The scholarship aims to increase access to higher education for new students entering undergraduate education.
Attending St Mary’s Grammar School in Magherafelt until he completed his GCSEs, Sean, aged 19 said knew he wanted to complete an alternative route of study, but wasn’t sure what it was he wanted to specialise in.
“I attended Northern Regional College after completing my GCSEs with the intention of completing a course in Joinery. After six months I knew it wasn’t for me,” he said.
“Covid-19 presented an opportunity for me to reflect on my journey and what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to help people and considered changing to a course that reflected my interests.”
Sean then decided to explore his interests in psychology and sociology, applying to the Level 3 Health and Social Care course at the College’s Magherafelt campus.
“The course really interested me and challenged me. I loved it. I knew I wanted to complete a course that would focus on people and their emotions,” he explained.
Afterwards, Sean decided to apply to Ulster University’s Magee campus to study social work.
After being accepted onto the course, more news was to come, as Sean also was also awarded Ulster University’s Widening Access Community Scholarship.
When asked if he felt studying at Northern Regional College led to where he is today, Sean said: “One trillion percent. Without a doubt. The College has not only helped me in deciding what route I wanted to go down, it also taught me the basics of independent study which in itself has been vital.
“Social Work is a tough degree to study, but I now have the skills I developed at the College to assist me. My lecturers, Sharon McKenna-Baxter, Anita Stevenson and Eileen Quinn, were brilliant in helping me. They created a learning space that was so welcoming and comfortable and allowed all students who attended to thrive.”
While Sean studied at the College, he had opportunities to complete two block placements in his second year.
He graduated Northern Regional College with 2 Distinctions and a Distinction* and was accepted to study Social Work at Ulster University’s Magee campus.