Council Chair hosts reception for South West College Confucius Hub tutors

13th May 2024

SWC Confucius Hub Tutors (16.04.24) (1)

Recently the Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, hosted a reception for South West College Confucius Hub tutors to acknowledge their work in delivering a successful Mandarin Chinese programme in local nursery, primary and post primary schools.

The following is the speech delivered by the Chair at the reception:

Ladies and Gentlemen

As Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, I am delighted to welcome you all here to The Townhall, Enniskillen for this event to acknowledge the work of the South West College Confucius Hub.

I would like to extend a particularly warm welcome to the tutors and Fey Cole, the Hub School Manager who have joined us today.

I understand South West College has been delivering Mandarin Chinese courses since the 2012-2013 academic year and it is the only Further Education College in the North of Ireland with Hub status.

As well as the Mandarin Chinese courses for the full time students, the College also delivers The Business Chinese Test to develop basic communications skills  for collaboration with Chinese businesses.

I was delighted to hear that the College also delivers a Mandarin Chinese project with our local nursery, primary and secondary schools.  Since the project we established, 30,000 pupils have participated in the project across all of the South West College catchment area.

I understand the schools participated in a variety of activities to learn and understand the Chinese language and culture.  The schools also compete in various competitions including Young Ambassador Award, Mandarin Speaking, Chinese Bridge and Chinese New Year posters.  I was delighted to learn that some of the schools have had many successes over the years with some travelling to UK finals in London.  This is testament to the high quality tuition being provided to the pupils.

The College has recognised the increased influence of China on the world economy and the global and multicultural society we live in.  By offering the Mandarin Chinese courses and this project, this opens opportunities to students and businesses in our District to advance their careers and business goals.

The Council has also recognised the potential opportunities that the Chinese market could deliver for the District and, in 2018, signed a Sister Cities agreement with Huangshi.  I am pleased that we are going to re-sign this agreement when the Mayor of Hunagshi visits the District at the end of April.

The Council is committed to ensuring that our District is a great place to live, work, visit and invest in and by exploring the potential opportunities within the Chinese market, we can achieve this.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the tutors and South West College for your work to celebrate and promote the Chinese language and creating opportunities for our young people and businesses.

We are joined today by representatives from some of the schools who participated in the project and I would also like to thank you for being involved and allowing the pupils to broaden their skills and knowledge.

I would like to wish South West College and the Confucius Hub every success for the future.

Thank you.