A Derry-based further education college has been celebrating after receiving the Best Employer Engagement award at the prestigious Times Educational Supplement (TES) Further Education Awards.
North West Regional College (NWRC) beat off competition from further education colleges throughout the UK to win the award, which recognises innovative approaches to delivering employers' workforce development needs.
The College was chosen after judges said the College had given staff and students a real chance to engage with employers, while also responding to the needs of businesses.
The initiative was spearheaded by NWRC's Business Support Centre, which Dr Fergal Tuffy, the College's Technology Innovation Manager, said was set up with specific goals in mind.
“When we opened our dedicated Business Support Centre in 2015 it was as a direct response to the region’s economic and employment challenges,” he said.
“Today, it has supported over 1,300 companies, providing upskilling and training opportunities, and is working with local employers to source funding for innovation and research projects.
“The centre has a specialist team of 23 staff, who receive regular training and keep abreast of new technologies to keep their industry knowledge and skills up to date.
“The College has also made a £2 million strategic investment in industry focussed Technology Innovation Centres to drive economic growth in the region.
“We are also collaborating with local councils on various skills interventions in the computing, engineering and hospitality industries to provide employment opportunities for those out of work.”
College Chief Executive and Principal, Leo Murphy, said the award was recognition of the role played within further education colleges to support local employers and the economy.
“Fergal and the team at BSC bring a huge range of talent to this city and region, and their work continues to support innovation, research, and training, especially in these challenging days,” he said.
“Our aim at NWRC is to continue this work by developing skills, fostering innovation and driving applied research, coupled with supporting the wider college community to ensure an industry relevant professional and technically skilled curriculum, all with the aim of growing the economy in Northern Ireland.”
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