Accreditation status puts Southern Regional College top of the class!

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Southern Regional College

25th Jan 2023

Southern Regional College are the proud recipients of a formal accreditation status from The Royal Society of Chemistry.  The College is the only Further Education College within Northern Ireland to achieve this accolade, and one of six Further Education providers in the UK with permission to use The Royal Society of Chemistry’s crest!

The College was placed under the microscope during the accreditation process which took a year and a half to complete.  Formal written submissions were required together with validation visits from Society partners, not to mention lengthy responses to written and verbal questions.

This accreditation was received for the College’s Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) in Applied Industrial Science, both Life Science and Chemical pathways.  Students enrolling on the HLA’s work within industry four days a week and attend the College on the fifth day.  This ensures students gain practical and relevant knowledge within their chosen career path.

HLAs are open to all adults, not just school leavers. A large proportion of HLA students are adults reskilling or returning to education, as the HLA programme enables a wage to be earned whilst learning.  Fees for the programme are fully paid by the Department for the Economy, making HLAs an attractive prospect to minimise student debt.  The HLA Applied Science programme is a two-year undertaking with around seventeen students currently in their first year of study.  To date, around eighty students have completed the HLA Applied Science course.

The College partners with local pharmaceutical and clinical diagnostic businesses Norbrook, Almac and Randox to ensure students gain practical experience.  As students work within these businesses, it is essential the business’ workplace training meets the standards required by the Royal Society of Chemistry.  This close relationship between partnering businesses and the College was commented on by the Royal Society of Chemistry, who noted “There is a very personalised approach to apprentices’ learning.”

The College’s motivation is to not only ensure students succeed but strive to make courses industry relevant.  Again, this was picked up by the Royal Society of Chemistry, who in the accreditation report noted:

“The SRC Higher level Apprenticeship programme is a well-balanced programme, enabling a personalised approach for apprentice[s] and employer[s]. [This] high contact time during day release and the resources available on site ensure apprentices remain engaged.”

Deirdre Murray, Specialist Lecturer of Science at Southern Regional College commented:

“We are delighted the College has received recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry for the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Applied Science.  This is testament to the high standards of education we put in place for all our students.  The HLAs are designed to equip students with up-to-date knowledge to apply in the workplace. 

By partnering with businesses and our accreditation status, we ensure the HLA programmes give our students the edge.”

Laura Martin, Curriculum Area Manager at Southern Regional College, further commented:

“This accreditation is a stamp of excellence for our HLA Applied Industrial Science courses, meaning future applicants can apply for these courses with the utmost confidence that they will receive high quality teaching and learning at SRC.

It is a tribute to the commitment the College has made over the past number of years to growing and developing the science provisions at SRC. We also have ongoing support and engagement from industry which is invaluable to the success of the course. This also acknowledges the hard work and commitment of the staff team teaching these qualifications week in week out, as was highlighted by the RSC during their visit.”

For further information on the HLA programmes, please visit the website at: https://www.src.ac.uk/.

Alternatively, prospective students are invited to attend The Big Apprenticeship Event in the College’s Newry West campus on Tuesday 7 February or at Craigavon Civic Centre on Thursday 9 February from 5:30pm to 7:30pm to gain more information and make an application.


Photo Caption

SRC Applied Industrial Science Higher Level Apprenticeship students

Pictured Front(L-R): Deirdre Murray, Specialist Lecturer of Science; Libby Shackles, Director of Curriculum and Laura Martin, Curriculum Area Manager.


Photograph: Columba O’Hare