South Eastern Regional College’s new £12 million campus received a ministerial inspection yesterday – 3 February 2016.
First Minister of Northern Ireland, Mrs Arlene Foster, visited the College’s new state-of-the-art campus which was unveiled just a few months ago by the Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry.
The 3,650m² facility, which was funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, provides high specification, bespoke accommodation for the Schools of Manufacturing and Electrical Engineering, Computer and Software Engineering and Performing and Creative Arts.
On arrival to the SPACE Campus, Minister Foster was welcomed by SERC Principal and Chief Executive Mr Ken Webb and Dr Michael Malone, Director of Curriculum and Information Services; who were both keen to highlight to the Minister the exciting new campus and the vocational courses available.
Minister Foster met tutors and students as she toured some of the college’s state-of-the-art engineering facilities and equipment at the Technology Innovation Centre which provides a business quality learning environment focusing on advanced engineering and innovation. Principal Ken Webb led the tour and highlighted particular aspects of the new facility along the way, whilst explaining how it is providing an innovative curriculum to fill the well recorded technical skills gaps which are needed to drive the economy forward.
Following the tour of the Technology Innovation Centre, Minister Foster visited the heart of the performing arts centre — the theatre — around which rehearsal and production studios are located. The theatre has all the attributes of a professional auditorium and in addition to being suitable for staging professional productions it provides first class rehearsal, recording and performance facilities for the students of Bangor and the surrounding area.
SERC Principal Ken Webb said: 'SERC offers a fantastic array of vocational courses and we are delighted to have the opportunity to highlight this to the First Minister. As an industry-leading college, we are immensely proud of all that we have achieved so far in redefining technical professional and indeed college education. Our new campus, with its first class learning and teaching facilities, is proof of our commitment to promoting and encouraging the next generation to consider the many excellent and varied career opportunities available in Further Education.'
SERC hosted the tour as part of a range of activities designed to celebrate the opening of the new building. First Minister of Northern Ireland Arlene Foster said, 'This is a tremendous facility for North Down. It’s been a pleasure to meet the staff and students. Wherever I travel in Northern Ireland I commend our teaching staff as they are moulding the leaders of tomorrow. Students passing through this college will receive the skills necessary to get a good job indeed some might even be inspired to start their own company.
'This first class facility is providing the courses and it’s my aim to ensure that when young people leave this place they are able to get suitable jobs in their locality. My number one goal for every part of Northern Ireland is to bring more jobs. I’m glad that during my time in the economy Department we brought more jobs to Northern Ireland than at any other time in our history. However, we have more to do and colleges like this, working with local industries, are vital in achieving the skilled workforce necessary.'