August means decision time for thousands of young people across Tyrone and Fermanagh, who upon receiving their GCSE results will be deciding what future steps to take. GCSE results day is a significant milestone in anyone’s educational journey, and one that many students and parents associate with nerves and trepidation. However, throughout this understandably stressful period, it’s important to be aware of the vast opportunities available in education today whether you receive the results you’re hoping for or not.

While A Level’s remain a popular and valuable choice for many students, they are only one path of education. More than ever, further education colleges offer other pathways which can be equally or even more beneficial, no matter what your GCSE grades are. In fact, for many people, the change from school to a further education college will feel like just the beginning of their educational journey.

Opportunities at South West College

Your local Further and Higher Education College – South West College (SWC) – prides itself on student focus, superb facilities and industry engagement and accessibility for all. At SWC students can choose from a range of full-time and part-time courses, across a number of curriculum areas, and completion of these courses can result in direct employment, continued education and training, or a stepping stone to University level Higher Education.

Benefits for Students

As well as the extensive range of courses, many students prefer the smaller class numbers, and the benefit of added individual hours with lecturers and tutors which further education colleges provide. SWC also focuses time and energy into improving the health and wellbeing of students, recognising the positive impact this can have on study and future success. The college’s thriving student services facilities offers a number of extracurricular activities as well as advice and support on careers, student finance, safeguarding, learning support and equality.

For many students, there is also the attraction of the new element of freedom that comes from studying at a Further Education College. This can come in small things, having a less rigid schedule, rather than the 9 o’clock, Monday to Friday routine, or even never having to wear a school uniform again.

However, the bigger picture comes in the freedom that can be found in studying what you want and experiencing it in a way that is more connected to the real working world. This can come in the form of studying something you’ve had a life-time passion for, like Hair and Beauty or Sport, or by enrolling in an apprenticeship that allows you to split your time between the classroom and the workplace and earn while your learn.

There are lots of changes that come with leaving school for a further education college, and no matter what your GCSE results or what curriculum area you’re hoping to pursue, there are no shortage of options. South West College is on hand to help you explore everything that is available to you.

I’ve got my GCSE Results. What do I do now?.

If you have already submitted an application, you must now log in to the applications portal (MySWC) and upload your results today. You do not need to visit your local campus to do so... you can do this from the comfort of your own home. If you do need a little support, then call in to Dungannon, Enniskillen or Omagh during the hours of 10am-4pm. If you have not applied yet, you can make an application at