Winning this award is a shock – I wasn’t expecting it…I will continue to try my best to provide the students with the best opportunities that I can throughout their programme.
My name is Bill Watson and I am a Lecturer and Career Ready Coordinator at Northern Regional College. I have been running the programme for four years and in 2016 I was awarded the Santander Employability Champion Award for Northern Ireland.
What does your role involve?
The key focus of my role as Career Ready Coordinator is building strong relationships with the local engineering industry and linking students, mentors from engineering companies and our college. The students benefit hugely from the industrial experience, which often results in extended internships and employment opportunities with their companies.
The most rewarding aspect of my role is seeing uncertain students suddenly realise exactly what they want to do with their careers and witness them making progress towards achieving their goals.
Why would you recommend Career Ready to other colleges?
It really is a win-win-win situation for students, employers and colleges alike…I fail to see any faults with the programme.
The students obviously benefit hugely but so do their mentors, gaining leadership experience and increased responsibility. Some of our LAB members state that the programme now even acts as a pipeline for young recruits, providing two or three students each year, whilst increasing their profile within the young student group.
Our college also benefits greatly. Being involved in the programme has brought additional work our way, built new relationships with industry and has acted as a recruitment tool, both for new students and for existing students to continue on to our Level 5 Engineering programmes. Win-win-win without a doubt!
How does it feel to be recognised with the Santander Award?
Winning this award is a shock – I wasn’t expecting it and I’m sure there was tough competition. I am very grateful though and will continue to try my best to provide the students with the best opportunities that I can throughout their programme.
What are your plans for the future of the programme at your college?
I would like to now roll the programme out and offer it to students on additional campuses so that students from our other geographical areas – and their local companies – can begin to reap the benefits of the programme.