Economy Minister congratulates students on Further Education success on results day

Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA, has met with Further Education students at South West College to pass on his congratulations as they received results today.

Across Northern Ireland, thousands of students from the six further education colleges have received results in A-Level, BTEC and Higher National Diplomas.

Attending South West College’s Erne Campus, the Minister also discussed with students and teaching staff the hundreds of opportunities open to learners seeking Higher Level options including Foundation degrees, Higher Level Apprenticeships, and HNDs in subjects such as Accountancy, Business Studies, Health and Life Sciences and Hospitality.

Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA said:

“I want to congratulate all those receiving their results today and for all their hard work and determination. The skills of our workforce are central to achieving our goal of making Northern Ireland one of the world’s elite small economies. I want to ensure learners have access to the qualifications employers need and support progression towards their chosen career pathways.

“I would encourage everyone to explore the opportunities and options available to them in both further and higher education or through training and apprenticeships. My Department offers free and impartial advice through our Careers Service and contact details can be found at”

Interim Chief Executive and Principal of South West College, Leo Murphy said:

“It was great to welcome the Minister to South West College today and for him to send his best wishes to all of our students who have done incredibly well in this year’s results. It is their hard work and dedication that should be rightly celebrated today.

“We are also encouraging all students receiving results today to consider their options at their local Further Education college. The courses and opportunities on offer this year to school leavers who choose to study at their local Further Education college are first-class and offer a promising next step in their education.

“Across Northern Ireland there are alternative routes to university degree or employment at local Further Education colleges and students can still reach their end destination by taking on a higher education course or foundation degree in a Further Education college first.

“Our ability to create courses in collaboration with industry, means that our learners leave college with the professional and technical qualifications they need to go straight into well-paid jobs and promising careers, or progress onto university with a well-rounded qualification already. Our accessibility means we are open to all kinds of learners from school leavers to those looking to re-skill or re-train.”

Chair of South West College’s Governing Body, Dr Nicholas O’Shiel said:

“The skills provided at SWC ensure Further Education college graduates have the fit-for-purpose competencies employers demand.

“So, with employers crying out for skilled workers, we are an increasingly relevant destination for school leavers, and I encourage all of them to look at what life-changing courses are on offer.

“This can be anxious time and young people and parents don’t always know what career courses or learning opportunities are available to them. Some people may have performed under their expectations, while others may be unsure about which route to take.

“It is vital that young people are aware of the range of options available, to help them make better, informed choices and I would encourage them to come along to their Further Education college to hear their options. Our goal is to make it easier and more accessible for school leavers to source all the information they need to make informed decisions about their future.”

To find out more information about the higher education options at local FE Colleges visit