Computers are part of everything we do. We use them constantly, whether it’s checking the weather, the football scores or the best holiday destinations, and for anyone working in an office, it’s hard to imagine working away from the monitor. In any conceivable future, computing and IT jobs will continue to be common, with jobs developing in sectors as wide ranging as agriculture, retail, hairdressing and nursing. For anyone unequipped in this area, it can feel like a disadvantage.
Computer skills hold the power to enhance and amplify our qualifications, or leave a gaping hole in our CV. As far back as 2012, then culture minister, Ed Vaizey said the British public must start to place as high a value on their computer skills as they do on their ability to string a sentence together. Now, the Access Diploma in Computing at South West College means that just as computing skills have never been more valued, they are more accessible than ever. For anyone facing redundancy or currently unemployed, an access diploma is an opportunity to try something new, and most importantly, re-enter education in a way that does not mean starting over, but can quickly guarantee results, allowing you to re-enter the ever changing workplace better qualified than ever.
Majella McAleer has availed of the course on offer at South West College. Majella, a full time mum of two from Loughmacrory, decided to go back to college part time to finish her computing course when her youngest child was starting school, and says: “it is a great course for anyone to do, as you do not need entry requirements. You just have an interview with the lecturer, which isn’t as scary as you think, and in first year you do core subjects in maths and English, which is a good refresher. We also completed a programming module, and the lecturers are really helpful and provide a lot of support, more than I ever thought you would get.”
Majella is looking forward to having more practical experience in her second year of the course. “I enjoy the practical side of things, coding and learning hardware and software skills”. Majella would like to progress to a Higher Level Apprenticeship where she can work and complete the foundation degree part time, and then hopefully move on to full time employment.
The key aim of this type of course is to allow learners of all abilities to an an earn an A-level equivalent qualification, then either progress to a Higher Education degree programme or emerge with expanded career opportunities. It is essentially a stepping stone to where you want to be, and in completing this course the learner will develop skills and knowledge in computing, as well as have the opportunity to clarify the route they wish to take in the future.
Courses like this highlight that returning to education does not mean returning to the start. These courses allow people to quickly achieve real goals, and is a potential stepping stone to a better career and life. Darren Grimes is currently working within an IT environment and wants to gain more qualifications in IT. He researched courses and thought the Advanced Diploma in Computing was suitable to further his education and enhance his current skills. Darren says, “I enjoy the course, I wanted a wider knowledge of IT and the part time course is suitable so I can work and learn at the same time, especially as the college is local, which makes studying easier.” Darren’s experience highlights that with the Access Diploma in Computing at South West College, a world of opportunities exist right at your doorstep.
Click here to find out more about Computing and IT courses on offer at SWC.