New career a step closer with college’s help

Dawn Harrison is a step closer to a new career as a counsellor.
Dawn Harrison is a step closer to a new career as a counsellor.

Whatever your learning or career goals may be, Northern Regional College (NRC) has a course for you.

With hundreds of full-time and part-time accredited courses on offer - from entry right up to degree and foundation degree level – there are plenty of options at the college’s campuses in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey.

Dr Laura Firth, head of Student Experience at NRC, said: “Northern Regional College is an attractive alternative for anyone who’d like to stay local to study. The college offers smaller class sizes in comparison to traditional university lectures and students have weekly support via group tutorials or one to one sessions if needed.

“Having a recognised qualification can improve your career prospects but if you’re not sure what course to do, the college’s professional careers advisors will help you choose what is right for you.”

The college, in association with other education partners and professional bodies, has introduced a number of new courses this year, given prospective students even greater choice when it comes to getting a nationally accredited qualification.

In addition to the wide range of foundation degree programmes validated by Ulster University, it is now offering a full time foundation degree in Early Childhood Studies at both its Trostan Avenue and Newtownabbey campuses. On successful completion, students can progress to the second year of the BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies course at Stranmillis University College.

New for the 2018-19 academic year is the BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care at the college’s Newtownabbey campus, which will be delivered in partnership with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT).

One of the many mature students to benefit from the flexible learning options available at NRC is Carrickfergus woman, Dawn Harrison. Having returned to college in her 50s, she is now a step closer to a new career as a counsellor.

Last year, she completed an access diploma in Social Sciences and Creative Arts at the Newtownabbey campus. She graduated with distinction, which gave her the entry requirements to do a foundation degree in counselling.

Having left school at 16 and trained as a hairdresser, Dawn says the access diploma helped change her life by giving her the opportunity to train as a counsellor.

“I did a part time counselling course at the college a few years ago and although I did well, I couldn’t go any further because I didn’t have any formal qualifications. The access diploma was my stepping stone and meant I could go on to do a foundation degree.”

NRC offers a wide range of courses including different vocational areas such as Construction, Engineering, Sport, Health & Social Care, Counselling, Computing and Business.

You will find details of all the courses offered on but if you are undecided and still trying to figure out what to do next, the college’s team of professional careers advisors are available on enrolment days, which will be held at all campuses on Thursday, August 16 (HE) and Thursday, August 23 (FE/Training/Apprenticeships), 9.00am – 7.00pm.