Economy Minister, Gordon Lyons MLA, has met with Further Education Students at North West Regional College to discuss alternative routes to higher education.
Across the Colleges, hundreds of opportunities are open to learners seeking Higher Level options including Foundation degrees, Higher Level Apprenticeships and HNDs in subjects such as Accountancy, Business Studies, Health and Life Sciences and Hospitality.
Recently, with backing from the Department for the Economy, the six Colleges launched the new Advanced Technical Award and Traineeships aimed at helping school leavers acquire new professional and technical skills in a range of vocational sectors.
The awards aim to address the growing skills gap in Northern Ireland and provide students with knowledge and skills for entering work, as well as opportunities to progress to further study, including Higher Level Education. The new awards are available in a wide range of subjects including IT, Health and Social Care, Applied Science, Construction, Engineering and Business and Finance.
A new partnership with Northern Ireland’s universities is also aimed at ensuring school leavers are made aware of the full range of alternative routes to degree at the regional Colleges. School leavers who do not receive an offer from a Northern Ireland university will be directed to dedicated web pages to signpost them towards other provisions, including Foundation degrees and Higher Education courses at the Further Education Colleges.
Minister for the Economy, Gordon Lyons MLA said:
“I was delighted to have been able to visit the Limavady Campus of NWRC to join with staff and students as they received their results today and I would like to take this opportunity to offer my very best wishes to all those receiving their results.
“For many young people this time is one of the most important junctures in their academic life so far and it can often present a crossroads in their career path. Making informed decisions is crucial to effective career planning and it is important students examine all their options.
“For anyone looking for help and advice my department’s Careers Service offers free and impartial advice on a range of career pathways, including further and higher education, training and employment along with apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships.”
Chief Executive and Principal of North West Regional College, Leo Murphy said:
“The courses and opportunities on offer this year to school leavers who choose to study at their local Further Education college are first-class and offer a promising next step in their education.
“As happens every year, there will be young people who may be feeling lost and disappointed on results day if they do not get the university place they had hoped for. Our message to those young people is there are alternative routes to that university degree at your local college and they can still reach their end destination by taking on a higher education course or foundation degree in college first.
“Our ability to create courses in collaboration with industry, means that our learners leave college with the professional and technical qualifications they need to go straight into well-paid jobs and promising careers, or progress onto university with a well-rounded qualification already. Our accessibility means we are open to all kinds of learners from school leavers to those looking to re-skill or re-train.”
To find out more information about the higher education options at local FE Colleges visit www.furthereducationni.com.