SIX lucky students from South Eastern Regional College were delighted to win an iPad after beating off stiff competition to win the Downpatrick Campus ‘Get the Edge’ challenge.
The challenge is one of a number of activities planned as part of Global Enterprise Week, which takes place from 12-16 November.
This year, for the first time ever, over 3,000 students participated in the competition. Students in small teams competed in a challenge to identify an innovative solution to a specific problem, tailored towards each vocational area, which they presented to judging panels.
During induction week, the challenge allowed students to take a step back from academic life and re-examine their skills and experiences. All with the expert help of the dedicated SERC enterprise team.
Particularly aimed at new students, the competition was designed as an exciting and enjoyable way to learn about the College and meet new friends in a fun and informal way. The week also enabled students to realise how high the standard is here and that while they have to work hard, in doing so they will make a lot of friends along the way that will support them throughout their course.
SERCs Director of Corporate and Economic Development Thompson Keating said: “At SERC we are committed to providing every student with the opportunity to improve their employability skills. In an increasingly challenging job market this has never been more important. Employers have informed us that a qualification is not enough anymore and students need to have much more in terms of skills and experience. In response SERC has launched the ‘Get the Edge’ Initiative.
“The core activities include work placements, industry projects, volunteering and SERC Student Companies. Students across all curriculum areas take part in these activities to enhance skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem–solving and business knowledge. Their efforts are then accredited through a City & Guilds qualification which is embedded in their main programme of study. This provides an additional qualification as evidence to employers of their enterprise and employability skills.
“Our efforts are already paying off. Research has shown that 97% of our students are moving on to employment, self-employment and education or training on completion of their courses.”
Michael Malone, Director of Curriculum at SERC, added: “The standard of presentations across all campuses was excellent with participation from a diverse range of curriculum areas.
“It is vital that students have exposure to additional, practical skills required in industry. We felt our students would have an edge over those who have not gained this qualification.”
Winning Art and Design student Helena Killen from Downpatrick, said: “I’d definitely recommend Get The Edge to other students and fresher’s. I wanted to build up my confidence and the SERC Get the Edge Challenge helped me do exactly that then as an added bonus I won an iPad.
“The most useful thing I learnt through doing the challenge was the importance of communication, managing my time efficiently and meeting new friends.”
As part of Global Enterprise Week SERC will be hosting a range of career workshops, employer talks and business start-up advice to help give students the necessary skills required for a future career.
The initiative has also been commended by Sinn Féin MLA and Education Committee member Chris Hazzard, who said: “It is important that all people entering the job market have as many strings to their bow as possible in order to secure the job of their choice. This new initiative has to be congratulated in that it will provide prospective employers with evidence that the applicant had relevant work experience. I hope that this initiative can be expanded upon across other areas and that students make the most of their opportunity to impress prospective employers with a range of skill that allows them to enter the job market.”
The winning team from each campus will now deliver their final pitch to discover who will be crowned as the overall SERC champions. This special occasion is an opportunity for SERC to celebrate the hard work and achievements of students who have successfully completed the ‘Get the Edge’ competition and will take place on 14 November.
For further information about how SERC can help give you ‘the edge’, please call 0845 600 7555, visit www.serc.ac.uk or find us on Facebook, search: South Eastern Regional College.