Student Governor Clara Helps 'Give a Voice' to Students at South West College

Student Governor Clara Helps 'Give a Voice' to Students at South West College
February, 2021

Student Governor Student Governor Clara Jane Whitley, from Monea, Derrygonnelly, has been passionate about the student voice at South West College ever since she first enrolled in 2018. Clara, who studies a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design in Enniskillen, first embarked on her journey in student representation by becoming a class representative in 2018, before eventually being nominated by her peers for the Student Governor position in October 2020. 

Clara was successfully appointed Student Governor after a student election for one-year and will represent all SWC students across the four campuses in Cookstown, Dungannon, Enniskillen and Omagh.  Clara said: "I first found out about Student Governor when my tutor mentioned it to me. I had already been a class representative for two years, so I was interested in taking on a new role with more responsibility." 


“As Student Governor, I play a crucial role in the South West College’s development by helping voice the student opinions to the Board of Governors and a wide range of committees. I ensure that everything the College does reflects the view of its students. I’ve learned a lot in the role. You don't have to know everything at first to be Student Governor, and I didn't know a lot about politics, but I believed in things that I thought could make the student experience better, and it’s been very rewarding so far." 


Clara is continuing to move forward with her role and is trying to interact with her peers as much as possible, despite lockdown restrictions. Clara said, "Right now, I am trying to set up a social media platform where students can voice their opinion to me so that I can bring it forward to fruition. There is a SWC Student Union Facebook page which current or prospective students can check out or get involved with.”  


When Clara finishes College, she hopes to go onto University to study Fashion Communication and embark on a career as a fashion photographer. She says her role as Student Governor has been a highlight of an overall enjoyable time at South West College.  


"My experience at SWC has been so refreshing, it's a completely different environment to secondary school. At SWC, you are treated as an adult, and it's so nice to have that freedom. The college is brilliant at dealing with topics such as the LGBTQ+ community; the Health Clinics are free; and the mental health services they offer are exceptional. SWC is the best option for anyone looking at further education. I couldn't recommend it enough." 


“Being Student Governor is a great thing to have on my UCAS application; it really stands out. On a personal level, it developed my skills base, taught me to voice my opinion and be able to talk in front of people more confidently." 


The role of Student Governor is one that South West College encourages and cherishes. Student Support Manager, Sharon Pritchard said, “our Student Governor is an important link between the College and the Student Body. This is a unique platform for students to work with the Board of Governors in shaping the strategic direction of SWC. We value this role and see how it can be beneficial to both staff and students.” 


For further information and advice, please visit our Further Education and Apprenticeship virtual open days from 22-24 February, 5:30pm-6:30pm. To register for the virtual events please visit