North West Regional College (NWRC) Springtown has welcomed staff and students back to face-to-face learning at the start of the new semester, following a major redevelopment.
Work has now been completed at the state-of-the-art campus, which is home to the highest quality, industry standard training facilities, for ‘in demand’ skills across Northern Ireland.
They include electrical Installation, fabrication and welding, mechanical engineering, motor vehicle repair, light vehicle body repair, plumbing, carpentry and joinery, bricklaying, wall and floor tiling, painting and decorating, and renewables.With courses available for school leavers and adult learners, Springtown has a wide range of courses to support students achieve their career ambitions.
The redevelopment has also allowed the campus to diversify and expand its range of courses.
For the first time, Springtown campus will offer a range of sport and fitness courses in addition to sports courses already offered at Strand Road, as well as providing extra workspace for NWRC’s award winning and continually developing Business Support Centre.
Opening in the early 1970s as a government training centre, NWRC Springtown recently celebrated 45 years of training and skills at the site. The campus has its eyes firmly on the future, and fulfilling the career potential of thousands of young people in the North West.
Staff pictured inside the North West Regional College's redeveloped Springtown campus.
John Cartin, deputy head of training and skills at NWRC said: “This significant investment in Springtown by the Department for the Economy has created a modern and vibrant learning environment for the benefit of all the college’s students, staff and stakeholders.
“NWRC has a long tradition in developing the careers of men and women working in traditional crafts and skills, forging strong partnerships with local schools, groups and industry.
“But despite our rich history, we continue to be forward thinkers as we continually develop our curriculum, responding to the demands of industry and the ever-changing world of technology.
“We are delighted that as part of the redevelopment of Springtown to have recruited a number of new staff members to complement our highly skilled lecturing team. These staff join us after years of valued experience working in their respective industry areas, ensuring the delivery of all aspects of the college curriculum is always up to date.
“This investment in Springtown is a huge step forward and everyone at the college is enthusiastic about our new and modern estate, which has a fresh and vibrant appeal. It is not only fit for purpose, but it also meets the expectations of students and employers alike.
“The work on site has seen the campus transformed. Springtown now has new workshops for each vocational area which are fitted with the latest technology and equipment that provide an enhanced learner experience.
“Other exciting developments include the new CNC technology in both engineering and construction; robotic welding capability, electric vehicle training rigs and charging stations, electrical testing and inspection rigs and much more.”
With a wide and varied curriculum, Springtown has guided thousands of local learners studying both part-time and full-time courses, into careers in the crafts and skills sector.
Many students have gone on to open their own businesses and have retained their connection to the college by offering paid employment opportunities to the college’s apprentices.
Ruairi Gallagher practices with the chop saw while being supervised by lecturer Gavin Campbell.
Mr Cartin continued: “Interest in apprenticeships in all areas continues to grow and we are regularly in contact with employers across the North West whose businesses are in urgent need of skilled workers in areas such as fabrication and welding, bricklaying and carpentry and joinery.
“Recently, the college ran another hugely successful Welding Academy which had almost 200 applications for just 12 places.
“The college is working with local companies Fleming Agri, GES, Crossland, AE Global and SGS NI Ltd, who provided training to the participants, and such was the success which led to each of the 12 participants who finished the Academy with the offer of employment.
“The Assured Skills Welding Academy is just one example of how training at NWRC offers a fantastic opportunity for new talent to progress in industry by addressing the skills shortage. Their success in turn, can have a positive impact on the North West City Region’s local economy by feeding into local business anchors.”
Highlighting the college’s achievements at competition level Mr Cartin said the college’s huge success at Worldskills (Skills Olympics), had been very motivating for staff and students.
He added: “Not only has Springtown, and our colleagues at our sister campus in Greystone Limavady, celebrated students who have gone on to the world finals and travelled across the globe to compete, many of our lecturers have also been recognised for their world-class expertise in teaching in their fields.
“It’s testament to our success that a number of our staff have worked as training managers for the World Skills Team UK. “
With the challenges that 2021 has brought to all colleges – NWRC is looking ahead to the 2021-22 academic year and getting back to what it does best – teaching students on site.
Karen Moore, head of quality enhancement at NWRC and chair of the NI FE Colleges Covid Champions Group said: “From the beginning of September, significant work has been undertaken across the college estates to make the necessary changes to ensure the safe return to campus.
Staff pictured outside NWRC's Springtown campus.
“We have been working with our student population to remind learners that face masks and social distancing are still required on college grounds, as per the PHA guidelines. We are also encouraging students to use lateral flow tests as an extra precaution. Over the next weeks, staff will be onsite to provide students with advice and information about the vaccine and how to remain Covid safe while on campus.
“We have been working in partnership with the Public Health Authority and local health trusts to ensure students have the best access to the vaccine and the ‘Jabathon’, with over 20 further education sites available, means students will not have far to go to get jabbed as the new academic year begins. We are very pleased to be playing our part in the Covid-19 fight back and look forward to welcoming our health colleagues onto our campuses to help get the jab done.”
“Our new industrial training facility at Springtown is an extremely positive and welcome development of industrial apprenticeships in the college, city and region,”
Plastering student Mark McCorkell at work in Springtown. Campus.
NWRC principal and chief executive Leo Murphy said. “If we are to realise our economic potential in this region, as well as becoming a University City, we need to become an Apprenticeship City.”
Patrick McKeown, NWRC director of finance and economic engagement, said: “I wish to place on record my thanks to the Department for the Economy for its support and contribution to the significant investment and development for North West Regional College.”
Limited places are still available on a number of courses at NWRC, for more information go to www.nwrc.ac.uk/results or email email@example.com
Student Benjamin Galbraith working on the conventional milling machine.
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