From education to employment

Northern Regional College Success at NI Learner Endeavour Awards 2023

Staff and students at Northern Regional College enjoyed success at the OCN NI Learning Endeavour Awards.

Ashleigh Mulholland from Newtownabbey won FE Learner of the Year and Kyla Skelton was highly commended in the same category, while Inclusive Learner lecturer, Kiera O’Kane was highly commended in the Inspiring Tutor of the Year category.

Mature student Ashleigh Mulholland completed a Pearson BTEC Level 4 Higher National Certificate in Healthcare Practice (fast track) at the College’s Newtownabbey campus. As part of her continuing professional development and to complement her HNC qualification, she also completed a range of short FE OCN accredited qualifications.

Ashleigh, who is the primary carer for her three children who have severe autism, was nominated for the award by Jacqui McAllister, Curriculum Area Manager for Health, Social Care and Counselling.

Congratulating Ashleigh on what she described as a ‘well-deserved’ award, Jacqui said:

“I’m delighted for Ashleigh, she is an excellent popular student who is modest and kind. She turned her life around when she was 33 years old and, despite her challenging homelife, Ashleigh was in College on time every day.”

Kyla Skelton from Antrim, studied Childcare at the College and was nominated by Fiona Coulter, Curriculum Area Manager for Early Years, who said she was delighted that Kyla’s hard work and commitment had paid off. 

“Kyla progressed through entry level Inclusive Learning courses at the College and went on to achieve her Level 2 Diploma in Early years and Health Studies.

“Her hard work paid off and now that she had successfully completed her qualification, she has gained employment.”

Kiera O’Kane, an Inclusive Learning Lecturer at the College’s Magherafelt campus, was highly commended for the work she does to support students, said Helen Hampsey, Assistant VP Teaching and Learning.

“Kiera deserves recognition for the work she does to ensure that every learner has hope. She inspires both learners and colleagues daily with her ‘can do’ attitude and her natural talent for connecting with people creates a positive learning environment.

“She makes a lasting impression on her students. Some of them had not been attending school so they needed extra motivation and encouragement and Kiera helped them achieve a 100% success rate.”

Northern Regional College was shortlisted in four of the eight categories at the OCN NI Learning Endeavour Awards 2023, including Advanced Learning Through Innovation category and Essential Skills Learner of the Year where Catherine Cameron, an Essential Skills student at Ballymoney campus was shortlisted.

Congratulating all the nominees and award winners, Mel Higgins, Principal & Chief Executive at Northern Regional College said he was delighted to hear about their College’s success at the awards ceremony. 

“Northern Regional College is committed to equipping all of our students with the knowledge and skills to support employment and career progression at local, national and global level, so it is particularly pleasing that this has been recognised at the OCN NI Awards 2023.”

Now in their fifth year, the OCN NI Learning Endeavour Awards 2023 attracted the largest ever entry:

Martin Flynn, Chief Executive of OCN NI admitted that judging was a little more complex this year due to the sheer volume and quality of nominations.

“The shortlisted learners and organisations reflect the best of Northern Ireland and are shining examples of what hard work and determination can achieve.”

The winners were announced at the OCN NI Learning Endeavour Awards ceremony on 26th June at the Titanic, Belfast.

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