OCN Announces 2024 Awards Shortlist

OPEN COLLEGE NETWORK Northern Ireland (OCN) has revealed the shortlist for its sixth Learning Endeavour Awards, which will take place at the iconic Titanic Belfast on Tue 25th June 2024.

OCN is an educational charity and awarding body that advances education by developing qualifications for adults and young people throughout NI.

The awards shortlist includes nominees from all over Northern Ireland and covers eight categories: Third Sector Learner of the YearFurther Education Learner of the YearHealth and Wellbeing Learner of the YearSchools Learner of the Year, Advancing Learning Through Innovation, Essential Skills Learner of the YearProvider of the Year,  Inspiring Tutor/Teacher of the Year and new for 2024, we have added the additional category – Traineeship/Apprenticeship Learner of the Year – to reflect the growing importance of this segment of learning.

This year has seen OCN’s best ever entry response since the awards were introduced five years ago, explained Martin Flynn, Chief Executive of OCN: “Judging took a little longer this year due to the sheer volume of nominations, but we are very happy to reveal the shortlist for the 2024 Learning Endeavour Awards.

“These awards celebrate the dedication, hard work, and outstanding achievements of our learners and the invaluable support provided by our centres. The shortlisted learners and organisations reflect educational excellence in Northern Ireland and their commitment to lifelong learning. Congratulations to all those who have been shortlisted – your passion and perseverance are truly inspiring, and we look forward to celebrating your accomplishments at the awards ceremony.”

The shortlists for the Learning Endeavour Awards 2024 are as follows.

Further Education Learner of the Year

Aron Parke, Northern Regional College

Ben McCarroll, People 1st Ormeau

Daniel McCann, South Eastern Regional College

Matthew Brennan, South Eastern Regional College

Preston Galbraith-Kelly, South Eastern Regional College

Susan O’Neill, College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)

Third Sector Learner of the Year

Charlene McArdle, Action Mental Health – New Horizons Newry

Nathan Hall, Bryson Energy

Darren O’Neill, Habitat for Humanity Ireland

Nicolle Smith, Orchardville

Luke Jennings, Start360

Jason McClean, Start360


Health & Well-being Learner of the Year

Christine Chambers, Action Mental Health

Darren O’Neill, Habitat for Humanity Ireland

Clare Bowman, Poleglass Community Association @ Sally Gardens

Jisani Dos Santos Da Costa, St John the Baptist’s College

Luke Jennings, Start360

Jason McClean, Start360


Schools Learner of the Year

Stephen Andrews, St. Malachy’s High School Castlewellan

Danielle Hegarty, St Louise’s College, Belfast

Emma Higgins, St. Louise’s Comprehensive College

Hannah Kerr, Brownlow Integrated College

Fiona McAlinden, St Brigid’s College

David Newman, Lough Road Learning Centre (EOTAS)


Inspiring Tutor/Teacher of the Year

Caoimhe O’Connell, Oh Yeah Music Centre

Kerry Treanor, Clanrye Group

Matt Robinson, Habitat for Humanity Ireland

Paul Mercer, South Eastern Regional College

Samuel Mullan, Connected Health/Connected Academy

Siobhan McEldowney, Northern Regional College

Essential Skills Learner of the Year

Chloe Neilson, Network Personnel Ltd

Daniel Fleming, People 1st

David White, People 1st Lisburn

Dylan Cressey, South Eastern Regional College

Mantvydas Kizauskas, People 1st Lisburn

Matthew Wiggins, Ashfield Boys High School


Traineeship/Apprenticeship Learner of the Year

Jack Evans, South West College

Jake Wilson, People 1st

James Curry, South Eastern Regional College

Megan Moore, North West Regional College

Ryan Phelan, North West Regional College

Tom Brett, South Eastern Regional College


Advancing Learning Through Innovation

Belfast Met

Marion Centre of Excellence CIC

Northern Regional College

South Eastern Regional College (Energy and Renewable Team)

South Eastern Regional College (Hospitality and Culinary Arts School)



Provider of the Year

Belfast Met Supported Learning

Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum

Habitat for Humanity Ireland


Northern Regional College


The OCN NI Learning Endeavour Awards 2024 will take place at Titanic Belfast on Tues 25th June – click here for further information https://ocnni.org.uk/learner-awards

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