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Frequently Asked Questions
We offer a broad range of activities both indoors and outdoors which are based on the current planning theme. This supports children’s learning while developing each child’s physical, social and emotional, cognitive and language development through play.
In each area of the creche we provide a range of activities suitable to the particular age group. This which enables each child to develop at their own individual pace.
Learning through play is an integral part of a young child’s development as through play children learn essential skills such as concentration, problem solving, imagination, working with others. This also helps to build children’s self-esteem and confidence.
An Apprenticeship is a work based learning programme funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE), it is designed for 16-24 year olds, contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week. You will get paid by your employer and the training is free.
Reasons to study an Apprenticeship course:
High quality professional and technical training.
High quality lecturing staff.
The latest technology to train on in College.
A Training Support Officer who will assist you both in the workplace and in the College.
Essential Skills such as Literacy, Numeracy and ICT.
The opportunity to progress form Level 2 to Level 3 and beyond.
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) provides the public with access to information held by public authorities.
The Freedom of Information Act (2000) gives the public the right of access to recorded information held by public authorities (subject to certain conditions and exemptions) including Further and Higher Education institutions. Compliance with legislation is demonstrated through implementation of the Code of Practice 2018.
This is conducted in two ways:
- Public authorities are obliged to publish certain information about their activities; and
- Members of the public are entitled to request information from public authorities.
The main principle behind freedom of information legislation is that people have a right to know about the activities of public authorities, unless there is a good reason for them not to. This is sometimes described as a presumption or assumption in favour of disclosure. The Act is also sometimes described as purpose and applicant blind.
The Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) (2004) provides public access to environmental information held by public authorities, including Further and Higher Education institutions and impose several obligations on them. Therefore, similar to that of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (2000) as both are intended to promote openness and accountability amongst public authorities.
The table below illustrates examples of what EIR (2004) request could consist of:
|Elements||Air, water, soil, and landscapes||Condition of football pitches|
|Factors that effect on the environment||Energy, noise, waster, and emissions||Energy used at local theatre|
|Measures designed to affect the environment||Policies, legislation, and plans||Health and safety plan|
|Reports on legislation|
|Analyses||Cost/benefit analyses related to measures||Health and safety reports|
|State of human health & safety||Sanitation, food, hygiene, and state of buildings||Pool water testing information, hygiene reports for café|
Training for Success is designed for young people aged 16 - 18 (up to 24 years for those requiring additional support) and provides the training you need to get a job. You will spend time in the classroom and in work placements in order to develop your skills. You can access EMA on these courses and they are free.Reasons to study A Training for Success course:
High quality processional and technical training.
High qualified lecturing staff.
The latest technology to train on in College.
A Training Support Officer who will assist you both in the workplace and in the College.
Guidance and advice on career options.
Hands on projects where you can carry out work for voluntary and community based organisations.
Essential Skills such as Literacy, Numeracy, ICT and Employability.
Opportunity to progress to further levels of training.
Student Support Services
Please find below details of some support services which may be useful. These relate to Counselling Support, Housing Support and Foodbanks.
Inspire Students - 0800 3895 362 - Inspire Students in an independent source of support and counselling for all students/trainees. They can be contacted for free, confidential and immediate support on the above number which is available 24/7. If necessary, they can call you back.
Lifeline - 0808 808 8000 - Lifeline is the Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people who are experiencing distress or despair. If you or someone you know is in distress or despair, Lifeline is here to help. Calls to Lifeline are free and Lifeline counsellors are available 24/7 to listen and help in confidence. Deaf and hard of hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on 18001 0808 808 8000.
MACS - provides a range of services for young people, including for those experiencing homelessness issues. They can be contacted on 028 4461 6551 (Downpatrick) or 028 9264 6329 (Lisburn), or visit their website www.macsni.org
NIHE (Northern Ireland Housing Executive) provides information and advice on homelessness and can be contacted on 03448 920 908 or click here to visit their website. In an Emergency the Housing Executive can provide temporary emergency accommodation for young people at risk of exploitation or who are vulnerable in some way by contacting them on 03448 920 908. For further information visit here - www.nihe.gov.uk/Housing-Help/Homelessness
Simon Community NI is a homeless charity, working to support people who have no home and can be contacted on 0800 1712222 or visit their website - www.simoncommunity.org/homelessness
House Rights NI can provide mediation services with landlords and tenants, support through disputes and support tenants with cases. They can be contacted on 028 9024 5640 or click here www.housingadviceni.org to visit their webpage
Emergency accommodation. For a full list of emergency shelters and beds if someone has nowhere to stay, please click here - www.chni.org.uk/advice.html#accomm
Women’s Aid provide support and information in relation to domestic abuse. Full contact details can be found here www.womensaidni.org
SERC students and staff have been generously supporting local Food Banks which have been making a real difference to people’s lives. If you need to contact one of the Food Banks in your area, please email them on the details below and they will be in touch:
For a further list of Food Banks operating throughout Northern Ireland please click here www.cabfoodbanksuu.wordpress.com/list-of-food-banks/
Any individual/organisation can submit a request for information relating to College business activities.
Section 8 of FOIA states the criteria for a valid request to be:
- In writing
- states the name of the individual and an address for correspondence
- describes the information requested.
Any individual can submit and EIR request to the College either verbally or in writing. The individual must provide:
- Contact Name
- Contact Details
- Description of the information they are requesting
Requests can be sent to the Records Manager at:
SERC, Bangor Campus
Castle Park Road
Mix vital on the job training and classroom learning with a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) at SERC. HLAs provide you with the skills you need for your chosen career and also lead to nationally recognised qualifications.
As an apprentice you earn while you learn and receive other benefits too. Higher Apprenticeships are a great alternative to university – many offer training up to degree level, a salary and the opportunity to start moving your career forward – all without paying hefty tuition fees or running up student debts!
Choosing a HLA will give you an alternative route to high skills roles in exciting organisations, nationally recognised qualifications, work experience where you get paid and transferable skills which help you progress to high skilled careers in the professions
To undertake a HLA you much be over 18 years old and hold a Level 3 qualification such as A levels, BTEC or OCR, NVQ Level 3 or an Advanced Apprenticeship. You may also need to have gained up to five GCSEs grade A* to C including English and Maths and you need to show you have the ability to complete the programme which takes between 1 – 3 years. Higher Level Apprenticeships are ideal if you are already in employment and are looking to upskill, however if you do not have an employer SERC can work with you to match you to a suitable company.
Reasons to Study a HLA:
85% of HLAs stay in employment upon completion of qualification.
⅓ receive a promotion.
Qualified Apprentices are 15% more employable.
Apprentices can earn £150,000* more in their lifetime.
Graduation ceremonies are a formal occasion. The dress code consists of your gown, hood, and formal dress.
We recommend one of the following:
- A dark suit, white shirt, with a white bow tie (normal dark ties are also acceptable)
- A dark dress A dark trouser or skirt suit, with a white shirt or blouse
- Other formal attire related to your cultural tradition or national costume
To gain entry to the Level 2 or 3 Apprenticeship programme, you must have an employer. The responsibility for securing an employer lies with you. This can be a daunting task for anyone, and so below is some advice on how to secure employment before attending College in September.
Once you have decided upon your course of study, you should seek an employer as early as possible, certainly before September. You must also complete an on-line application on the college website for your chosen course and send it in to the College. Please contact our Training Support Team to discuss your options.
Contact as many potential employers as possible by telephone, e-mail or in writing, making sure that you explain clearly why you are contacting them.
So, what exactly is personal data? Personal data means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. Known as the ‘data subject’.
In other words, any information that clearly about a particular person. But how broadly does this apply?
The GDPR states that this applies where an individual can be identified directly or indirectly. Some of the followings are examples that can make an individual identifiable:
- Identification number;
- Location data; and
- An online identifier
A name is perhaps the most common means of identifying someone. However, whether any potential identifier, including whether a name identifies an individual depends on the context.
By itself, the name ‘John Smith’ may not always be personal data because there are many individuals with that name. However, if the name is combined with other information (such as an address, a place of work, or a telephone number) this is often sufficient to clearly identify one individual.
Special Category Data
GDPR special category data is personal information of data subjects (individuals) that is especially sensitive. Special category data includes the following:
- Race and ethnic origin
- Religious or philosophical beliefs
- Political opinions
- Trade union memberships
- Biometric data used to identify an individual
- Genetic data
- Health data
- Data related to sexual orientation
Due to these data elements being particularly sensitive, the College must have a legitimate and lawful reason for collecting, storing, transmitting, or processing these data.
Wider employability skills are essential in securing employment after your studies. When you become a student at SERC you will be given the opportunity to develop these skills through our Employability Programme, that’s why
SERC will give you as many opportunities as possible to help you gain better skills and get
Studying at SERC will help you start the journey to your dream career as you will:
• Gain more qualifications
• Have the opportunity to set up a SERC Student Company
• Take part in industry projects
• Undertake work placements
• Get involved with volunteer programmes
We can give you advantages, skills and experience other young people take years to get. Students sitting where you are now have gone on to amazing careers with companies like Coca-Cola and NASA!
Employing an Apprentice can bring with it may benefits, as well as incentive payments, taking on an apprentice can help your business harness fresh young talent!
To get involved with the ApprenticeshipNI programme you can employ an apprentice or you can invest in a current employee by putting them through the programme.
Recognised training and qualification for your staff.
Can help all types of businesses harness fresh new talent.
Can help equip your workforce with the practical skills that your organisation needs now and in the future.
Students will learn from highly qualified lecturing staff.
The latest technology for your staff to train on in College.
An incentive payment is available for complete the Apprenticeship programme.
Yes! You can speak to our Careers Staff on campus, or via telephone or MS Teams. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. SERC students - please keep checking your college email for your weekly Careers Bulletin which has all the latest information on UCAS, jobs and opportunities, plus much more.
The College will only collect and process data that is necessary and we are forbidden from processing data unlawfully. Examples of reasons why we ask for your data can vary from the College performing its public task, fulfilments of legal obligations and where an individual requires protection from harm. Legislation protects your data against being processed where there is no existing lawful basis to do so.
The College has many Privacy Notices for various Departments to help you understand, how and why we collect your information. Privacy Notice - SERC
Yes, our Careers Advisors are impartial and can give you advice on your child’s career options.
We have a page on our website just for parents.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) states that, UK GDPR provides the following rights for individuals, which the College is complaint with:
- The Right to be informed;
- The Right of access:
- The Right to rectification;
- The Right to erasure;
- The Right to restrict processing;
- The Right to data portability;
- The Right to object;
- Rights in relation to automated decision-making and profiling.
SERC is now recruiting students for a new fully funded intensive programme. The Flexible Skills Fund has been established to help upskill and reskill individuals to meet the needs of the economy as we emerge from the pandemic and continue to grow the economy beyond it.
The 'SKILL UP' programme is accessible to all groups - those in employment and those unemployed. The programme seeks to encourage participants from various socio-economic, academic and non-academic backgrounds. Participants are able to avail of free courses and accredited qualifications, which will improve their skills, benefitting their employment opportunities and enhancing Northern Ireland’s continuously growing and diversifying economy.
The eligibility criteria below applies to all potential applicants:
- over 18 years of age;
- eligible to work in Northern Ireland;
- ‘settled’ in Northern Ireland, and has been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years;
- or is a person who has indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK.
For full details and a list of courses please visit https://www.serc.ac.uk/skillup
Section 12 of FOIA allows the College to refuse a request if the cost of compliance would exceed the appropriate limit of £450. Compliance factors can include:
- Complying in entirety, or
- Confirm/deny if the information is held.
The estimate must be always reasonable.
The limit of £450 is calculated at £25 per hour, regardless of the grade of staff member(s) who would be involved in the response. If the cost to determine the following 4 points exceeds £450, the Section 12 exemption is engaged.
- Determining whether the information is held
- Locating information, or a document containing it
- Retrieving the information, or document containing it
- Extracting the information from a document containing it
Where the cost exemption has been exceeded, the College may exercise its duty to ‘advise and assist’ to help the individual reformulate their request so that the maximum limit is not reached.
Regulation 8 allows the College can charge a discretionary amount to make environmental information available. The charge must be reasonable and not exceed the cost of providing that information.
Where a charge is made, the College must provide a schedule of charges and provide the individual with details on how to make the payment in advance of the information being released.
A public authority shall not make any charge for allowing an applicant:
- to access any public registers or lists of environmental information held by the public authority; or
- To examine the information requested at the place which the public authority makes available for that examination.
The College must allow 60 working days for receipt of payment. While this process is underway, the time for response is paused until such payment is made.
The College is committed to transparency regarding its business activities however, the law does allow the College to withhold information if certain criteria are met e.g., where withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
Please note, ‘Public Interest’ is defined as information which will benefit the public and which they should be aware of.
All requests will be carefully assessed before such a decision is made and where information is withheld, a Refusal Notice will be provided.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is the Regulator for GDPR, Data Protection, Freedom of Information, and environmental Information legislation. They provide advice and guidance to both the public and organisations in relation to the legislation.
The College regularly communicates with the ICO and refers to their guidance to demonstrate a high standard of compliance with legislation.
Click here for the ICO homepage Home | ICO
If an individual is not happy with how the College has handled their request or exceptions applied to the response, they have the right to request an internal review. Appeals should be submitted within 2 weeks of receipt of their response (40 days for EIR) detailing reasons for dissatisfaction and should be addressed to:
SERC, Bangor Campus
Castle Park Road
The College will convene an independent panel of staff who will then examine the initial request/response, for appeal and review if there are areas for improvement and whether the College can reconsider releasing information originally withheld. If you remain unhappy with the outcome, you can contact the Information Commissioners Officer at:
If you are unhappy with the College’s response to your Subject Access Request, please let us know by emailing email@example.com or addressing a letter to the Records Manager.
If you remain unhappy with the College’s response to your Subject Access Request, please contact the Information Commissioner at:
Information Commissioner’s Office
The College welcomes all means of support for our students however we must also comply with GDPR and the Data Protection Act (2018) which regulates how we process personal data, including any disclosures about our students. This applies to all student information, even if they are under the age of 18.
The College is unable to discuss student information with anyone unless the student has provided this consent on their student account or where an individual has legal responsibility for a vulnerable adult. During application and enrolment, the student is given opportunity to provide this consent and the name of the person to whom we can discuss their information with.
In an emergency e.g., where we have concerns about the life, health, and welfare of the student, we will make contact with the person identified as the ‘Emergency Contact’ on the student’s account.
While the College may not be able to discuss information with you, students can access their student profile from home, and this will contain their timetable, attendance register and various other aspects of their progress at the College.
Staff can answer any questions you may have about College processes e.g. EMA, Application process, Learning Support provision, and we have a suite of policies and procedures available on our website for your information.
At the ceremony you will receive a mock-up certificate. Actual certificates will be available from the College after the 1 October. You will receive a text message when your certificate is available to collect.
Can you post out my certificate? No – you must collect it from the college.
If your certificate is available for collection you will receive a communication from us to advise you. For any queries in the interim contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications for travel passes are now online. Please apply at this link: https://www.eani.org.uk/financial-help/school-transport/further-education. For any queries please contact the Education Authority directly on 028 9056 6200.
EMA is a means tested fund available for Full-Time students continuing in Further Education who meet the eligibility criteria. To access a downloadable application form, guidance notes and to find out if you are eligible please visit www.nidirect.gov.uk.
Hard copy application packs are available at campus receptions. Alternatively we can post a pack to you. Please email email@example.com to request an EMA pack.
EMA applications for 2021/22 close on 31 March 2022.
The LRCs opening times are as follows:
Bangor and Newtownards:
- Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm
- Friday: 9am – 3:30pm
Lisburn and Downpatrick:
- Monday – Thursday: 8:45am – 5pm
- Friday: 8:45am – 3:30pm
All LRCs are closed outside term time.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the web form Ask a Librarian