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North West Regional College is Connected to Local Business

29 April 2013

NWRC An initiative funded by the Department of Employment and Learning, a wide range of businesses have benefitted from the expertise within the College in the past twelve months.

NWRC is one of Northern Ireland’s largest further and higher education providers and has vast resources and expertise that local enterprises can avail of. From the knowledge and experience of the expert teaching staff, to the modern industry standard facilities, the Connected project has matched the needs of small companies and medium enterprises requiring bespoke support to help them stand out from the competition.

A key example of the practical support on offer came through the School for Hospitality, Tourism and Sport, which delivered a new website and online Marketing Strategy for Donegal Prime Fish, utilising the expertise of Business Innovation Centre NORIBIC. Butchers from across the North West were provided with a practical session to improve the culinary value of their products with
Community Chef Brian McDermott, and a demonstration from celebrity chef Neven Maguire. Small accommodation providers gained practical advice at a session from the College Tourism staff on utilising social media to drive bookings, while Social and Online opportunities were also promoted to small businesses from Derry~Londonderry at ‘Make IT Your Business’, with speakers from InvestNI, The Information Commissioner’s Office and Digital Derry highlighting the opportunities that commercial businesses can make the most of cost effectively.

The College, in collaboration with University of Ulster is also working through Connected to raise the opportunities and options for local pupils and students in key areas that will further drive and develop the local economy.

Addressing the shortage of females in the Computing and IT industry, NWRC’s ‘Only Girls Allowed’ conference brought together leading female professionals in to share their industry experiences with College students and post-primary pupils from across the North West. Representatives from Barclays, Allstate and Seagate helped the female students to see that there are excellent prospects, and that they can gain the skills employers require at North West Regional College.

While the College has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, it has also embraced the ethos of the Connected project to exchange links between academia and the workplace and has organised a range of successful conferences bringing regional and international speakers to Derry~Londonderry to foster new working relationships and to share research in the fields of Health and Social Care, Higher Education and Multimedia. Within Engineering students have been able to avail of a wider range of site visits and the College has hosted Technical Meetings for the Institute of Civil Engineers as a result of support from Connected.

With North West Regional College’s state-of-the- art facilities available to local companies, the benefits of collaboration are of great value to businesses and the staff and students at the College. 360 Production, a Derry production company completed 52 short programmes for Head Squeeze TV, with live science experiments shot using NWRC media facilities during 2012 and 2013. Students were involved in production and post-production and received credits on the completed programmes. Subsequently, eight of the College’s media students have been given employment contracts by 360 Production for Summer 2013.

Further projects and collaboration are planned into 2014 and opportunities are available for additional small or medium sized business looking to get connected to College expertise that could make a real impact to their bottom line. Contact North West Regional College’s dedicated Business
Support Centre on 028 7127 6000, visit www.nwrc.ac.uk or the Connected website www.connected.ni.org

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