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NWRC wins top OCN award

North West Regional College (NWRC) has been named Provider of the Year at the 2021 OCN Learner Awards, recognising the difference the college has made to the lives of local learners, the local community and the economy over the past 12 months.

This year’s NI Open College Network Awards were held virtually, in line with Covid-19 restrictions, and had more than 200 entries across the categories.

As well as collecting a Highly Commended in the Further Education Learner of the Year, NWRC won Provider of the Year, recognising its innovative forward-thinking approach to student wellbeing.

Finneen Bradley, Deputy Head of Learner Services and Manager of NWRC’s Careers Academy explained that the college’s recent partnership with Elemental Software was an important development in the college’s commitment to their student wellbeing programme.

She added: “We are delighted to have been recognised for the team effort into our approach to student wellbeing with this award. 2020 has been a difficult time for everyone. The Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on the well-being and mental health of all students, so there was never a more urgent need for our college to introduce digital social prescribing.

“NWRC is the first FE/HE college in Northern Ireland to develop this ground-breaking new partnership which will revolutionise the way students can access support services and programmes. This platform enables us to bring all our internal services together, but we are also able to connect our students to other services that are available in the wider community.”

Mrs Bradley said that as well as delivering a first-class academic education at the college, NWRC is also committed to the mental health and wellbeing needs of all students.

She continued:  “Our Student Services team provide “a team around the student” support intervention service across all campuses aimed at supporting students who are struggling with their studies to overcome the barriers they face to their education and training.  The support team are made up of staff from: Widening access; Safeguarding; Careers; Learning Support; Student Finance; Students Union and Student Health & Wellbeing. The hard work across all our teams has led to this award today.”