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Carrick mum graduates with distinction


Female student

A young mother from Carrickfergus is on course to fulfil her ambition of becoming a nurse after completing an Access to University Diploma at Northern Regional College. Clare Scallon graduated with Distinction at the College’s Higher Education (HE) graduation ceremony this week and is about to embark on the next stage of her journey to qualify as a nurse. She has accepted a place on the Children and Young People’s Nursing degree at Queen’s University Belfast and starts in February 2021.

Since leaving school, Clare has worked in a caring role, initially as a care assistant in a nursing home and more recently as a support worker in a residential care facility for people with learning disabilities.

She explained that although she had always hoped to study nursing, she put her plans on hold until the youngest of her two sons, now aged 10 and 6 years, had started school.

Although the Access course offered her a route to getting into university, Clare admits that it was a big step to take.

“Starting the Access course was nerve-racking and I did have a few wobbles along the way, but I got there in the end. I couldn't have done it though without the support of all the lecturers and other students in the class. We were a very close-knit group and were all really supportive of each other,” she explained.

Throughout her two years at the College, Clare was able to successfully juggle her studies with work and family commitments.

“I tried to get as much as possible done when the boys were at school or in bed and I worked a lot at weekends. Fortunately, I had all my coursework completed before the ‘lockdown’ in March so I didn’t have to add home schooling to the mix!” Claire said.

Clare added that she had already recommended the Access course to some colleagues.

“Many of the people working in a residential care homes and nursing homes are very experienced, dedicated and hardworking but they can’t progress professionally without relevant qualifications. This course will help them get those qualifications.”

Congratulating Clare on her success, course co-ordinator Janette Firth said: Clare is a lovely person who will make a wonderful, hardworking nurse, her determination and commitment to following her dream got her to where she is now, and we couldn’t be prouder!  We wish her every success for her future career.”

The Access Diploma in Social Sciences, which is validated by Ulster University, is a two year part-time course and is offered at the College’s campuses in Ballymena, Coleraine, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey. Students study Psychology, Sociology, Maths and English as well as optional modules which include: Social Policy, Anatomy &Physiology, Research, Statistical Research and ICT, e-Business and Applied ICT. It is recognised as a progression route to a wide range of HNC/ HND/ Foundation degree and degree courses including nursing, teaching, social work, sociology, psychology, social policy, criminology.