The first of the annual ceremonies took place on Friday 4 September and marked the eighth year Belfast Waterfront has staged SERC’s graduation celebrations. A congregation of more than 1300 people gathered in the venue’s stunning 2,000-seat auditorium to celebrate the efforts and academic achievements of ‘Class of 2014
SERC isn’t the only local education institution to host their graduations at Northern Ireland’s only purpose built conference centre. Belfast Waterfront’s wide range of flexible space lends itself to graduation celebrations for 2,000+, attracting leading institutions such as University of Ulster and The Open University. Indeed the University of Ulster sees up to 11,000 students and guests attend its Summer Graduation ceremonies in the venue each year.
Managing graduation celebrations requires a unique approach and skill set. With the Waterfront’s breath of experience clients can enjoy a stress free event. They cite the generous event space and the accommodating nature of the Belfast Waterfront team as key to making the event truly successful, time after time.
From the sales team finalising the contract right through to front line staff addressing student queries on the day, the service is consistent and outstanding. At Belfast Waterfront it’s all about the client. Even during the ceremonies, any last minute changes are promptly addressed by staff, allowing the client to focus solely on their duties.
Muriel Tafts, Head of Communications at South Eastern Regional College, said: “We have worked with Belfast Waterfront for a number of years and have always found them very professional. They are very efficient to deal with and their attention to detail is exemplary. Their professional approach coupled with a great understanding of the logistics required for a successful graduation has helped contribute to an excellent working relationship. Their commitment and enthusiasm is outstanding, and makes it a real pleasure to do business with them.”
This sentiment was echoed by John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University: “The Open University has hosted its Northern Ireland degree ceremonies at the Waterfront since 1999. The Waterfront is the perfect venue for our students and their families to enjoy their special day – especially with its fantastic views over Belfast. The staff at the Waterfront always ensure the day runs smoothly for our students and their guests and the auditorium provides the perfect setting for our degree ceremony. An added benefit is that the Waterfront is within walking distance of our Northern Ireland headquarters.”
Today the venue can accommodate a diverse range of requirements with ease, including: gown hire, photography, catering, securing of certificates and housing the platform party plus VIPs, to name just a few. With an additional 4,000m2 expansion coming in 2016 clients will be spoilt with choice when selecting spaces for future events.
Ruth Wasson, Director of Student Administration at University of Ulster, is already working on plans for Summer Graduations 2016 and 2017, commented: “Our relationship with the team at Belfast Waterfront has been fantastic. Everyone knows their role and together they make a formidable team. I couldn’t deliver this project without having the support of such a dedicated team. No matter what I ask for, nothing is too much. I wouldn’t go anywhere else and look forward to bringing the Summer Graduations 2016 and 2017 to the new world class conference centre.”