As students anxiously await GCSE results in the coming weeks, Downpatrick woman, Bronagh Morgan, mother of Niall, Dillon and Tiarnan, shares her experience of further education and how changing education route turned out to be the best course.
Bronagh said, “I have three sons, Niall, Dillon and Tiarnan. Following GCSEs, my eldest lad Niall did IT at South Eastern Regional College (SERC), knowing exactly that was what he wanted to do. Dillon, my second son was doing A levels but found it didn’t suit him. He didn’t know what he was he wanted to do, and he had no confidence. Knowing how well Niall got on at SERC, we made an appointment with the Careers Advisor at the College which was a real eye opener for us. Following that, Dillon met with tutors and decided to do a BTEC L3 Extended Diploma in Travel in Tourism. As he got further into the course his confidence grew and he blossomed. Family members were even saying how well he was doing and what a change there had been in him in six months.
“The lecturers went above and beyond for my son, more than I had ever come across before. The mentorship was amazing – his whole life changed. He was encouraged to further his skills and experience both inside and outside the College, doing Eurocamp and getting involved in Slieve Donard and The National Trust.
She continued, “If you want to be involved – and as parent I did want to be involved – the lecturing team will keep you involved. This allowed me to encourage my boys at home. I knew what was expected and what they had to do to successfully complete their programmes.
“Following the Travel and Tourism course, Dillon progressed to City & Guilds Level 4 Diploma in Principles of Hospitality Management which he loved. Dillon was mentored in filling in application forms and preparing for interviews. He was encouraged to apply for a one-year placement at the 5-star Ashford Castle, part of the internationally renowned Red Carnation group of hotels, a partnership negotiated by the Hospitality and Catering team at SERC. He was successful and commenced on first of July this year. He is looking forward to furthering his career in hospitality management at Ashford Castle where he will be meeting people from all over the world.
“I have every respect and am full of gratitude for the lecturers at SERC who have helped both of my sons on their education and career paths. My third son, Tiarnan, has decided to come to SERC in September and having seen how well his older brothers have done, I have every confidence that whatever guidance he gets, whatever course he decides to do, it will be suited to him.
Bronagh concluded, “If anybody is any doubt about where they should be sending their children, I can recommend SERC. Seeing the careers adviser there was the best thing we ever did, and that just followed through for everyone we met at SERC.
She added, “It seems to be run of the mill at SERC that all the lecturers are there to get the best out of their students.”
Open Days for Higher Education or Further Education Programmes including drop-in with careers advisors at SERC’s Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards Campuses:
Higher Education Open Days for students awaiting A level results - Thursday 15 August 9am-5pm and Friday 16 August from 9am-3pm when students can enrol on higher-level qualifications including HNCs, HNDs, Foundation Degrees, Higher Level Apprenticeships and Degree programmes.
Further Education Open Days for students awaiting GCSE results – Thursday 22 August 9am to 5pm on and Friday 23 August 9am to 3pm when students can enrol on courses including Apprenticeships, Diplomas and Extended Diplomas.
Careers Advisor Appointment - SERC careers advisors will be available by appointment from 9am-4pm on Monday 12 August to Wednesday 14 August, and again from Monday 19 August to Wednesday 21 August.