From education to employment

SERC helps local company innovate

In line with their commitment to supporting local businesses,South Eastern Regional College (SERC)  has created an educational partnership with specialist fire, security and maintenance services provider Solutions for Systems Limited, based in Bangor.

The small business joined forces with their local Further Education College in a bid to boost its competitiveness and have benefited from SERC’s expertise thanks to the Innovate Us Employer Support Programme and the Skills Focus Training programme, both funded by the Department for the Economy. 

The Innovate Us programme, which is offered across Northern Ireland through the six FE Colleges, is a fully funded skills development programme which provides small business with less than 50 employees with the capacity to innovate across a range of business development activities.

Thanks to the collaboration, Solutions for Systems Limited has benefited from a range of training including a Level 2 Technical Certificate in Fire and Security and an Initial Inspections and Testing qualification.

The company has also benefited from one-to-one mentoring and have developed an innovative workflow management system which has helped them improve their business with new technologies.

William McBride, Solutions for Systems Limited Director commented: This was a fantastic opportunity for the business to gain training from a qualified professional at no cost to us. Without the Innovate Us programme, we would not have been able to avail of such bespoke mentoring. We are delighted with the outcome of the partnership and would encourage other businesses to talk to their local college.

“I initially approached SERC to see what was available and before long I had signed-up to the mentoring. We were assigned a mentor who talked us through our ideas and gave us one-to-one bespoke advice. We are already in the process of completing more training with SERC and are considering recruiting an apprentice from the College in September.”

Solutions for Systems Limited are currently working towards BAFE accreditation and are the only business using digital assistance via QR codes which SERC helped them to develop. The College also assisted them in their design of a new mobile software solution which allows paperless job assignment, scheduling and invoicing, resulting in a user-friendly, end-to-end job management system. It is hoped that the new system will help the business win tenders and will greatly streamline audits and inspection processes.  

Elaine Flynn, Head of Commercial Contracts at SERC said: “The development of innovative products, processes and services and bringing these to the market, is essential for any business. We support and provide the necessary skills for local businesses to allow them to stay one step ahead of the competition, and opportunities presented by emerging technologies to attract and build new business. I would encourage SME’s to take advantage of the Innovate Us funding to up-skill their staff and I encourage all employers to contact their local provider about their training needs, since this is a real opportunity for their employees to gain new skills.”A SEAFOOD business is planning to invest £440,000 in a new mussel harvesting workboat and specialist sorting equipment.

Skills Focus aims to support, promote and facilitate collaborative working between business and FE colleges, to provide tailored skills provision to small to medium enterprises with less than 250 employees. The purpose of Skills Focus is to meet business needs by increasing the skills levels and employability of the existing workforce to qualification level 2 and above.

To find out how your business can get results from SERC please call Jeb Berkeley  on 078 2651 6651

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