A former student at South West College in Enniskillen has been selected as the winner of a competition run by the Department for the Economy as part of the 2020-2021 Further Education Leavers survey.

Jim Keenan, completed a Level 3 Certificate in Leadership and Management Practice for the Construction and Built Environment Sector during the COVID-19 lockdown and was delighted to learn that he had been selected from all survey respondents across Northern Ireland as the winner of a brand new Apple iPad which was presented to him by Louise Drennan of the Department on Tuesday 6th December.

The survey is designed to monitor and report on the benefits to and destination of students, after completing and achieving a regulated qualification, at Level 3 or below, at a Further Education college in Northern Ireland. Over 3,500 students took part in the survey with 41% of respondents listing the improvement to career prospects as the key reason for undertaking their course. The survey found that 82% of students upon completion of their further education course go on to study at a higher level.

Reflecting on his prize win, Jim Keenan said;

‘I was pleased to take up the offer of two Department for the Economy funded courses delivered at South West College for construction sector workers during the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020. On completion of the course I answered the online Further Education Leavers Survey and was so excited to win the iPad which will encourage me to enrol in other courses to advance my learning in the future.’

Celine McCartan, Chief Executive of South West College added:

‘I would like to congratulate Jim on being selected as the winner of this prize and I am delighted to learn that he is keen to use the prize to further his learning and enrol in future courses. The courses offered by the Department for the Economy to support those who had been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic proved invaluable to further the career prospects and opportunities for these workers and I commend all those who developed, delivered and took part in these innovative programmes.’

Louise Drennan from the Department for the Economy said:

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to visit South West College’s iconic Erne campus to meet Jim and present him with his prize. The benefits of lifelong learning for the individual, and the economy, are well recognised and with such a multi-faceted offering available in our further education colleges in Northern Ireland, they are well placed to support anyone seeking to upskill, reskill or newskill.”

A detailed report with all the findings from the Further Education Leavers Survey 2020-2021 is available to access online at Survey of FE College Leavers 2020-21 | Department for the Economy (economy-ni.gov.uk)