The next generation of dental nurses celebrated their achievement last week at the Portman Dental Care Nursing celebration ceremony at South West College’s Dungannon campus on Thursday 29th September 2022.

Students along with their family and friends were treated to a selection of delicious tea, coffee and scones on arrival. John Moss, Campus Manager for Dungannon at South West College, welcomed graduates and guests to the proceedings on the day. Dr John Moore, Head of School for Sport and Life Science, also delivered a rousing address full of praise for the successful students, the support from the staff in the college and also the staff at Portman Dental Care for the practical opportunities that were instrumental to the success of the course. Andy Relf and Andy Veitch, affectionately known as ‘the two Andys’, also spoke to those gathered at the event congratulating the students on their achievement and offered thanks for continued collaboration with South West College to deliver the programme so effectively.

All students enjoyed a hands-on experience with work based learning at a dental practice as well as insightful theory on the latest tools, techniques and patient care involved in providing dental nursing support in the Portman Dental Care practices whilst also receiving a City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Dental Nursing in South West College.

Dental Nursing graduation 2022 DGN campus - Charlene McElchar and Chloe McCaffrey

Charlene McElchar, South West College course co-ordinator and lecturer for Dental Nursing, joined in the celebrating of the successful year:

“I’m absolutely delighted and so proud of the students and the close working relationship with Portman Dental Care. These students are such a talented hard working bunch and I’ve no doubt they will go on to have successful careers. To have the support of a major collaboration with Portman Dental Care means so much to the continued success of this course for years to come.”

Hospitality students at dental nursing graduation 2022 DGN

Another highlight of the occasion was having the City & Guilds Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership students involved in providing a superb menu at the college’s in-house restaurant for those taking part in the celebrations to enjoy. Guests were treated to a truly exquisite fine dining experience with a delightful herb crusted grilled seabass pesto and vegetables or a mouth-watering stuffed chicken roulade, complete with caramelised onions and bacon on a bed of whipped potato. The lucky guests’ sweet tooth was also well catered for, with a rich chocolate and caramel plate to top the meal off. The talented hospitality and catering students played an integral role in making it a day to remember.

Portman Dental have over 200 dental practices across the UK and Ireland, including 11 in Northern Ireland. Andy Relf, Head of Operations for UK and Ireland at Portman Dental Care, was present at the ceremony:

Dental nursing graduation DGN 2022 w Portman reps

“It was great to see the students graduating, really exciting. The learning experience you give them in tandem with the work experience leads to a really fulfilled and exciting programme for all involved”.

Andy spoke about the important relationship between South West College and Portman Dental Care:

“The relationship between Portman Dental Care and the college has been special. We have all been learning together and working together to bring each other through and it’s been great to be able to support each other to do that.”

Laura Porter from Belfast, who successfully completed the course, spoke highly of her experience:

“I found the course light-hearted and fun thanks to our tutor. She made it entertaining and interactive for us and was always on-hand for any questions or help that we needed”.

Laura plans to push forward and study a postgraduate course in radiography to add to her skills as a dental nurse and continue to work in a challenging but exciting new career.

Toni Zorzi Templepatrick Dental Nursing graduation

Toni Zorzi from Templepatrick, another completing student on the course, had this advice for anyone interested in studying as a dental nurse at the college:

“Support each other. You’re going to need each other along the way but everybody’s there to help each other.”

The next cohort of Portman Dental Care students have just began their journey at the end of September 2022 and if you’re interested in finding out more about how you could find your time to shine as a dental nurse within Portman Dental, please get in touch with

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