SERC Team Runner Up in Beacon Awards

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01 March 2024

Paul Mercer, Elizabeth Major, Brian Magill, Clare Gillen and Paul Monaghan

SERC's Hospitality and Culinary Arts team have been awarded Runner Up in the Association of Colleges Beacon Awards 2023-24, which were presented in Westminster this week.

The team, led by Paul Mercer, were shortlisted for the Real World Learning Award for their ongoing Food Poverty Project.   The Award recognises how they had radically adapted their project-based learning (PBL) focus from solely business enterprise to fifty percent social enterprise work, in response to the extreme food poverty in their local communities.

Paul Mercer, Deputy Head of School of Hospitality, said, “We were delighted to attend the prestigious Awards ceremony in Westminster and to represent, not only SERC but the NI FE Sector. This Award recognises our ongoing Food Poverty Project which works with food banks, charities, businesses and local councils, to provide unique learning opportunities for students in designing, planning, and implementing culinary projects to address food poverty in the community.”

He concluded, “The Award also recognises what can be achieved through Project based learning, social enterprise and a strong network of motivated community partners.”

Dr Michael Malone, Director of Curriculum and James Currie Head of School of Hospitality at SERC and Dr Stephen Farry, Alliance MP for North Down, also attended the event.

The Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards celebrate and showcase best practice and innovation and highlight excellence in UK further education colleges.

Above: (L- R) Paul Mercer, Elizabeth Major, Brian Magill, Clare Gillen and Paul Monaghan.