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NWRC partnership with Council for the Foyle Maritime Festival

16 July 2018

Derry City and Strabane District Council has welcomed news that the North West Regional College has come on board as a sponsor for a range activities during the Foyle Maritime Festival that is taking place across the city this week 14-22 July.

The partnership arrangement sees the North West Regional College oversee the volunteer programme which will see them provide world host training to volunteers in addition to a range of support services throughout the festival.

Last month the Council put out a call for volunteers to help with the festival and are delighted with the response to date having received over 60 applications of which 40 have been successful. The announcement by the North West Regional College that they are to provide the volunteer package as part of the festival is a huge coup for the festival organisers as well as the volunteers.

Aisling McCallion, Festival and Events Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council who was is co-ordinating the volunteer programme explained; “Having World Host trained volunteers working at our festival is fantastic for the volunteers in that it will allow them to receive accredited training that will add to their CV and their experience. This training is also really good for the Council’s festival team in that it provides us with an enhanced and quality trained bank of people to work at its events including Halloween, the St Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival and the City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.”

Kathleen McCaul, Head of Department for Business, Hospitality and Tourism, North West Regional College, commented:

“We are delighted to have delivered this high-quality accredited customer service training to all of the volunteers who will be participating in such a prestigious civic event, and we are confident the skills and competencies they have gained as a result can provide a very warm welcome and enjoyable visitor experience to the thousands of people who will visit the Foyle Maritime festival throughout the week.”

While the posts are unpaid, there are a range of benefits such as food allowance, a crew uniform, a volunteer recognition event and a World Host training certificate. The volunteers will be out and about over the festival helping the public by offering advice and information on the festival.

The North West Regional College is also taking a very proactive role in the Driftwood Canoe Club’s audacious plans to build a canoe inside one week.The canoe club, in association with the College and the Loughs Agency, are attempting to build the strip wood Canadian canoe along Derry Quay as part of the celebrations for the 2018 Foyle Maritime Festival.

The club’s fleet of four canoes took nine months each for their expert team of boat builders to complete but they will have just 80 hours to complete their mammoth challenge later this month before bringing the newly built vessel out onto the water.

During the festival, members of the public will have the chance to see one of the boats for themselves, meet the club members and learn more about how they could get involved in the challenge themselves by making seats or paddles.

The project is a great way of showcasing the wide range of skills training currently available at the College and also saw a small group of students taking part in a personnel and social development qualification by building small flower boats that are currently displayed along the riverfront at the Council offices on Strand Road.

John Cartin, Deputy Head of Department for Training and Skills at North West Regional College commented:

“We are delighted to be supporting Derry City & Strabane District Council with their 2018 Maritime Festival, particularly through our unique partnership with Driftwood Canoe Club and the Build a Boat in a Week Challenge. The project sees a small group of students undertake a personnel & social development qualification by building flower small boats and showcasing these at key civic events which include the Strabane Summer Jamm, Walled City Market and culminating with the Clipper Week in assisting Driftwood members building a full-size Canadian Canoe. 

The boat building partnership has evolved over the past number of years at our Springtown Campus as a small night class and struck such a chord with the students, and from this Driftwood Canoe Club was established. We have since begun to integrate projects such as this into our apprenticeship programmes across our College as we recognise the sense of achievement & pride that students can get from working on live community based projects such as this. We believe projects such as this are key in our curriculum development going forward especially developing the links with industry and wider community.”


The Foyle Maritime Festival celebrations are in full swing since the weekend and will continue throughout the week until Sunday July 22nd with a wide array of activities on land and water. The main highlight of the festival will be the Showcase Voyages and Parade of Light event on the Friday night, June 20th which will be a spectacular outdoor finale event on the Foyle from 9 pm to 11pm, before the fleet depart in a magnificent Parade of Sail on Sunday 22 July at 1pm.

The Foyle Maritime Festival is brought to you by Derry City and Strabane District Council with the support of Tourism Northern Ireland, Foyle Port, Loughs Agency, DuPont Kevlar, Diageo, NW Regional College and Translink.

For further information on the Foyle Maritime Festival and a full programme of events visit www.foylemaritimefestival.com or you can follow us on Facebook at  www.facebook.com/foylemaritimefestival  and on Twitter @Foylemaritime