From education to employment

SERC Engineering Team Win Pearson Silver Teaching Award

L- R: Dr Muhammad Usama, Peter Orr, Shah Ahmed, Joe Townley, Joe Neeson, Mark Fullerton, Stephen McKinley, Bryony Bradley, Frank Blakely, Alison Black, Jim Reynolds, Paula Kirk, Aine McGreeghan, William Baker, James Cully, Kelvin McGreeghan, Darren Anderson, Stephen Colligan, Jonathan McEwan, Declan Black, Patrick Morris and Aaron Brown. 

The Engineering Education team at South Eastern Regional College (SERC) has been presented with a prestigious Silver Pearson National Teaching Award today, Wednesday 19 June, National Thank a Teacher Day.

The Silver Award for Further Education (FE) Team of the Year 2024 recognises the 30-strong team of full-time and part-time lecturing and support staff who bring industry specific qualifications and experience to over 1,000 engineering and manufacturing students across SERC. 

The SERC Engineering team is one of 102 deserving teachers, lecturers, leaders, support staff and institutions named as silver winners in this year’s awards. They will now be in the running for the coveted Gold Award, which will be announced at a prestigious awards ceremony later in the year.

The Silver Pearson National Teaching Award highlights their dynamic approaches to transforming education and the industry, through implementation of several programmes to enhance students’ education experience and to address key national and local industry workforce gaps.  Since 2021, the We Can Engineer It initiative has engaged with women and girls to promote engineering as a career choice; members of the team have volunteered as STEM Ambassadors to help young people, especially females, excel in the industry; and the female lecturers have supported the Career Ready post-16 programme by mentoring female engineers.  

The Team has established an Employers Forum to ensure students are ‘work ready’ for the industry; helped develop the Project STEM units shared with the Manufacturing & Engineering Growth and Advancement (MEGA) network of businesses; and Thales UK has invested in an engineering skills academy to train 15 higher-level apprentices, five of which are studying at SERC.

Developing strategies for learner engagements, the team ensures that SERC students are exposed to project-based learning (PBL), practical scenarios and engagement with the wider engineering community via competition entry.  Classes consist of regular guest speakers, live projects and mentoring students in setting up the student-led SERC Engineering Society. They connect with the local community and industry to promote engineering to hard-to-reach communities.

Their industry networks include a 10-year international partnership with the National Institute of Technology in Toyama College, Japan, which enabled exploratory visits that exposed SERC students to the robotics industry.

Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC said, “This Pearson National Silver Teaching Award is testament to the work of the Engineering team at SERC. They have worked to highlight the opportunities in the industry, especially to females, and to ensure all students have the opportunity, the inspiration, and the ambition to succeed.   This is what makes SERC – and further education – an integral part of the economy.   We are all immensely proud of this achievement for the Engineering team, for the College and wider SERC community.”  

SERC are celebrating two further Awards with presentations to their Culinary Arts and Hospitality team who were Awarded Bronze for FE Team of the Year and Lizzie Buick, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship team, who was Highly Commended in the FE Lecturer of the Year category. 

This is the third time SERC have been awarded a Silver Pearson National Teaching Award for Further Education Team of the Year since 2019, when the Science team won the award, followed by the College’s Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Environment team (2023).  The College’s Little SERC creche team won a Silver Early Years Team of the Year Award in 2023. In addition, since 2021, individual lecturers have achieved Silver Awards for FE Lecturer of the Year: Paul Mercer (2021) and Aine McGreeghan (2023); and Stefanie Campbell (2021), won a Gold National Teaching Award for Digital Innovator of the Year.

Missing from photo above: Gareth Corr, Lauren Gibson, Ivan Kelly, Tim Crosbie, Sam Flynn, Alison Gunning, Trudy Patterson, David Irwin, Patsy Toman and Ruediger Lohe.

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