From education to employment

SERC celebrate pioneering skills development training

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) hosted an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of participants who successfully completed the Siemens Mechatronic Systems Certification Programme (SMSCP). SERC is currently the only accredited Siemens Mechatronics Training Partner within the UK and Ireland.

Participants on the course trained at the Colleges accredited training centre in Lisburn, equipped with a mechatronic lab containing state-of-the-art Siemens technology. The industry-focused training programme was designed to meet the increasing demand for highly skilled technicians within the manufacturing engineering sector. The training has equipped engineers in the precision engineering, mechatronics and electronics sectors, with the latest skills base to help manufacturing companies increase efficiency.

The ceremony was attended by course participants, along with their employers who were welcomed by SERC Industrial Development Engineer Brendan Merrigan.

Brendan said: “With the emergence and adoption of more sophisticated manufacturing technologies, engineers must keep abreast of the latest technologies so that they can remain relevant in their jobs and advance in their careers.

“I hope that other companies will follow this example and invest in upskilling their staff so they are in a strong position to take advantage of future opportunities in the sector. We understand how hard it is for businesses to upskill employees with demands on their time and money. That’s why we make it as easy as possible for participants by working with them to minimise the impact of releasing staff. It’s a real partnership.”

Brendan went on to thank the employers for their support throughout the programme and encouraged other businesses to avail of the programme, he said “We are urging businesses to contact us and discover the many benefits that the programme has to offer.”

SERC director of curriculum and information services Dr Michael Malone also congratulated the participants and SERC staff who delivered the course. He said: “This programme has been an exemplar model of how SERC can deliver highly skilled and motivated staff in a responsive and efficient manner.

“Developing the technical ability of engineers is key to ensuring continual innovation so this will give the industry a significant and much needed skills boost. Companies demand specialist training programmes to meet their specific needs and we have the expertise and flexibility to deliver this.”

Huhtamaki technician Gary McAteer from Belfast said: “The course has really benefitted me in my current role as shift technician and I would encourage others to enrol. The training has enhanced my skills in mechanical, pneumatics and electrical aspects of engineering. The main benefit from the training is that there is less downtime in the factory which increases efficiency.”

Stephen Herron Training and Development Officer at Huhtamaki said: “As a global specialist in packaging for food and drink, investment in skills development is critical for enhancing productivity and building a competitive edge. The specialist training was designed to advance the knowledge and capabilities of our team. I would encourage other companies considering upskilling their staff to contact the college.”

Businesses can avail of this training at a discounted price thanks to funding from the Department for the Economy’s Skills Focus training programme. Registration for the course which starts in September is now open. Classes will be conducted on a part–time basis in the evenings. The College is also offering a day release format for businesses.

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