Orla Coyle from Greencastle recently completed a Foundation Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at South West College (SWC), Omagh, graduating in 2020 with a distinction grade and was awarded a number of scholarships and bursaries that helped pay off her tuition fees within the first year of her studies.
Orla said: "My experience at South West College was nothing less than exceptional, as it provided me with excellent opportunities to progress in my chosen career path, which is Civil Engineering. All of the lecturing staff at the College were extremely friendly and helpful from the outset, giving me guidance and encouragement when I needed it."
"I had originally considered nursing as a career but having spent a period of time on placement with Fox Contracts, whilst at the Dean Maguirc School, I decided that civil engineering was more suited to my future aspirations. The course at SWC gave me the opportunity to learn about a broad range of topics, such as surveying, structures, materials and fluid mechanics - all of which I found very beneficial whilst on placement in my second year with Fox Contracts."
"During my time at the College, I was fortunate enough to be awarded a number of scholarships and bursaries, including the prestigious Quest Technician Scholarship award from the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE). This meant that I was able to pay off my fees for my complete degree in the first year of my studies."
This coveted award is a recognition of higher technicians' achievement and ambition in the civil engineering industry. The Institution of Civil Engineers Quest Technician Scholarship is open to all eligible students across the Northern Ireland Region of the ICE, and applicants are required to complete a rigorous assessment process, focussing on academic achievement, industrial experience and most importantly, career aspirations.
For those considering a career in Civil Engineering, Orla would recommend SWC; she said, "My experience and success at South West College has given me the confidence to take the opportunity to progress with my career. I am now furthering my studies in civil engineering for my Honours Degree at Queens University Belfast, with the intention of becoming a professionally qualified Civil Engineer."
William Young, Project Officer for Civil Engineering at South West College, said: “When civil engineering was launched at South West College in 2010, professional recognition was seen to be a critical factor and at the core of the programme delivery. Strong links were established and developed with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to ensure that our students would have a full awareness of the importance of professionalism in their future careers. These Scholarships are the direct result of the highly effective relationship, which now exists between the ICE and SWC.
The flexibility offered by the Foundation Degree gives students a number of options to consider after completion. Some students opt to go directly into work as higher technicians, whilst others like Orla progress to University to complete the Honours Degree before employment. Whichever option is taken; the ultimate goal will be to become professionally qualified.”
For further information or to apply for a civil engineering course at SWC, please visit our website at www.swc.ac.uk.