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South West College chief Michael McAlister retires ahead of £30m campus launch


South West College Chief Exeutive Michael McAlister to retire. July 1, 2021

South West College Chief Exeutive Michael McAlister to retire. July 1, 2021

South West College Chief Exeutive Michael McAlister to retire. July 1, 2021

The chief executive of South West College is retiring from his position, weeks before the opening of a new £30m campus in Enniskillen.

Michael McAlister, appointed to the role in September 2017, announced his decision in a short letter to governors.

It ends a 34-year association with the college.

He wrote: “This is a short notice to advise that I have decided to retire from South West College. I have advised the Governing Body of my decision, at the end of year meeting this evening (Wednesday, June 30).

“It has been a great privilege to work in South West College and to see at first hand the many outstanding achievements of staff and students over the past 34 years.

“I consider it an honour to have worked closely with so many of you but will now be watching your future success from afar.

“It’s now 40 years (1981) since I took my first technical drawing class in Magherafelt College as a student teacher.

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“Lots of things have changed in that time but the passion and commitment of our staff has not diminished and the future of further education is certainly in good hands.

“I will be around for a period of time until my successor is appointed.

“In the meantime I wish you a great summer and lots of rest and relaxation in advance of the 2021/22 academic year.”

Mr McAlister has been chief executive of South West College since September 2017.

He joined the further education sector in 1987 as a lecturer in built environment and since then has held senior roles within South West College, and the former Omagh College, including deputy chief executive, deputy director for curriculum and business development and head of technology department.

South West College educates over 14,000 students across campuses in Enniskillen, Cookstown and Omagh.

The new four-storey Enniskillen base, fully funded by the Department for the Economy, is set to accommodate more than 800 full-time students, 2,000 part-time students and 120 staff when it opens in September 2021.

Nicholas O’Shiel, Chair of the Governing Body at South West College said: “On behalf of the Governing Body, management and staff of the College, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Michael McAlister, principal and chief executive, every good wish in his retirement.

“We are very grateful to Michael for his tremendous commitment, hard work and dedication to staff, students and the whole Further Education sector over many years.

“Michael played a crucial role in working with other Colleges, organisations and the Department of the Economy in promoting the benefits of further education to generations of young people across Northern Ireland.

“I would like to take this opportunity to record our appreciation and thanks to Michael for his contribution to the College and wish him a very happy retirement.

“The recruitment process to find a new principal and chief executive to lead the college in the future will now begin.”

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