Tyrone student’s career dream comes true

Having always aspired to become a vet, Emily Parkes is now making her dream a reality by studying Veterinary Medicine at the University of Nottingham.

Initially, the Tyrone woman did not get the A-Level grades her degree course required, but undeterred by the setback she was able to get back on track, joining South West College’s Applied Science course and achieving a triple distinction star grade.

While studying Biology, Chemistry and Sports A-Levels, Emily found that the school learning environment was not a good fit for her, and this experience impacted her final grades.

Consequently, Emily did not get the grades required to progress into Higher Education veterinary studies, which left her disheartened. The Dungannon woman began to doubt her ability and career choice.

She said: “I was told I was not the candidate for this career, so with that being said, I decided to give up on my dreams and start looking for another career. I suddenly realised that I would need more qualifications and decided to focus on Science, my strong point.”

Believing she could achieve more, she decided to explore alternative A-Level pathways and visited a South West College Open Day.

She was amazed at the wide range of post 16 courses available and was delighted to discover they are considered as valuable as three A-Levels.

After speaking with the tutors, Emily felt encouraged and enrolled at the South West College, Dungannon Campus, studying a two-year Level 3 Extended Diploma in Applied Science, one of the broadest based science diplomas available.

As such, it leads to many different higher education career paths, including, Biomedical, Nursing, Psychology, Nutrition, Environmental, Criminology and Veterinary. This alternative pathway was perfect for Emily and unexpectedly opened the door to a whole new inspirational way of learning.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at South West College and would do it again in a heartbeat. I mainly enjoyed the freedom that came with attending this college, from being trusted to be independent and being able to complete your assignments at your own pace and not get overwhelmed. Furthermore, the learning style was perfect as it was all coursework based so there was no pressure of exams lurking over you, which enabled me to keep track of my progress.”

Emily found the Applied Science course exciting and welcomed the invaluable support she received from her tutors, which she believes aided self-belief and enabled her to conquer her career goals.