From education to employment

New midwife grateful to South West College for kick-starting her career ambitions

Further Education and vocational training has had a long history in the education system in Northern Ireland, helping individuals to gain the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career.

As part of Colleges Week which takes place from 17-21 October 2022 local people have shared their stories of how Further Education has helped them train for their career, get promoted, retrain in a new career, and get back into education to further their ambitions.

South West College is using Colleges Week to shine a light on the achievements of students and the great work that the Colleges do throughout the province.

Claire Moxon from Ballygawley, studied the Ulster University Access Diploma in Social Sciences at South West College Dungannon campus.

She was a high academic achiever and picked up 9 GCSE grades ranging from Grade A to C. However, she left school at 18 without sitting A Levels and chose not to continue with education at that time.

Claire worked in retail for the next 12 years before taking a break to raise her two young children.

To return to education was important to her but a key factor was that the course was local so Dungannon was the ideal location for her. The flexibility of studying part time over a two-year duration was a key factor in her decision to enrol at SWC to balance study with raising a young family.

After being a little apprehensive about returning as a mature student, Claire was pleasantly surprised about returning to education at SWC:

“I had thought I would stick out like a sore thumb at my age but that wasn’t the case. From my first contact with South West College, everyone was extremely helpful and approachable.”

Claire spoke highly of her experience of studying at the college:

“After being out of education for over 20 years, I found that I really enjoyed gaining new knowledge, especially learning how to write an academic piece of work. It would have been very easy to feel overwhelmed given the volume of work required and the fact I was a bit rusty in terms of IT skills; but the tutors were always on hand to assist wherever they could and support me in the learning journey. The most significant thing I learned was time management skills: focus on what you are doing and what you want to achieve!”

Claire’s ambition was to apply to Queen’s University in Belfast to study midwifery and at the time of writing, she has achieved that ambition with flying colours achieving with a First Class Honours whilst awaiting her registration to come through to take up her first post in the maternity ward at Craigavon Area Hospital.

Her dream career wouldn’t have come about without studying at SWC:

“Undoubtedly South West College helped me achieve this. Without undertaking the Access Diploma, I would not have had the qualifications I needed to get into Queens.”

Claire’s new career path in midwifery is one she is keen to progress in and aims to study further in the future after seeing colleagues completing their continuous professional development in lifelong learning.

She has encouraging words for anyone thinking about coming back to education:

“Anyone who is contemplating returning to education, just to it! South West College will equip you with the skills you need if you plan to go to university. I have no regrets about the path I took. I truly thought I was too old to revisit my education but that’s not the case. It’s never too late!”

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