South West College clinches top STEM Award

SOUTH West College was today confirmed on a list of the UK’s top science and technology educators, after securing the prestigious STEM Assured status from NEF: The Innovation Institute.

Awarded only to those who demonstrate strategic STEM leadership, the STEM Assured standard recognises institutions with advanced capability to support the needs of business and industry through specialist teaching and training in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

To mark the award, more than 200 students lined out to create Northern Ireland’s largest human equation and took part in a wide range of interactive experiments and activities during a special presentation event at the dedicated STEM Teaching Centre in Dungannon.

Speaking at the event, Dr Farry said: “I congratulate South West College on achieving STEM Assured status. This award demonstrates the college’s capability in delivering STEM provision that meets the needs of business and industry, which is critical to our future success. As our economy continues to change, we are increasingly dependent on people with skills and qualifications in science, technology, engineering and maths.”

South West College is the first Institution in Northern Ireland to achieve the demanding STEM Assured standard, other UK recipients include Exeter College, Central College Nottingham and West Cheshire College.

College Director Malachy McAleer said: “Gaining STEM Assured is an important achievement for South West College. It is a tribute to our staff who have shown that they understand the needs of local students, teachers and industry and it recognises our commitment to effectively promote STEM within schools and communities.

“We’ve researched and developed our facilities and resources to ensure that they are industry-relevant and optimised to enhance our economic competitiveness. We are proud to have our work ranked with the very best colleges in the UK.”

Prof Sa’ad Medhat, Chief Executive at the NEF said: ”The STEM Assured standard has been specifically developed to assure the quality of an integrated,

cross-curricular approach to STEM vocational education. The approval process is robust and involves a critical review of the provider’s strategy and approach to ensure their vocational STEM offer meets the needs of employers and industry sectors.

He added: “There is fantastic enthusiasm, commitment and resources dedicated towards the advancement of the STEM agenda in South West College. It has made a serious investment that will have a genuine impact on the local economy and it is this vision that will support and drive regional economic development.”

Last year South West College also claimed three UK Beacon Awards, including the coveted President’s Award for its work with employers and schools in the promotion of STEM subjects and a gold ‘International Green Award’ for its work in sustainable technologies.

STEM Assured is a UK-wide quality standard recognised by The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the UK Commission for Employment & Skills (UKCES).

The award reflects a College’s determination to be at the forefront of cross-curricular STEM provision and meet the needs of local and regional employers.

The STEM Celebration was sponsored by O’Hare & McGovern. For more information on the STEM courses available at South West College please call 0845 603 1881 or visit