Northern Ireland news

Head of Southern Regional College, Brian Doran, retires after 30 years of dedicated service to education

Brian Doran, pictured with Peter Murray, at the Greater Newry Area Awards in June when he was named as ‘Outstanding Contributor'
Suzanne McGonagle Education Reporter

A champion of lifelong learning, Brian Doran has dedicated more than three decades of his life to education.

Regarded as being "instrumental in growing" Southern Regional College (SRC) into one of the largest education providers in Northern Ireland, he recently stepped down from his role as principal and chief executive.

Marking his retirement with a special event at its Newry campus, SRC said Mr Doran was "passionate about lifelong learning and the college’s ethos of ‘Putting the Learner First’."

"Despite the massive remit, Brian has ensured the college has remained accessible to all," the college said.

"Brian has been vocal in ensuring those with learning difficulties and special needs remain supported and have a route to continue with education after secondary school."

Beginning his career as a physics teacher at Abbey Grammar School in Newry, he moved to the further education sector shortly after in 1988 where he progressed to the position of director of curriculum in Newry and Kilkeel Institute.

He was appointed to the head role at SRC in 2008.

From taking office, Mr Doran led the growth of the college with around 10,000 students enrolled annually.

Since his tenure began, over 437,510 students have enrolled.

Read more:

Brian Doran: Short-term cuts will lead to long-term pain

HIGH FLYERS: Brian rides to the help of next generation of entrepreneurs

A reset on advancement of skilled learning needed when transforming education system

Reflecting on his work, particularly at SRC where he spent 15 years at the helm, Mr Doran said "it has been an honour and a privilege".

"Having spent the last 35 years working in Further Education, I can confidently say that the role that our FE colleges now play as the skills engines of our local economy and in transforming the lives of so many is truly astounding," he said.

Brian Doran, right, pictured in April with Ben Blackledge and Dr Thomas Moore to celebrate SRC being named the top performing college at WorldSkills UK


"I have great memories of the shared times, friendships forged, and the incredible successes we have enjoyed over the years and I wish Raymond and college staff continued success in the future."

Raymond Sloan, who has taken over the role, said he is "inspired by the incredible legacy that Brian Doran has built over more than 30 years of dedicated service".

"His commitment to excellence, innovation, and student success has guided Southern Regional College in becoming a place of knowledge and opportunity for all," he said.

"Brian has been instrumental to the advancement of the college and his tenure has seen many significant achievements, including leading Southern Regional College to become the top performing College in the UK in WorldSkills UK 2022, as well as overseeing the delivery of our two new campuses at Armagh and Banbridge.

"His leadership has not only elevated the college's reputation but has also shaped countless lives.

"It is an honour that I am now in a position to build upon the solid foundation he has established."

Mr Doran dedicated more than three decades of his life to education

With retirement commencing, Mr Doran is set to spend more time working on his leisure activities.

Having dabbled with cycling over the years including leading the FE cycle last year, which saw him visit college campuses across Northern Ireland to raise awareness and funds for the Air Ambulance charity, he is now set to work on his golf swing.

Northern Ireland news