A Belfast actor who appeared in Game Of Thrones went back to college and ended up scoring one of the top marks in Ireland in his accountancy exams.
Finance professional Michael Moody was placed among the top students in the Accounting Technicians Ireland Diploma.
Now the 32-year-old has swapped the gruelling filming schedule of the worldwide TV hit for a new role in the Belfast finance centre of a global learning company.
Mr Moody has taken short course acting masterclasses at Belfast’s Crescent Arts Centre and worked as an extra on episode three, season eight of Game Of Thrones, The Long Night.
“The battle scenes were very physical and involved several hundred extras from across the island of Ireland in night shoots, which went on for about three months,” he said.
“I was a Karstark and, like many extras, have fond memories from the set and a jacket as a keepsake.”
Mr Moody has also worked as an extra on other Northern Ireland-based productions, including the BBC’s Paula and Come Home.
He has now taken a role at Pearson Finance Services as a financial reporting and control analyst, thanks to the diploma which he studied for at Belfast Metropolitan College in the Titanic Quarter.
The diploma is recognised as the fastest pathway to a professional accounting career. Enrolment for the next academic year, starting in September, is now open for colleges across Northern Ireland.
It can be obtained in as little as two years and study can be full-time, part-time and online.
“The Accounting Technicians Ireland Diploma vastly enhanced my employment prospects and led to my current role with Pearson,” said Mr Moody, who already held an accounting degree from Queens University.
Despite more than 10 years’ experience working in finance, the public sector and retail banking, he said the Accounting Technicians Ireland course was a perfect fit.
“I wanted to recommence my accounting studies as I was several years removed from my degree. The diploma provided me with an excellent opportunity to refresh and update my technical knowledge,” he said.
“The flexibility of part-time, full-time or online is ideal for anyone looking to combine studies with employment, as I did.
“You can set your own schedules. There was exceptional support and guidance; information was of the highest quality.
“The diploma engaged me from the very start and I am so looking forward to the opportunity to put into practice the skills I gained and to further pursuing my studies with the goal of becoming a fully qualified accountant.
“During the Covid shutdown, we continued learning online. It was a challenging time, but there was tremendous support.
“Any fears were completely removed so students could focus on their preparation and go into exams with confidence.
“I would thoroughly recommend the diploma to anyone aspiring to achieve a recognised qualification to develop a career in finance or accounting, regardless of employment history or educational background. It provides sound technical knowledge which can be applied across many industries.”
Accounting Technicians Ireland provides a nationally and internationally recognised accounting qualification and graduates are employed in industry, commerce, private practice and the public sector.
The courses are open to school and college leavers, mature students and people working in business, industry or small practice but who, as yet, have no formal training.