A QAA (QRV) review took place at South West College this week. Whilst the final outcomes of the review will not be known for a few weeks yet, it was obvious that our visitors were very impressed with what they saw and heard in SWC.

Thank you to everyone who met with the review team or anyone who is connected in any way with our higher education provision, whether in support or academic teams.

In particular, I would like to thank Elizabeth and Liam for the preparations they have led for the past few years, and the insights they have shared with staff from their experience as HE Reviewers.

Open Day 2018 Success in Enniskillen

The second 2018 Open Day took place in Enniskillen last week, with large numbers of potential students visiting the college, experiencing the facilities on offer and speaking to tutors and current students. Following on from the Omagh Open Day at the end of January, the day was a great success thanks to the hard work from staff in the lead up to and throughout the event. Attention now turns to the Dungannon Open Day, Tuesday 27th March. Events SWC Geared up to deliver electric and hybrid vehicle training

The South West College (SWC) Motor Vehicle lecturing team recently welcomed independent diagnostic and technical expert, James Dillon from Technical Topics, an Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) approved training centre to the college for IMI Level 2 and Level 3 Electric and Hybrid training.

Lecturers received an introduction to the latest electric and hybrid technology in the automotive industry and learned about working safely in and around an electric vehicle’s hybrid system. Staff also completed theory and practical assessments in order to meet the standards required to carry out servicing on electric and hybrid vehicles. As a result of the training, SWC is now equipped to deliver electric and hybrid training to students and employers.

SWC Motor Vehicle team also collaborated with Mr Dillon to host an employer night, whereby local employers were introduced to the knowledge and skills required to service, diagnose and repair hybrid and electric vehicles through a series of live practical demonstrations in the college workshops using AG Block Toyota Prius Hybrid rig, electric/hybrid simulator, VW Golf Mk6 CanBus rig, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Auris Hybrid.

For further information on electric and hybrid training at South West College, please contact Paul O’Loughlin, Paul.O’ or call 0845 603 1881.

SWC Launches pioneering online Mandarin Chinese course

The South West College (SWC) Confucius Hub marked the Chinese New Year of the Dog with a gala dinner attended by guests, students and staff. The event also marked the launch of the college’s new Business Chinese Test (BCT), an online Mandarin Chinese course, which has been designed to develop basic communication skills in a real Chinese business environment.

Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world and China is regarded as the second largest economy in the world, hence becoming an essential skill for those seeking to enter Asian markets and become competent and confident in engagement in business meetings conducted in Mandarin Chinese.

South West College has developed this pioneering online programme, which is the first of its kind, and will give learners the unique opportunity to gain the basic and essential fundamentals of Chinese business language, etiquette and understanding and encompasses four aspects of learning; listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Linda Beatty, SWC Confucius Hub Project Officer added:

“Learning business Mandarin is a great way to open the doors to a lot of other business opportunities and learning the language and understanding the Chinese culture is fast becoming a prerequisite for those seeking to work with Chinese partners.”

“The online Business Chinese Test is a great starting point for business professionals wishing to learn more about Chinese business culture and social etiquettes in order to improve their success in doing business in China.”

The Business BCT Online Mandarin Chinese course is accredited by Hanban, China and will be delivered online however tutorial support is available from the SWC Confucius Hub Mandarin Chinese tutors.

For further information, please contact Linda Beatty, SWC Confucius Hub Project Officer, or call 028 8225 5220.

The Creative Mashup
Awards Northern Ireland apprentice commercial vehicle technicians scoop top awards

Four exceptional students from Northern Ireland were awarded prizes at a ceremony in Belfast as part of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) Ireland North 50-year anniversary celebrations, including two of our students, Oisin Feehan and Cathal Brough.

Oisin was the winner of the Level 2 (Heavy Vehicle) category, whilst Cathal won in the Level 3 (Heavy Vehicle) class.

The awards are further evidence of the high level of road transport technician talent in Northern Ireland and the quality of regional training centres in delivering skilled technicians to local business.

Cathal said: “I always loved the technology classes at school, which I always took more interest in than other subjects. I believed in myself, kept going and now I’m collecting this award.”

SOE President Howard Seymour opened the evening, giving an address to the audience on the organisational approach to the engineering skills gap, engaging with student members, and attracting more women into engineering. Howard also presented Stephen Donaghy with a certificate for 40-years membership of the IRTE.

Howard said: “We are delighted to be able to come to Northern Ireland and see, first-hand, how the regional centre here is rewarding special technicians for their performance. At SOE, one of our main objectives is to show how rewarding this industry can be. We know there are many talented technicians here in Northern Ireland and we fully support the IRTE Ireland North Centre in encouraging them to pursue a career in road transport.”

Local student qualifies for major UK apprentice competition

Electrical apprentice, Jack Clarke from South West College (Omagh) has qualified for a prestigious SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition, after winning the recent Northern Ireland regional heat which took place at Belfast Metropolitan College.

Having secured his place as top electrical apprentice in Northern Ireland, Jack will go forward to compete against apprentices and students from around the rest of the UK at the Grand Final to be held on 11th and 12th April at the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell.

The UK competition is organised every year by SPARKS Magazine for level 2 or 3 students.

Jack, from Sixmilecross studies City and Guilds Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment at SWC Omagh Campus, where he is taught by Barry Connolly and Mark Dalton. Jack is currently employed by G R White and Son Electrical in Tempo, who have also been hugely supportive of Jack and previous SWC students.

Speaking about Jack’s success, Barry Connolly said;

“We are absolutely thrilled with Jack’s success at the NI regional heats. The competition was intense but Jack has done himself, South West College and his employer G R White and Son Electrical very proud. He will undoubtedly continue to train hard for the upcoming grand final in April and we wish him every success.”

Apart from the prestige of being crowned the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year, the winner is set to walk away with prizes worth over £8000 from the competition’s sponsors and contributing manufacturers who are all major industry names, including Platinum sponsor Schneider Electric.

“Students get a lot out of the competition,” said Natacha Fielding, Managing Director. “They make new friends, gain confidence in their abilities and enjoy the challenge of the competition.”


Well done to the Enniskillen Campus Futsal Team on coming runners up at the Girls FE Futsal World Cup, held at University of Ulster, Jordanstown, on 27th February. The Team put in a great performance and were narrowly defeated 3-1 in the final by a very strong University of Ulster, Jordanstown side.

Trending National Women's Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and it’s perhaps fitting that in 2018 it coincides with significant steps being made in a number of important movements. The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, and the issue of the gender pay gap, have been making headlines for months; today is a landmark for one of the most important Irish issues in recent times, as the Irish government will 1 details of the forthcoming referendum on a repeal of the abortion ban; and earlier this week Frances McDormand’s already famous speech called for women to be given the backing to tell their stories.

All these movements have made headlines and been part of the wider battle on female equality which exists in all areas of life, not least in education, training and employment.

On the anniversary marking one hundred years since women were first allowed to vote, Way out West looked at several innovations at South West College in recent years which have engaged with these changes or tried to make changes of their own.

Now, to mark international women’s day, we spoke to two engineering students about their experiences in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry. Máire O’Higgins and Lauren Cairns...

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