On Friday 3 March Higher Education students from South West College (SWC) joined with family and friends to celebrate their efforts and academic achievements at the annual graduation ceremonies at The Strule Arts Centre, Omagh.

The graduation ceremonies recognised and honoured the hard work and dedication of over 500 eligible graduates with a congregation of over 600 in attendance. This was the first graduation attended by South West College’s new Principal and Chief Executive, Celine McCartan.

Congratulating students on their achievements, Celine McCartan, Principal and Chief Executive 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 is able to offer unique higher-level qualifications which have been developed to support local business. We know from our many industry partners that South West College students have the 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.’

The graduation ceremonies featured an emotional and inspiring opening address from guest speaker Emma Weaver, former student, and founder of Mental Wealth International.

Over thirty special ‘Student of the Year’ awards were also presented to graduates who have achieved outstanding success in their various disciplines, while a student vote of thanks was delivered by Roisin Meenagh from Beragh who graduated with an Honours degree in Engineering.

Speaking on the day, Roisin said she would encourage others to take advantage of the Higher Education opportunities available locally. She said:

“We must stop and thank the people who made a difference in our lives, and I hope to do just that this morning. As an adult learner I came to SWC to study a Higher Level Apprenticeship. This enabled me to continue working and study at the same time in my own locality. It was not easy, after a lengthy break from the classroom, but I had fantastic support from the lecturers and support staff and got back into the way of it in no time at all.

As an old schoolteacher of mine used to say, ‘If you put the work in, you'll get the results out’ and I am happy to say I completed my foundation degree with a distinction. I did not intend to take my studies any further, but the more I thought about the golden opportunity that I had right here on my doorstep, I decided to give the degree a go. And here we are today celebrating our successes. Thank you to all the staff at SWC, you all make the journey through the college such a good experience, one that is enjoyable, pleasant, and supportive.

Finally, College Principal and Chief Executive, Celine McCartan made the thought-provoking closing address, honouring this year’s graduates and wishing them every success in their future endeavours.

SWC has many shining examples of how the Further Education sector offers a real alternative to university for intelligent and ambitious people who want to work towards internationally recognised qualifications and a rewarding career.

The College are still accepting applications for full and part-time courses starting in September 2023. For more information, please visit www.swc.ac.uk/courses/highereducation or to watch video coverage of the day, find us on Facebook, search: South West College.

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