THE decision to take a business computing course at Northern Regional College is paying off for a teenager from Ballymena.
Tiernan Graham Da-Cruz, who is in the second and final year of a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Information Technology/Computer Science at the College, said the course offers great opportunities for anyone interested in a career in computing. .
He said, “It has given me so many enjoyable and rewarding experiences, including attending workshops and work experience opportunities. Classroom team building activities are not only fun, but also great learning experiences.
Earlier this year, Tiernan and his classmates participated in the week-long Catalyst Generation Innovation program at Catalyst’s Titanic Quarter facility, which is a work-experience program for ambitious 17-18-year-olds interested in improve for the jobs of the future. .
Participants receive training in design thinking and learn to work in teams to develop new solutions and communicate their ideas.
College computer science professor Emma Butler explained what the Generation Innovation program involved: “Students were divided into teams and assigned a company to work with for the duration of the program.
“Each team had to use their design, creativity and innovation capabilities to come up with a solution to a specific problem given to them by the company. They then created a prototype based on the best ideas and, on the final day, presented their solution to their peers and senior executives.
“Tiernan’s team, which was mentored by Instil, a software engineering firm in Belfast, was named the overall winner.
“Each of the seven team members received Apple Airpods and a ticket to attend the INVENT Awards in the Waterfront Hall.”
Emma added: “The INVENT Awards night celebrates innovation and has been a wonderful opportunity for students to meet and mingle with some of Northern Ireland’s most successful IT entrepreneurs and businesses and see the possibilities of entrepreneurship.”
The challenge for Tiernan’s team, who hailed from schools and colleges across Northern Ireland, was to come up with ideas to engage people in tree protection, inspire tree love and raise awareness of preservation ordinances. trees (TPO).
He said: “We decided the best way to solve the problem was to raise awareness, so the team came up with a plan to create and execute marketing campaigns on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.
“We also created a Snapchat filter with augmented reality to allow users to virtually plant trees, as well as a mobile app and website to raise awareness of OPCs and allow people to donate money to the cause. “
The Level 3 Extended Diploma is an academic equivalent of three A Levels.
The two-year full-time course is a recognized progression route to university and is highly valued by employers.
Looking to the future, Tiernan would like to pursue a higher level apprenticeship as a stepping stone to a career in the IT sector.
Tiernan said he wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the course: “It’s a great first step for anyone looking to get into the IT field. It gives you an accredited qualification and covers a wide range of topics to give a good introduction to various aspects of computing. It also provides you with other important life skills such as communication, project and time management, teamwork, motivation, and leadership skills.
“All of these skills and experiences have helped me become more confident and it will help me in the future.”
He added, “I have benefited so much from the various opportunities, such as the Catalyst Innovation program, and made many valuable friends and relationships that I would not have made without the course.
In addition to the Level 3 Extended Computing/Computing Diploma, Northern Regional College offers a range of full-time and part-time Computing/Computing courses from Level 1 up to and including the Foundation Diploma.
Applications are now invited for ICT Essential Skills courses (Levels 1 and 2) which will start in January 2023. For more information on all courses, go to www.nrc.ac.uk.
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