Shannon Rafferty from Carrickmore found the perfect course at South West College (SWC), studying a Foundation Degree in Science and Computing with Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA), which enabled her to follow a new career path and progress within her chosen career as a Software Developer without leaving home.
Shannon left school aged 18 and pursued a graphic design course. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Shannon didn't complete the course and spent the next few years working. She said: 'I eventually ended up in Australia and found myself home after only a few months with no clue what I was going to do next.'
Shannon said, ‘I am very fortunate that my Dad owns a computer software company, and he suggested doing a degree that would coincide with his business. I discovered the ideal course at the SWC, Dungannon Campus, which allowed me to remain at home where I could work and gain industry knowledge while gaining the same qualification if I were to travel to Belfast.’
Shannon would recommend SWC and encourages others seeking to obtain higher-level qualifications to avail of an apprenticeship route.
She said: ‘I have loved SWC; I enjoy that you don't feel like another number in the system, and you are valued. The support you receive from the teachers is nothing short of amazing, especially during this pandemic; they have gone above and beyond to help my fellow students and me. They care about how well you do, and if you are struggling, they will help you in any way they can.’
‘The College ethos has been exceptional, and I have made some excellent connections with other students and staff, who I can call at any time for help. I have really reaped the rewards from this course, and the opportunity to live at home while maintaining my job and social life has played a significant role in my career and personal progression.’
Shannon is thankful to the SWC and believes the course has helped her fulfil her potential within the computing industry.
She said: ‘I was unsure if I would like this career path, and took a chance, and I am forever grateful as it has allowed me to pursue a job that I love - developing software for many engineering firms within the local area. Without the knowledge I have learnt at SWC, I feel I wouldn't be as advanced with my coding languages to do my job as efficiently and promptly as I now can.’
Shannon hopes to continue her studies and says: ‘I plan to stay at the South West College next year to continue to do a top-up degree, which appeals to me as I can have my full degree with one more year of hard work. I would then like to progress and do my PGCE and teach in either ICT in secondary schools or back in the College. I am extremely glad I have chosen this course and can't wait to further myself next year while still at SWC.'
For further information and to apply, please visit www.swc.ac.uk.