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Northern Regional College Provides Progression Pathway for mature student


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Among the thousands of students who received their GSCE results last month was Konrad Buras, a mature student from Poland who studied English at Northern Regional College. Having lived in Northern Ireland for the past 17 years, Konrad speaks English fluently, but he realised he would need GCSE English to achieve his goal of going to university.

He did GCSE English as a night class in Larne as well as a part-time HNC in Construction and the Built Environment at the College in Ballymena.

Before emigrating to Northern Ireland, Konrad studied A-level Polish, English, Maths and Geography in Poland. He hopes these additional qualifications will help his future career progression.

Six years ago, Konrad, who is now married and lives in Ballyclare with his Polish born wife Anita and their young son Nathan, obtained UK citizenship.

Konrad said studying part-time while working full-time at IFS Global Logistics in Carrickfergus, is a big commitment, but is worth it.

“The HNC was a full day of classes on Tuesdays and the GSCE English class was on Wednesday evenings so it was challenging juggling work, study, and family commitments but I never regretted my decision to go back to school,” he said.

“Before committing to the course, I talked it over with my wife and she was supportive. She understands that I wanted to do the courses so that I can provide for a better future for all of us.

“It is also a good way to set an example for my son so he can see how hard work can help you achieve goals.”

Konrad added that going back to school had boosted his confidence.

“The lecturers at the College are great and have an open-minded individual approach to their students,” he said.

“They helped me realise that, even though I had left school 20 years ago, I could still do it. I was shown different ways to look at obstacles and how to overcome them.

“I am really grateful for how they go the extra mile to support their students to make sure that they get the most out of their time at the College.” 

He said part-time study is a good progression pathway as the qualifications, GCSE English and HNC Construction and the Built Environment, will allow him to apply for university.

Konrad is considering his options before deciding what course to do next but is leaning towards something in the construction sector.

Having enjoyed his studies at Northern Regional College, Konrad would encourage others to apply.

“Going back to College as a mature student really boosted my confidence,” he said.

“I enjoyed meeting the other students and working on the assignments helped me to concentrate on my grammar.

“It is great to have these qualifications on my CV and hopefully they will help open doors for me in the future.”

Congratulating Konrad on achieving his GCSE English, Essential Skills lecturer, Ann Woods said: “It is always great to have students from diverse backgrounds, with a variety of education and life experiences.

“Konrad was a very determined and hard working student who was a real asset to the class. I am so pleased that all his hard work paid off with a great result at GCSE.”

Northern Regional Colleges offers GSCE classes in English, Maths and Biology.