From education to employment

College students awarded for innovative fishing trawler enterprise idea

Local students showed off their entrepreneurial skills when they took part in an enterprise competition at South Eastern Regional College (SERC). When the results were announced four enterprising students were celebrating after their business idea was awarded top prize.

The quartet of talented engineering students who are from across the Ards Peninsula Jake Walker, Cameron McKee, Daniel McClements and James Coffey, each took home an iPad for their innovative fishing trawler safety devise. The students are from the Magellan Academy level 3 Engineering Apprenticeship.

Over 100 students from across the college took part in the competition. Students gave a pitch to a panel for a business or creative enterprise idea. Ideas ranged from coffee shops through to software for children to help with mobility disorders.

Judges said the winners stood out because they demonstrated a high level of research, displayed professionalism throughout the presentation and for their products commercial viability.

SERC principal Ken Webb, said: “SERC is committed to providing every student with the opportunity to improve their employability skills. In an increasingly challenging job market this has never been more essential. It was a fantastic day of business pitches and it’s great to see the ‘can do’ entrepreneurial spirit is alive at SERC. I would like to congratulate the students on winning the overall prize.”

Student Daniel McClements said “We wanted to improve safety on small fishing vessels and our inspiration came from our ancestors who have finished the Irish Sea for hundreds of years. The idea has been designed to improve safety and increase the efficiency of operations for the trawlers.”

Following on from the initial idea creation phase, the students are now being supported by the college enterprise team and the University of the Third Age (U3A).

SERC head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Kiernan McKenna had this to say: “The students’ business concept impressed us all. They will now be able to develop their vision further with the mentoring from some of our experts here at the college and from U3A. The students’ futures looks bright and we are delighted to be able to support them along the way.”

Adrianne Brown from the University of the Third Age (U3A) said “We were extremely impressed by the quality of the work and the enthusiasm of the students and are delighted to be supporting them as they develop their idea. This is the first time U3A have provided mentoring in this capacity and we are very excited to be involved.”

Lady Sylvia Hermon MP for North Down recently visited the students to congratulate them on their enterprising idea and to hear more about the innovative project.

Tutor Kelvin McGreeghan said: “The students’ used their personal experience to conjure a viable product idea. The enterprise competition was an excellent opportunity for the students to gain recognition for their business skills. The event celebrated the best business talent within SERC and offered students an unrivalled platform to have their skills recognised by their peers and wider stakeholders. The students have worked extremely hard all term perfecting their idea and I am delighted that it has all paid off for them.”

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