Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Students can help economy thrive again

Students from Northern Regional College (NRC) have been told that their role in Northern Ireland’s economic growth will be more crucial than ever in the near future.

Addressing the students at one of the two-day graduation ceremonies in Galgorm Manor, guest speaker Dr Norman Apsley, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Science Park, said the focus had to be based on a market-first perspective.

“It is only by focusing on where we want to be as an economic region over the years ahead from a market first perspective that we can align and develop our knowledge and skills base to meet market opportunities, products and technologies,” said Dr Apsley.

Over 400 students from NRC’s nine campuses located in Antrim, Ballymena, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey graduated from the colleges Higher Education Programmes yesterday and Thursday.

Director of NRC, Trevor Neilands, said: “I’m thrilled to see so many dedicated students receiving their certificates in higher education.”

Among the graduates was 36-year-old Michael Moore, who received two higher education certificates after completed a Level 4 Certificate in Further Education and Teaching, and an Access Diploma in Social Science & Humanities.

Michael’s achievements come after he lost his sight at the age of 22 as a result of a brain tumour.

Following this, Michael joined a computer class at the NRC’s Ballymoney campus where he received help from the then College Learning Support Co-ordinator Margaret McCormack and also his mentor and friend Barbara Smyth.

Barbara said: “Michael is an exceptional student. His appetite for knowledge is matched only by his capacity for hard work.”

Michael is now mentoring other blind students at the college’s Ballymena campus and has worked with other students on the Coleraine and Ballymoney campuses. He said: “My philosophy in life is if I can do it, anyone can.”

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