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Professional Development Opportunities at Northern Regional College


Female in scrubs

College Open Days are not just for school-leavers as local nurse Hanan Billingsley has discovered. Although she has more than 10 years’ nursing experience under her belt, Hanan said she knows she made the right decision to return to education when she enrolled on a professionally accredited leadership course at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus.

Hanan has worked in a variety of health and social care settings, ranging from care of the elderly and dementia patients to forensic maximum secure settings, but in the longer term she would like to step up to a management role within the Trust or the private sector and felt the Level 5 qualification would help with her career progression.

She explains why the Leadership for Health and Health and Social Care Services Level 5 Diploma at the College’s Newtownabbey campus stood out for her:

“The advice and pre-entry information from Northern Regional College was very informative and went far beyond that of other training organisations that offer the same course,” she said, adding that she had been “very impressed” by the expertise and knowledge of College staff.

“I started the course last September in the middle of the pandemic and, while we are still very much living and working in unprecedented times, the course content, online delivery and ongoing support from lecturers have always been excellent. This course has really opened my eyes up to different roles within health and social care," Hanan continued.

Hanan said that the course director, Jacqui McAllister and course assessor, Siobhan McEldowney had both been truly inspiring and insightful.

“They made us feel respected and valued and, while they didn’t ‘sugar coat’ the reality of leadership roles in health and social care at the present difficult time, they encouraged us all to believe that if we stay strong, we will be able to work through this together.

“I would like to be on campus but understand this isn’t possible because of the pandemic. However, the team has been most supportive, and, thanks to their help, I have become more confident at engaging online.”

While completing her studies, Hanan has continued nursing. As a frontline healthcare worker, she recently received the Covid-19 vaccination which she said will allow her to continue doing what she does best.

“From the outset I felt confident that I had made the right choice to study at Northern Regional College as the expertise and knowledge pre course entry was far beyond those of other training organisations that run the course.

Course Director, Jacqui McAllister said she and her colleagues were most impressed by the way students like Hanan had managed to balance their studies with their work and family commitments.   

“We are very proud of their resilience and ability to cope with online learning while working on the front line as future leaders and managers during this very challenging time for everyone in the health and social care sector.”

If Hanan’s story has inspired you, register here to receive an email reminder and direct link to the College’s virtual Open Day on Monday March to access information and videos of specific courses, as well as advice on student finance and education support. You will also be able to speak to members of the College’s careers team through ‘live chat’.