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SRC HONOURS LOCAL ENTREPRENEUR LORD BALLYEDMOND OBE

 The Right Honourable Lord Ballyedmond OBE visited Southern Regional College on Thursday 29 November 2012 to view the new state of the art Science facilities and unveil a plaque in his honour.

 The Southern Regional College unveiled a plaque naming its applied science laboratories in honour of the Right Honourable Lord Ballyedmond OBE, Chief Executive and Chairman of the Norbrook Group. The ceremony took place at the West Campus of the Southern Regional College and was attended by local politicians, industrial representatives, students and staff and members of the College's Governing Body.

Over recent years the College has forged a strong working relationship with Norbrook Laboratories Ltd on a number of fronts including the delivery of vocational qualifications at level 2 and 3 in laboratory techniques as well as bespoke business support programmes. Norbrook staff have also been instrumental in advising and supporting College lecturers in designing programmes in applied science and analytical chemistry including the first Foundation Degree in applied medical science in conjunction with the University of Ulster.

Lord Ballyedmond also provides an annual bursary of £11,000 to students from the College who have the aspiration to progress to higher education. The Norbrook Prize was first introduced by Lord Ballyedmond in 2007 and since then 12 recipients have gone on to study a wide range of higher education programmes throughout the UK and the island of Ireland.

Speaking on behalf of past Norbrook Prize winners, Mr Kyle Boyd, a former student of the College's adult access programme in social sciences, said:

Without doubt the financial support provided by Lord Ballyedmond through the Norbrook Prize has enabled me to reach my goal of progressing to Queen's University Belfast to study for a degree in Politics. On behalf of all recipients of the Norbrook prize, I thank you most sincerely for your kind generosity and continued interest in the progress of the students of the Southern Regional College.

The Chief Executive of the Southern Regional College, Mr Brian Doran said:

The role of the further education sector in addressing the skills needs and engaging with local businesses and industry is central to the development of our local economy. Today's ceremony marks a staging post in our work with one of the leading pharmaceutical companies based here in Newry. It should not be forgotten that Norbrook employs over 2,300 in Newry and 3,500 worldwide and contributes over £3million per week to the economy of Newry. I am delighted to be associated with the highly successful partnership that has evolved over recent years with Norbrook Laboratories and it is only fitting that the College pays tribute to the work of Lord Ballyedmond by naming these applied science laboratories in his honour.

I thank him most sincerely for the kind generosity shown to our student body through the annual Norbrook Prize and I look forward to bringing forward some more exciting developments to create a unique curriculum and learning opportunity for further and higher education and for research and development in the Southern Regional College.

Following the unveiling of the plaque, Lord Ballyedmond thanked the College and the Governing Body for recognising the contribution that he had made to the local economy and the success of science education and training at the College:

I feel honoured that the Governing Body of the College has considered me for this great accolade. Working with the Principal and the staff and students over a number of years has been a privilege. Brian Doran, Chief Executive, has been the driving force in this College. It expands throughout the region. It is cross-community and takes in the areas of Armagh, Banbridge, Kilkeel, Lurgan, Newry and Portadown. My Company, Norbrook, has the privilege of recruiting some excellent people from this region, a lot past pupils of the College. We hope to forge an even wider partnership in the years to come. The future of my Company lies in partnership with educational establishments and being able to recruit people with a combination of education and training, and my senior management will be getting together in the near future to design a programme of education suitable for our Company, where we hope to be able to offer employment to the excellent people that we know have come through this establishment. We need people who are qualified in many disciplines, and our experience has been that this College can deliver the people with both education and training on a broad spectrum for these many disciplines.

The event concluded with a lunch reception in the College's Graduate Restaurant.

Lord Ballyedmond unveiling the plaque with Angela Coffey, Vice-chair of the Board of Governors, Brian Doran, SRC Chief Executive and John McArdle, Mayor of Newry and Mourne District Council

Lord Ballyedmond with former Norbrook prize winners Kyle Boyd, Michael Finan and Lisa Meegan

Applied Science student Diamante Draskinyte with Lord Ballyedmond in one of the SRC Science Laboratories

* Pictures taken by Presseye