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If you’re at a crossroads and unsure what to do after your GCSE results, you could follow the lead of Northern Regional College student, Ryan McAuley (17). After leaving St Colm’s High School in Draperstown, Ryan decided to do a two year BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Childcare at the College’s Magherafelt campus, which is the equivalent of 3 A levels.

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With GSCE results out this week, Northern Regional College student president Kate Linden has a timely word of advice to young people who are unsure about what their next step should be. “There is a lot of support available to help you make good choices so talk to the right people to find out what is available and then do something that you’re really interested in.“ Kate is now midway through BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Travel and Tourism – the equivalent of 3 A levels - at the College’s Coleraine campus. She has thoroughly enjoyed her College experience and is now looking forward to a busy year ahead as she juggles coursework with her new role as student president.

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As one door closes, another is opening for Northern Regional College student, William Wilkinson from Ballymena. Following the shock announcement in October 2014 that JTI Gallaher’s factory was to close, William decided to retrain and work towards a career in accountancy. He has now reached the first major milestone on that journey by coming third overall in the prestigious Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) 2017 summer exams.

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Unlike hundreds of students who were anxiously awaiting A level results this month, Northern Regional College student Chad Horner had his route to university already mapped out. Chad completed a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care at the College’s Newtownabbey campus to lay a solid foundation for a successful career in nursing.

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Having originally planned to study Accountancy at university, Grant Abernethy, opted for the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme at Northern Regional College. Now well on his way to becoming a Chartered Accountant, he says it was one of his best decisions ever. After successfully completing year two of the HLA programme, which included two year’s paid work experience with Coleraine’s accountants, Moore Stephens, Grant’s contract has been extended and he is still working with the firm.

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Stephen McCartney, Head of Student Services at Northern Regional College, has been elected to the Chairmanship of the Board of the National Association of Student Money Advisers, NASMA. The organisation is recognised as the leading UK authority on all matters relating to student advice and funding in Universities and Colleges of Higher and Further Education. NASMA’s remit is to relieve the poverty of students through the provision of advice, information and training for professionals delivering student money advice.

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