SOUTH Eastern Regional College's Lisburn Campus has bucked
current trends by recording increased enrolments on its
construction related courses.
The number of students on the higher
education course has increased by 22% while enrolment on the
further education course has risen by two per cent.
Staff believe the young people concerned
recognise that while there is currently a downturn in the
industry the situation will change during the two years it takes
them to complete their courses.
Other areas of growth at the Lisburn Campus
include a significant increase in engineering-related course
enrolment which has risen by 37% from the 07/08 academic year
and also Applied Science and Sport which have recorded increases
of almost 27%.
In total full time further education
enrolment at SERC has risen by more than six per cent.
Increased ICT enrolments equate to a 15% rise in
computing and ICT courses at the College, matching the industry
growth in Northern Ireland.
An active initiative between the Department
for Employment and Learning, Momentum (ICT Trade Federation),
Invest NI and e-skills UK are aims to increase the broader
career attractiveness of the industry in Northern Ireland and
support the increasing number of IT-specific vacancies which,
according to figures from Invest NI, are increasing by 15% each
Eleanor Ross, Lisburn College's Former Vice
Principal who is now SERC's Director of Teaching and Learning,
said she was 'delighted' with the increase in full time
"These figures reinforce the local.
demand for quality vocational courses such as BTEC Nationals. It
is our aim to be seen as a 'first choice' educational provider
within the Province, offering a wide range of courses that can
either take students on to university or straight into
employment," she added.
Student's words that rang so
true for new principal
Old boy returns at helm of new merged college
by NEIL GREENLEES
a Higher Education graduate at the South Eastern Regional
College's recent Waterfront Hall graduation ceremony thanked
staff and said: "If it wasn't for the college I would not be
where I am today" there was one person for whom the words rang
As a former student of SERC's Lisburn Campus
newly appointed Principal and Chief Executive Ken Webb could
empathise strongly with her words. He studied for both his 0 and
A level examinations at the Tech', as it was then known, in
Castle Street and like many of its former students the education
he received proved to be the springboard to success.
He is well aware just how firmly the Campus's
roots are embedded in the local community with generations of
people who received their initial education at the College
returning to update their qualifications. Many more have
attended evening classes. The new Principal is also keen to
acknowledge the long history of 'the tech' where students first
enroled in 1914. "People see it as their college and they have
attended it at various stages in their lives" he said.
Mr. Webb now sees the Lisburn Campus, which
will move to a new state of the art building in 2010, as an
important part of a regional college 'set to become the first
choice for many thousands of learners across its catchment area.
He outlined his view of how it should develop
in the document 'Shaping our Future' which was distributed to
staff. In his introduction he said he believed SERC's role in
the new Northern Ireland landscape was 'crucial'. He said the
local workforce must be equipped with the skills and knowledge
to compete in the current global market and to be prepared for
the demands of the future.
"We will need to work more closely than ever
with businesses," he continued. "I am aware there are many
existing relationships with local businesses and I am keen to
develop these further.".
He is also keen to develop the culture of
excellence within the SERC.
Mr. Webb, who holds a number of
qualifications from Queens University, the University of Ulster
and Warwick University Business School, initially became a
teacher. However, its some time since he worked 'at the
chalkface. Before taking over the helm at the College he was
Director of Corporate Services at North Down Council and
simultaneously held the Chair of the Society of IT Management's
Commercial Consulting Arm. He also worked in Central Government
on a number of PPP/PFU projects as well as in the advertising
industry and the agri-food industry.
He is now responsible for an educational
establishment catering for more than 4,000 full time students,
1,200 of whom attend the Lisburn Campus. The other campuses are
in Bangor, Ballynahinch, Downpatrick, Newcastle and the training
facility in Lisburn's Knockmore Industrial Estate.
Mr. Webb has spent the last eight weeks travelling from
campus to campus to outline his vision of the college's future
role to its staff.