From education to employment

SERC Shine at Open College Network Awards


Students and staff at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) are celebrating their haul of four awards at the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN) Learning Endeavour Awards, hosted at Titanic Belfast on Tuesday, 25 June 2024.

More than 350 learners, teachers, tutors, and special guests celebrated the annual awards, now in their 6th year, which were hosted by Denise Watson with guest speaker, Clodagh Dunlop MBE, who gave an inspirational talk on her remarkable journey of overcoming ‘locked in’ syndrome following a stroke in 2015.

A total of £16,000 was awarded to learners and providers through learning bursaries from across the province including to SERC students Daniel McCann, (36, Downpatrick), who completed the Be Your Own Boss enterprise programme,  and won the Further Education Learner of the Year Award;  and Tom Brett, (18, Bangor), a Level 2 Traineeship NI in Engineering student at Bangor Campus,  who was Highly Commended in the Traineeship/Apprenticeship Learner of the Year category.

SERC’s Deputy Head of School and Culinary Arts Lecturer, Paul Mercer, was awarded Inspiring Tutor/Teacher Award; and the Culinary Arts and Hospitality team collected the Advancing Learning Through Innovation Award for their Food Poverty Project.

Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive at SERC said, “This was a fantastic end to the academic College year.   We are immensely proud of all the students and staff who were presented with Learning Endeavour Awards, and of those students and teams who were shortlisted.   Learning never stops and these Awards highlight the importance of education and learning which is open to anyone at any time in their lives.   Congratulations to everyone.”

Martin Flynn, CEO, OCN, said, “Once more we have been able to provide a unique platform for our learners to showcase their achievements, sometimes against impossible odds, and provide recognition for the tremendous commitment and determination they have shown to achieve their qualification. Our guest speaker and newly awarded MBE Clodagh Dunlop added greatly to the sense of achievement on the day with the remarkable story of how she overcame debilitating adversity following her stroke. Her story illustrated the powerful message of just what can be achieved if you are determined enough to succeed.”

SERC was delighted to have been shortlisted in five of the eight categories which also included: Matthew Brennan (17, Annacloy) and Preston Galbraith-Kelly (17, Downpatrick),  both Level 3 Mechatronic Engineering at Downpatrick Campus, shortlisted in the Further Education Learner of the Year category; James Curry, (26, Banbridge), a Level 3 Fire & Security Apprentice at SERC’s Professional Skills Centre in Dundrod, employed by Beacon Fire & Security, shortlisted for the Traineeship/Apprenticeship Learner of the Year; Dylan Cressey, (19, Dunmurry), an Essential Skills, Literacy and Numeracy student at Lisburn Campus, shortlisted for the Essential Skills Learner of the Year and the SERC Energy and Renewable team who were shortlisted in the Advancing Learning Through Innovation category.

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