From education to employment

First Class Honours Student Melissa finds her Passion in Teaching

Melissa Woods, from Lack, a former student of South West College’s Omagh Campus, somewhat struggled to find her perfect career after leaving school.

Though she had great A-levels, Melissa realized that the Degree in Food Design and Nutrition she had enrolled on was not the right fit for her after all, leading her to take a gap year and join the workforce.

It was during this time that she discovered her passion for working with people and decided to pursue a programme in Health and Social Care at South West College. Melissa signed up for the Foundation Degree in Science in Health and Social Care, which offers a lot of flexibility and allows graduates to pursue multiple pathways, including allied health professions, nursing, and teaching making it ideal for those who are working out which career area that they want to specialise in.

Melissa found where her heart lay professionally while working as a Special and Additional Needs Assistant. With the previous experience she had built up in roles such as Childcare and Classroom Assistant, Melissa felt inspired to enter the teaching profession.

A key benefit to those considering working or studying within the Early Years sector is the ability to secure paid job roles alongside your Degree, building up experience and providing an income stream while studying.

Of her placements, Melissa says;

“Alongside my placement, I was offered the role as a one-to-one Special Needs Classroom Assistant. I embraced this opportunity and decided I wanted to expand my knowledge and experience in this area.”

Excelling academically, after completing her Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care, Melissa pursued a BSc (Hons) Health and Wellbeing at Ulster University, where she graduated with First Class Honours. It was during her placements in Early Years Education that Melissa realised her passion for teaching and decided to pursue a PGCE at Edge Hill University in Liverpool, where she is currently halfway through her course.

Melissa is enthusiastic about her future as an Early Years Teacher and is enjoying her PGCE course, which has allowed her to gain insight into teaching as a career. Looking back on her time at South West College, Melissa credits her peers’ supportive engagement and small class sizes for making her experience enjoyable and successful.

“On my PGCE course, I am halfway through my placement completion across four different settings between NI and Liverpool. I would consider this the most exciting and enjoyable part of the course as I can gain amazing insight into an array of teaching practices while educating lots of incredible children within various key stages.”

Speaking about her time at South West College, Melissa offers her experience to others:

“I had a great experience on my Foundation Degree. Due to our smaller class size, my peers and I got along really well and we were very supportive in helping each other with anything we weren’t sure about. This engagement was key to my enjoyment of the course.”

We are delighted to hear of Melissa’s academic success and wish her every success in the future. If you, or you know of someone, currently studying a Degree pathway that isn’t quite the right fit, then come along to chat to us about studying the Foundation Degree in Health and Social Care. This is a door-opening course to many careers, and our previous graduates stories will help inspire you.

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