Governors appointed to the South West College

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry announced the appointment and reappointment of members to the Governing Body of South West College.

The Minister has appointed three new governors and re-appointed five existing governors, whose first terms of office had come to an end. The appointments took effect from 1 August 2015 and each is for a period of four years.

The new governors are Mrs Patricia McCaffrey, Mr Seamus McCaffrey and Mr Michael McGuckin. The governors who are being re-appointed for a second term are Mrs Margaret Martin, Mrs Monica McGeary, Mr Gerard O’Hanlon, Mr Michael Skuce and Mr Derek Weir.

The governing body of a further education college is responsible for securing the efficient and effective management of the college, determining its strategic direction, appointing its senior staff and ensuring that the college acts as a responsible employer.

Appointments to the governing bodies of further education colleges are not currently remunerated.

Notes to editors:

1. South West College (SWC) is one of the six, large further education colleges across Northern Ireland. It has campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh. In the 2013/14 academic year (the latest year for which full, validated statistics are available), SWC had over 27,000 enrolments and employed an average staff of 604 (expressed as full-time equivalents).

2. The new appointments are being made by the Minister following a public appointments competition. Both the appointments and reappointments are being made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland.

3. Appointments and reappointments to the governing bodies of further education colleges are for a period of four years and are not currently remunerated. However, plans to remunerate chairs and members of the college governing bodies are in train. It is anticipated that remuneration will be introduced during the early part of the term of these appointments.

4. Mrs Patricia McCaffrey is currently employed as Head of Finance at Waterways Ireland. From May 2014, Mrs McCaffrey was a co-opted member of the Governing Body of South West College and a member of the College’s Audit and Risk committee. She resigned from this appointment on 31 July 2015. She is also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the Ulster-Scots Agency. She holds a Masters in Executive Leadership. Mrs McCaffrey does not currently hold any other public appointments.

5. Mr Seamus McCaffrey is a practising accountant in his own accountancy firm. He is also a livestock farmer. He is a member of a number of business networks including Business in the Community, Institute of Directors and Chamber of Commerce. Between 2011 and 2014 he was a non-executive Board Member of the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI). In his capacity as a farmer, he is a member of Fermanagh Grassland Club. Mr McCaffrey does not currently hold any other public appointments.

6. Mr Michael McGuckin is a Chartered Civil Engineer by profession and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation. For a period of 20 years until his retirement in 2011, Mr McGuckin was Chief Executive of Cookstown District Council. He has been a Director of Cookstown Enterprise Agency for 22 years, and is presently vice chairman. He is also non-executive Chairman of Mallon Technology Ltd, a supplier of software, data capture and geographical information services. Mr McGuckin does not currently hold any other public appointments.

7. Mrs Margaret Martin has spent all of her professional life in education and was Principal of St Catherine’s College, Armagh for 15 years. She has served on many educational bodies including the Post-Primary Review Working Party, the BBC Education Councils NI & UK, the Council of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), the Area-Based Planning Strategy Group and the Review of Home to School Transport. She is a trustee of Gaelscoil Aodh Rua, Dungannon and consultant to Gaelcholáiste Dhoire. Mrs Martin is currently the Network Co-ordinator for Sacred Heart Schools and Chair of Mount Anville Education Trust. She served on the executive of Trócaire, the radio authority of RTE, the management committee of the trauma organisation Restoration of Appearance and Function Trust (RAFT) and chaired the board of Foras na Gaeilge for eight years. She has been a member of the Governing Body of South West College since August 2011. Mrs Martin does not currently hold any other public appointments.

8. Mrs Monica McGeary is owner and manager of Source Business Leads, a lead generation, appointment setting and market research company based in Edendork. She previously worked as a director of international operations and client business development with the Frantz Group in Wisconsin, USA, prior to starting her own business in 2001. She is also part of Enterprise Ireland’s mentor panel, offering sales development and export marketing insight to businesses across Ireland and is a member of the Parent Support Group in her local primary school. She has been a member of the Governing Body of South West College since August 2011. Mrs McGeary does not currently hold any other public appointments.

9. Mr Gerard O’Hanlon is Project Manager for Change with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, implementing the introduction of new ways of working and lean management methodologies. He is a former Director and Senior Consultant at Stredia, a risk management consultancy specialising in the management of workplace stress, and has led a large number of workplace stress reduction projects in both the public and private sectors. He is also a member and past president of Omagh Chamber of Commerce. He has been a member of the Governing Body of South West College since August 2011. Mr O’Hanlon does not currently hold any other public appointments.

10. Mr Michael Skuce was a senior officer in the Police Service of Northern Ireland until his retirement in November 2010. Prior to his retirement, he was the District Commander for the South West region for four years where he successfully implemented a significant change programme in delivering a new style of policing under the Patten Report. He has significant experience in leadership, change management and strategic and contingency planning.
He has been a member of the Governing Body of South West College since August 2011. Mr Skuce does not currently hold any other public appointments.

11. Mr Derek Weir is employed by Queen’s University of Belfast as Head of Legal Administration. He is an engineering graduate who has worked in several local manufacturing companies, in disciplines as varied as electronic components, medical devices and quarry equipment, before moving to the public sector where he has worked in Invest Northern Ireland and both local universities. He has been a member of the Governing Body of South West College since August 2011. Mr Weir does not currently hold any other public appointments.

12. All appointments are made on merit and political activity played no part in the selection process. However, the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland requires the political activity of appointees to be published. None of the eight governors have carried out any political activity in the past five years.