Learning safely: New measures in place at SERC include production of over 3000 divider screens in classes and screens for lecturers.

#COVIDSecure - The immediate impact of Covid-19 meant that @S_ERC had to switch to online learning and whilst the doors of the College may have been closed for the summer, work is well underway for welcoming students and staff back into the College for course interviews and enrolment in August, and for the start of the new academic year on 7 September.

Paddy McShane, Campus Manager for the College’s Lisburn Campus is part of the team working to get all sites ready. He said,

“Safety is paramount to everything we are doing at SERC in preparation for the new academic year. Our business is education and training, that hasn’t changed, but how we do things certainly has.

Masks to be worn in public areas on Campus: Paddy McShane, Campus Manager, South Eastern Regional College (SERC)

sET FOR sEPTEMBER 2 FE

“As you can imagine, some courses can be delivered online, but others require face-to-face tuition. We envisage that learning and training at SERC will be a combination of both, commonly known in education as ‘blended learning’. It is vitally important that there is face-to-face time with students – getting to know individuals is central to the success of students and the College as a whole. Pastoral care will continue for all students including access to support and signposting to services as appropriate.

“Coming to College will be different for everyone whether you are a new student, a returning student or a member of staff but, over the summer, most of us will have been out to the shops or accessing services so you will have some idea what to expect and it won’t feel too strange.

Hand sanitise points on entrance and throughout SERC: Sancha Dicks, Technician, School of Creative and Performing Arts with Paddy McShane, Campus Manager, SERC Lisburn Campus

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“We have been working hard to ensure that everything we need is in place to help everyone adhere to social distancing and that everyone who comes through our doors, whether students, staff or visitors, feels safe. Government guidelines are changing as lockdown rules are relaxed and we are keeping abreast of the changes at they occur.

“At SERC we are fortunate to have inhouse a range of experienced staff with skills sets that other organisations will have to outsource. We are also fortunate to have access to specialist equipment and facilities. For example, we are printing our own vinyl signage to highlight social distancing, hand sanitising points, and actions necessary to keep everyone safe which will be on display throughout the College.

Social distancing measures in place for students and staff. (L – R Lynn Spiers, Beauty Therapy Lecturer, Paddy McShane, Campus Manager, and Sonya Smiley, Senior Project Manager, Estates.

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“In addition, we have a team working to produce and fit over 3000 Perspex screens, currently being installed in classrooms, computer rooms and specialist teaching areas such as hairdressing, beauty and hospitality and catering.

“New procedures are underway for how everyone enters and exits the buildings and moves around safely, mostly in a one-way system.

“Personal protective equipment (PPE) which is required for many programmes, will be commonplace on Campus, and this includes wearing masks, mandatory in public areas, unless there are mitigating circumstances, for example if someone had a respiratory or other health condition.

Paddy concluded, “It is important that we all focus on the future. SERC is determined to play its part by being here to support young people as they take important first steps towards a career, gaining qualifications and skills that will set them up for employment or further studies. In addition, it is vital that we continue our work with employers in business and industry to help retrain and upskill employees. We are all part of the recovery process and what we do here and now will impact many people – our focus is on the future. “

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