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Staff Award Winners 2020

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Staff Awards 2020, recognising the achievements and efforts of our colleagues in the 2019/20 academic year. Congratulations to all the recipients:

Curriculum Team of the Year

Winner - Inclusive Learning Team

(Fiona Forrest, Kiera O’Kane, Anne Marie McKenna, Vivien Carson, David Dickey, Angela O’Neill, Elaine Macauley, Rhonda Brady, Claire Wilson, Ainslie Galbraith, Hilary Caithness, Fionnuala Glass and Meabh O’Reilly)

Nominated by colleagues for being “one of the most innovative teams” in the College, the Inclusive Learning Team is commended for its strong focus, pastoral care and communication throughout the pandemic – ensuring that students were not disadvantaged by Covid-19 and continued to excel in their studies.

Runner Up - Sports Team Coleraine

(Gregory McGovern, Connor McCullough, Damian McCarry and Kevin McSorley)


Work Based Learning Lecturer of the Year

Winner - Alan Stewart

Alan’s dedication to Work Based Learning has ensured that students continue to be given every opportunity to cover a wide range of jobs and meet specific learning outcomes whilst on placement. Greatly valued by CITB for his knowledge and experience, he continues to produce the largest number of suitable candidates for the SkillBuild NI competition from any training provider in the sector.

Runner Up - Ray Scott


FE Lecturer of the Year

Winner - Rhonda Brady

A Course Coordinator for the Route2Work classes in the Newtownabbey Campus, Rhonda’s outstanding contribution has seen the course exceed recruitment, success and achievement targets over the last number of years – evidenced through SER/QIP reports. During lockdown periods, she has employed innovative methods to keep students engaged and motivated and ensure they continue to reach their full potential.

Runner Up - David Dickey


HE Lecturer of the Year

Winner - Deirdre McNicholl

As course director of the FD in Early Childhood Studies, Deirdre works tirelessly to meet the needs of her students and has received excellent feedback from her students. Her dedication has seen the team record 100% achievement in terms for student outcomes and improvement in quality of provision for a second year in a row.

Runner Up - Ian Craig


Essential Skills Lecturer of the Year

Winner - Niamh McAllister

Since joining the College a year ago, Niamh has shown tremendous commitment and flexibility, fully embracing the task of taking multiple subject areas across a range of disciplines and supporting colleagues who were absent. Her passion and enthusiasm is evidenced in classroom observations and through positive student feedback.

Runner Up - Hilary Caithness


Bright Star – Digital Champion of the Year

Winner - Cheryl McNeill

Cheryl used her considerable private sector experience to enable the Business Engagement team to quickly ‘pivot’ to online engagement in response to Covid-19. She collaborated with colleagues to develop an impactful social media strategy, which included the College’s first business-facing live webinar. Her innovative use of technology has helped to increase the College’s profile and has led to additional fee-generating business engagement.

Runners Up - Victoria Smyth and Penelope Ross


Team Player of the Year

Winner - Lisa Burns

Lisa has worked proactively across support and curriculum departments throughout the pandemic to ensure students still have access to funding despite not being in College due to Covid-19. She always takes a sensitive and respectful approach to working with students on their personal finances and has developed innovative systems within the College to ensure prompt payment of EMA, hardship and care to learn, ensuring improved productivity and student outcomes. Over the past year she has also collaborated with Ulster University to develop an accredited budgeting qualification for students – the first of its kind in the UK.


Peer Support of the Year

Winner - Nicola Olphert

Nicola has been central to the Business Engagement team’s Covid-19 response, leading on the repurposing of four internal CPD courses for an external audience. This saw the College provide free online resources in Mindfulness, Goal Setting, Customer Service and Social Media. She provided excellent peer-to-peer support to increase the team’s knowledge and skills in delivering online courses, which also led to referrals for other fee-generating business engagement.

Runner Up - Bronagh McNabb


Customer Service Team Member of the Year

Winner - Shannon Boyce

Shannon continually goes above and beyond what is expected of her as a Creative Learning Assistant, resulting in exceptional feedback from both inside and outside of the College. She is renowned for her professionalism and eagerness to support colleagues and students with their technical issues in any way she can.


Effective Use of Technology Champion of the Year

Winner - Allison Cartwright

Allison responded quickly to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic by using technology to support Applied Science students in their practical modules and final year projects. This included recording practical experiments and uploading them to YouTube so that students could continue to observe experiment data and carry out analysis remotely.


Support Team Member of the Year

Winner - Teresa McMullan

Teresa has consistently gone out of her way to provide invaluable support around College systems, procedures and processes to SLT. She is commended for placing the objectives of the College and its priorities first at all times and for doing so in her “jovial and light-hearted manner”.


Support Team of the Year

Winner - IT Team

(John Ross, Alan Brown, Theo Dunlop, JP McCann, Ryan Lagan, Jonathan Turner, Roy Ferguson, Alvin Cannon, Allister McCaw, Claire McPhee, Darrell Tindle, Kerry Anne Kerr, Santosh John, Sam McIlwaine)

Over the past year the IT team has exemplified the College values and made an outstanding contribution to improving performance and meeting targets. They have exceeded all expectations in ensuring that academic and support staff could continue to deliver vital College functions from home during lockdown periods, overcoming even the most challenging of circumstances.


Covid Heroes

Winner - Kate Pegram

During lockdown in May 2020, Health and Social Care lecturer Kate organised an ‘Around the Campuses Challenge’ as part of our Covid-19 Volunteering Day initiative. This saw dozens of College staff come together virtually in teams to walk, cycle or run the equivalent of the 79-mile journey between the College campuses. Over £3,500 was raised for Extern’s Coronavirus Hardship Appeal.

Winner - Jacqui McAllister

Health and Social Care lecturer Jacqui led by example by working weekend shifts on the Covid-19 wards in Antrim Area Hospital and donating her payment for this work to a local fundraising appeal. Her 13-hour shifts came at a cost, since she had to completely self-isolate from her family and live in separate accommodation. She said: “We’re all in this together and, by stepping up myself, I hope I’m modelling best practice to my students.”

Winner - Advanced Technologies – PPE Production Team

(Brian McClelland, Dominic O’Hagan, Richard Thompson, Scott Walker, John McClintock and Gordon Kane)

Responding to urgent calls for PPE for healthcare workers at the start of the pandemic, staff within the Advanced Technologies Department pooled the College’s 3D printing resources to produce much-needed face shields. Working on a rota basis at the Farm Lodge campus, they produced an incredible 700 face shields over an eight-week period. These were distributed to nursing homes, dental practices, GP surgeries and other essential services in the College’s catchment area.