Further education colleges are a valuable resource for local businesses to avail of. With a wealth of technical skills, equipment and industrial experience at its disposal, the Business Engagement Team at Northern Regional College is helping businesses access support for knowledge transfer, skills transfer and technology transfer programmes.
In addition to advertised accredited courses, the team also offers bespoke training which can be delivered in-person, online or through a combination of both.
One local company that has benefited from the Business Engagement Team’s expertise is DA Forgie.
DA Forgie is an established family-run business based in Limavady, with an additional depot in Lisburn.
The firm specialises in agriculture and ground care machinery, equipment and supplies and is the main dealer for many well-known brands, including Kubota, Honda, Merlo and Kverneland.
The company was able to access technical support and training to develop its eCommerce activities and the received support package was fully funded through the Department for the Economy’s InnovateUs programme, which allows businesses and FE colleges to work together on innovation activities.
Eoin McGahon, technical specialist at Northern Regional College, explained how the support delivered to DA Forgie focused on mentoring and upskilling staff so they could maximise e-commerce activities.
“The InnovateUs programme is tailored to meet the specific business needs of the company to allow them to introduce best practice to innovate and grow.
“The company recently launched a new website, so I delivered training on e-commerce and digital marketing activities.
“We looked how to use digital marketing channels to promote the website, as well as how to optimise the site itself with a view to increasing brand awareness, website traffic, online and phone enquiries and ultimately to grow online sales.”
Susan Forgie, who applied for the support, said the company developed a good working relationship with Northern Regional College and she was pleased with the level of support delivered through InnovateUS.
“We are a family run business and until recently we had focused more on conventional marketing tools,” she said.
“We realised though that we had to move with the times and embrace e-commerce if we were to grow the business.
“Thanks to InnovateUs, we now have a much better understanding of the potential of digital marketing and the importance of having a good presence on social media.
“While it is still a work in progress, I feel we are moving in the right direction.
“We have a growing presence online and with search engine optimisation and the right key works, are able to direct more traffic to the website which ultimately we hope will lead to more sales.”
Marie Donaghy, business engagement officer at Northern Regional College, said that DA Forgie was a good example of how local businesses can achieve real economic benefit from working with the college.
“Our industry experts can review and assess business processes to inform training requirements, help reduce costs, support product development and innovation approaches or review quality assurance processes,” she explained.
n To discover how the college’s Business Engagement Team can help your business grow, contact firstname.lastname@example.org