For many students, leaving school after GCSE’s means a certain element of freedom. This can come in many forms, such as having a less rigid schedule, a more hands on approach to learning, or even never having to wear another school uniform. However, the fundamental freedom is often found in studying what you want and experiencing it in a way that is more connected to the real working world.

This was certainly the case for Lucy Cosgrove, who left school after her GCSE’s to further her studies at South West College, where she recently completed a BTEC National Diploma in Children’s Learning and Development, and is now now moving on to study at Queen's University Belfast.

Lucy says: “I felt that studying A Levels just wasn’t the right option for me, but with a love for working with people and children, I knew I wanted to continue my educational studies specifically in this area.”

“I decided to study at South West College and with the great tutors I had, who were always there to help and support me, I really started to enjoy my education in a new way. The staff and tutors helped me to realise my full potential, which I am very thankful for.”

Lucy enjoyed the new rhythm and routine of studying at South West College, which allows students to balance education with work and other aspects of their life outside of college. This new approach to education allowed her to experience and develop her learning in a more enjoyable and beneficial way.

She says, “Studying Childrens Care at SWC was the best decision I ever made. The BTEC challenged me and helped me to see the career possibilities that I now had. With its continuous grading and evaluation, coupled with a style of tutoring that treated us as adults and not school children, I not only received a qualification but gained confidence within myself.

“I look forward to the new opportunities that will present themselves studying at Queen’s, but I will always be immensely proud of my time at South West College.”

To find out about available courses visit the South West College website, where additional information relating to course content and costs can be found.