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Apprentices putting theory into practice following graduation

Two friends from Larne have graduated from Northern Regional College, full of praise for the time they spent there.

Larne duo and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering students Brad Smyth and James Burns studied a Foundation Degree at the College’s Ballymena campus.

When discussing what they thought of their time at the College, both enjoyed their time there, with James describing it as “nothing short of fantastic”.

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James said: “The course really ticked all the boxes for me. I wanted something that was hands-on and practical whilst balancing the theoretical aspects I would learn in the classroom.

Larne friends and Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering students Brad Smyth (left) and James Burns (right) have graduated from Northern Regional College.

“The course really exceeded all my expectations.”

Brad concurred with his friend, stating: “The course also helped me in deciding what my next steps would be,” he said. “I am now undertaking an apprenticeship with ATC Systems in Mallusk, which in itself is another great option for those who don’t feel that progressing straight to university is for them. Personally, I’ve really valued being able to gain work experience whilst studying.”

James also plans to continue working at his employer, fitness equipment manufacturer BLK BOX. After completing his apprenticeship there, James was subsequently offered a full-time role at the firm.

He said: “An apprenticeship allows students to put into action what they have just learned immediately and see the knowledge behind the theory in practice.

“I have graduated feeling completely prepared for the world of work as it’s been just an integral part of my learning experience.”