From education to employment

Higher qualifications through project-based learning showcased at SERC

Higher Level Student take centre stage at CAST/CAPS as Project Based Learning Showcases across SERC

The College is hosted a half-day Conference for the Advancement of Studies in Technology (CAST) and Advancement of Professional Studies (CAPS) on Tuesday 21 May at SPACE, Bangor Campus.

Ten individuals/teams were nominated by their lecturers to give a presentation on projects that they have been working on throughout the year to panel members, Terence Brannigan, Chairman of Tourism NI and SERC Entrepreneur in Residence, Patricia Mackey, Ards and North Down Borough Council and Kieran McKenna, Head of Enterprise at SERC.

These are the type projects that students are likely to be working on as they pursue higher qualifications through project-based learning or perhaps for competition submissions across a range of industries.

Kieran McKenna, Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at SERC said, “CAST/CAPS provides students with a platform to share best practice in industry and vocational focused project-based learning (PBL), the opportunity to develop higher level employability skills and encourages the extension of their research skills using live projects.

He added, “The judging panel watched presentations from individuals and teams studying on foundation degrees, HNCs, HNDs and degree level programmes on subjects ranging from the design and construction of an electronic drum kit by HND Engineering students, to the full scale production of Mother Courage by students from the HND in Performing Arts and an investigation into strength and power endurance training for a senior hockey squad by a student from the Foundation Degree in Sports Science, Coaching and Fitness. The students all received feedback and recognition for their efforts from the panel.”

Terence Branigan said, “I am always motivated to come to SERC because of PBL – it is what makes SERC different and a bit special Today is a great example of the practical outcomes of learning where students have taken their knowledge and turned it into something for which they have a passion which is clearly illustrated through their work.”

Patricia Mackay added, “It is not only technical skills that employers are after but those soft skills such as being able to get up and give a presentation and communicate effectively. The presentations today were delivered with a level of professionalism and enthusiasm which will put all students in good stead for future careers.”

Following the CAST/CAPS conference, the panel, visited the Project Based Learning Showcase which kick started a week PBL Showcases in Bangor, Downpatrick and Lisburn. Over 200 stands where hosted by students from across all disciplines highlighting the best of their PBL throughout the year.   The showcase gave both students and staff the opportunity to learn about their peers subject areas sparking ideas for collaboration and future enterprises in the College.

The Big Picture: HNC Photography students Farah Pourgholi and Lewis Graham, from our Bangor Campus who presented at the CAST/CAPs conference received their recognition certificates from Patricia Makay and Terence Brannigan.

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