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South West College celebrates the achievements of the Class of 2023

On Wednesday 13 December Higher Education students from South West College will join with family and friends to celebrate their efforts and academic achievements at the annual graduation ceremony at The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh.

The ceremony will recognise and honour the hard work and dedication of the Class of 2023 to a congregation of over 600 family, friends and tutors and will feature addresses from College Chief Executive and Principal, Celine McCartan and guest speaker Peter Boyle, founder and Chief Executive Officer of jewellery chain Argento. A student vote of thanks will be delivered by Conor Gallagher from Enniskillen, who is graduating with a Foundation Degree in Visual Media Arts Film and Barry Donnelly from Dungiven, who is graduating with a BEng (Hons) in Building Services with Sustainable Energy.

Over thirty special ‘Student of the Year’ awards will also be presented to students who have achieved outstanding success in their various disciplines, such as Engineering and Applied and Medical Science and Cyber Security.

Congratulating students on their achievements, Celine McCartan, Chief Executive and Principal of South West College said;

‘Graduation day is always a memorable occasion and an important milestone for our students. It is an opportunity to reflect upon their individual achievements, the knowledge gained, friendships made and experiences shared. It is a proud day not only for the students, but their families, friends, colleagues and the staff of South West College who have helped guide them to this point.

I am delighted that the College can offer unique higher-level qualifications including degree programs, HNCs, HNCs, Foundation Degrees and Higher Level Apprenticeships which have been developed with local universities and industry. We know from our many industry partners that South West College students have the sought after skills and qualifications they need to build successful careers. I congratulate each one of our graduates on their efforts and wish them every success for the future. I know they will do South West College proud and be strong ambassadors for the College.’

Grainne Samm of the Further Education Policy Division in the Department for the Economy added:

“Studying for a higher education qualification in a further education setting is a popular option for local learners. The varied offering at South West College, and all of our further education colleges, can suit learners seeking a more local route to progress to degree level or to gain the professional and technical qualifications they need to go straight into promising careers.

“These types of qualification are in high demand in our local economy and align with the Department for the Economy’s 10x Economic Vision and Skills Strategy which seek to position Northern Ireland as one of the world’s leading small economies supported by a skilled workforce with the technical skills and expertise to meet the challenges of the future.

“My congratulations go to all of the South West College students graduating with a higher level qualifications and wish them the very best for the future.”

Reflecting on his studies at South West College, Conor McKenna, from Kildress who has cerebral palsy, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to access higher education without the burden of long-distance travel. He said:

“It was the best thing for me to come to SWC, they not only cared for me, but also nurtured my ambitions, making me believe that I can achieve all my aspirations. I never thought that I would be in the position that I am, graduating with a 2:1 in in Business Management and this is all thanks to everyone working as a team. The support and guidance I received here have been instrumental in my success and I hope my story can inspire others facing similar challenges to keep pursuing their dreams.”

Reflecting upon his studies John McCourt, from Armagh who achieved a Foundation Degree in Transport and Supply Chain Management, without incurring any debt, said:

“Completing my Higher Level Apprenticeship in Transport & Supply Chain Management at the SWC Dungannon Campus provided me with the opportunity to both earn and learn. I went to college one day each week and I was in my workplace McKee Transport Ltd the remaining four days of the week. This enabled me to put the theory I learned in class straight into practice. In addition to this, I could obtain a higher education qualification at no cost and debt free.

“The modules I studied provided me with an in depth knowledge and an insight into logistic process and procedures, which I was able to implement into my workplace. In my course I was educated in emerging technologies in the transport and logistics sector, which will prove useful in the future for the industry. Both Lectures and my employer McKee Transport Ltd were extremely supportive and encouraging in balancing academic study with full-time employment.

“I believe the achievement of this qualification will enable me to progress in my career in the Transport and Logistics industry.”

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