More than 600 Northern Regional College Higher Education students celebrated success at a graduation ceremony held at Dunadry.
Guest speakers for the occasion were Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton and Gregory S Burton, Consul General at the US Consulate in Belfast.
More than 100 mature students qualified with an Access Diploma in Social Sciences or Humanities, a part time A Level standard course, enabling people to return to study.
Hazel Rice, from Larne, was delighted with her access diploma in combined studies with commendation. Returning to study after a gap of 30 years, she recognised how the course contributed to her growing self-confidence saying: “During my course at NRC Newtownabbey, I was offered an opportunity by my line manager to be a community link worker for the Northern Trust.
“The course prepared me for changes within my job role and gave me insight and understanding to move forward with confidence in my new role.”
Hazel said the course was a challenge as she had to learn to balance work and home life: “However, I got into a routine and really enjoyed the different topics. I will always remember the maths classes and assignments and I was amazed how I enjoyed them.”
Language courses will be Hazel’s new-year challenge and she encouraged others to take the plunge. She said: ‘I would recommend higher education courses to those looking for an opportunity to change or find new goals in their career.”
NRC has campuses in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Larne, Magherafelt and Newtownabbey.