Higher Education students from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) joined with family and friends to celebrate their efforts and academic achievements, at the College’s annual graduation ceremony at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall today, Friday 2 September 2022 – the first in-person ceremony since 2019.
The ceremony honoured seven hundred and ninety, (790) full-time and part-time students and featured a presentation of certificates from newly appointed Chair of the Governing Body, John Nugent and an address from guest speaker, Ross Hompstead, Site Lead for the ASOS Northern Ireland Tech Hub.
Leah Hamilton, (Bangor) who graduated with a Liverpool John Moores University BA (Hons) in Business Studies – delivered at SERC -and has secured a position with PWC, gave the Student Vote of Thanks, which highlighted her personal experience of the College commenting, “From my very first day at SERC, all the staff on the course were incredible, and I’m sure I can speak on behalf of my whole class when I say I have never met such amazing people who cared so much for their students. They went the extra mile to make sure that classes were engaging, and that we were prepared with all the information, resources and support we needed ahead of assignments and exams. The mentoring and guidance were unlike anything I had ever received at school.”
Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC, said, “Graduation marks an important day in the lives of the hundreds of Higher Education students who have completed their courses, and I would encourage them to never stop learning and striving to better themselves.
“Everyone here has worked for their qualification and their success is well deserved, especially in view of the challenges students faced during the pandemic.
He added, “The achievement rate for full-time Higher Education students in 2021/22 was 97%. In our Liverpool John Moores Business Studies degree programme, we had two students obtain an overall first class and 11 students achieved a 2:1.
“Overall, progression for our Higher Education students is highly impressive with 42% having confirmed they have obtained employment, and 54% confirming that they have progressed to the next level of Higher Education. Indeed, 10 out of 12 of our HND Engineering students progressed directly into full-time engineering positions within one month of completing their qualification, and one other went onto university.
He concluded, “As well as having qualifications, students need to have much more in terms of skills and experience. This includes soft skills, such as communication, presentation and organisational skills which allow students to excel in studies, work and life. At SERC we place important value on project-based learning which gives students those opportunities to work together on real life scenarios, solving problems and developing entrepreneurial skills before they walk through the door.”
Eight (8) outstanding students also received Higher Education Excellence Awards, designed to honour and reward those students whose commitment to learning and training has set them apart from their peers. Awards were presented to:
School of Applied Science and Sport
Jamie Hewitt (Bangor) Ulster University Foundation Degree in Sport, Coaching and Fitness
School of Computing and Engineering
Nathan McCourt (Lisburn) Pearson BTEC HND in Engineering (General)
School of Construction, Engineering Services and Skills for Work
Emma Hamill (Banbridge) Pearson BTEC HNC in Construction and the Built Environment
School of Health, Early Years and Adult Education
Sagila Kakabayeva (Bangor) Pearson BTEC HNC in Healthcare Practice
School of Hospitality, Management, Tourism and Languages
Calvin Johnston (Castlewellan) Liverpool John Moores University BA Business Studies, and
Diarmuid O’Rourke (Downpatrick) Higher Level Apprenticeship Accounting
School of Performing and Creative Arts
Jordan Hineson (Bangor) Pearson BTEC HND in Performing Arts
The College’s prestigious Ishihara Award for Outstanding Higher Education Engineering Student – was presented to:
Summer Ferguson (Lisburn) – Ulster University Foundation Degree in Mechatronic Engineering. The College’s links with Toyama University in Japan led to many projects and student visits and the Award is named after Toyama’s former Principal, Professor Ishihara.