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SERC branches out to honour MBE recipient

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) recently held a special tree planting ceremony to mark the achievement of staff member Paula Philpott who was recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to Further Education in Northern Ireland.

Held at SERCs Holywood campus, the ceremony was attended by SERC staff and former colleagues, Paul McAleese from the Department of the Economy and Paula’s family and friends.

Participants gathered for refreshments and speeches, with SERC Principal Ken Webb commencing proceedings by congratulating Paula, and praising her for her dedication and commitment.

He said “SERC has received more MBE’s than the six regional colleges put together which is testament to the high quality teaching and learning we provide, nine MBE’s and one OBE to be precise.

“We are incredibly proud to see Paula honoured with an MBE. This award recognises her inspiring contribution to developing a new generation of learning. We are delighted that Paula, SERC and the FE sector have been recognised in this way. The planting of the tree will provide a lasting reminder within the College of her achievement.”

SERC director of curriculum and information services Michael Malone explained how Paula has led her team to implement dynamic and innovative approaches to learning and teaching. He said “Paula has been responsible for spearheading the development of technological and pedagogical skills within the College which have been recognised as best practice. Paula has been invited to disseminate these approaches locally, nationally and internationally.”

Paula thanked her work colleagues and pedagogy mentoring teams who provide invaluable support to her in her role.

Commenting on her success Paula said: “I was delighted to be invited to the tree planting ceremony.  It is lovely to be recognised in this lasting way, for the work we all do in enriching the student learning experience, and I look forward to visiting ‘my’ tree when it is in full bloom!

“Receiving the MBE is, most importantly, further recognition of the work that SERC undertakes to inspire young people and adults to learn and succeed in a supportive, creative and innovative environment. Like many others, I have found great satisfaction working within the Further Education sector. It’s an amazing accolade for the work of the sector and more specifically SERC.”

Paula is currently making plans and looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace to formally receive her MBE later in the year.

SERC provides a range of full and part-time courses designed to give students’ the edge’. To find out how SERC can help you ‘get the edge’ call 0345 600 7555, visit or find us on Facebook, search: South Eastern Regional College.

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