues, students and employers at the skills centre.

What passions do you have away from work?

I enjoy weekly football with friends and I coach a kid’s soccer team in the BKYL. I am also an ardent Leeds United supporter and delighted to see them playing so well this season.  I am a member of my church choir for 15 years and we were fortunate to sing for the Queen, the Pope and President Higgins in recent times. I have a keen interest in amateur dramatics and have had roles in various musicals and pantomimes in the Ardhowen Theatre. This is how I met my wife and made other lasting friendships over the years.

If you could host three famous people (living or dead) at a dinner party, who would they be and why?

I would invite Paul McCartney for his wonderful music, John Giles, so we can talk football and Peter Kay whose great craic.

What are you currently watching or reading?

Currently I am reading The Star of the Sea, by Joseph O’Connor and The Farther Corner by Harry Pearson. I watch music programmes on BBC4 and currently The Godfather of Harlem on RTE.

Tell us something we don’t know about you.

I collect many Vinyl records and am a huge fan of ‘The Smiths’.  When Morrissey amazingly came to Omagh in 2009, my old school pals and I turned up in our old T-shirts and funky hair doo’s. (Midlife crisisJ)

Where is the first place you’re going after lockdown?

Definitely Rossnowlagh in Co Donegal and then Elland Road to watch Leeds play in August.

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