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Never too late for career change

Tuesday
16th June 2020

Liam McCarthy, who has just completed the first year of his four-year Electrical Installation programme at Northern Regional College in Ballymena, is proof that it is never too late for a career change. Liam is in his late thirties, married with a young daughter and has degree in Business Management from the Open University. Originally from Durham, by the time he moved to Northern Ireland to live in his wife’s hometown of Randalstown, he had travelled the world and was ready to settle down.

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A Ballymoney student’s passion for arts and crafts has developed into a thriving social media business during the COVID-19 pandemic. Savannah Corbett, who studies ICT at Northern Regional College’s Coleraine campus, has been keeping herself busy during lockdown by creating rainbow-themed bows and other hair accessories to show her support for NHS staff. Having always had a keen interest in arts and crafts, the former Loreto College pupil explained how what started out as a hobby has now turned into a small business venture.

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Most teenagers who achieve 11 GCSEs would be expected to go on to complete ‘A’ levels but the traditional route to university is not for everyone as former Northern Regional College student Rachel Gilmore can testify. Driven by her determination to qualify as a professional chef, Rachel decided to start from scratch and enrolled on a Level 1 Introduction to Professional Cookery course at College’s Ballymoney campus. She is now in the penultimate year of a Culinary Arts Management degree at the prestigious Westminster Kingsway College in London.

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Northern Regional College has confirmed that the relocation of its Coleraine campus to Beresford Avenue in the town later this year remains “on schedule”. The College is to move to the former St Joseph’s College premises while its new Union Street campus is built. The move is part of an £84 million capital investment programme, funded by the Department for the Economy, to develop new campuses on its current sites in Union Street, Coleraine and Farm Lodge, Ballymena.

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Business students at Northern Regional College are among the hundreds of young people who have been working at the frontline to deliver essential services during the COVID-19 crisis. While many students have been contributing to frontline efforts through caring roles in the community, hospitals and care homes, others have been providing essential frontline services in supermarkets in their local communities. One such student is Michael Kearney, who has just completed the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business Studies at the College’s Magherafelt campus. As part of his studies he participated in the Career Ready programme, a national charitable organisation which gives students real-life, industry skills and knowledge in preparation for the world of work.

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Two local chefs are partnering with Northern Regional College to promote hospitality as an attractive and rewarding career choice in Northern Ireland. Michael Caulfield is a part-time lecturer in Professional Cookery at Northern Regional College and proprietor of Caulfield & Dorrity Catering. He believes that despite the current lockdown restrictions and impact on his own business, there is still reason for the hospitality sector to be positive.

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