Orlagh Colton studied Sports Massage Therapy at South West College, part-time for three years, an educational journey that has helped her open her own business. She shares her thoughts with Way out West.

I started working as a personal trainer in 2009 and loved it, but I decided that I wanted to do sports massage alongside it. I found the course at South West College, and signed up for Monday nights, which suited my working schedule, and I completed the level 3 course there. From there I continued on to complete Level 4 and Level 5, so I was at the College for three years, and looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Being honest, I didn’t know all that much about South West College or the courses that were on offer. My experience there was fantastic, the support I received from tutors and the resources that were available online were brilliant. At one stage we had to complete an e-portfolio, which was completely new to me, but the tutors take their time and made sure I had all the guidance I needed. It was fantastic support.

My time at SWC gave me confidence to set up the business I have now. The detail in the course is incredible, and you learn so much. You’ll never learn everything, but you’re constantly learning throughout, and when you leave you know certain areas that you will want to explore further. It gave me the stepping stone for everything I’ve done since.

I’ve been in business here for three years now. I had worked from home for two years previous to that, which was a great way to build up a client base, but I got to the point where I wanted to be able to get out, leave the house every day and go to work. I wanted to take a chance, to go for it and see how it would play out, and fortunately I’ve never looked back, things have kept busy and I’ve been able to build my working life around my family life. I’m in a great location, and I’m enjoying my work.

Having the option to study part time was essential for me. I couldn’t have afforded to not go to work and my children were still going to school. It also gave me more time to structure my studying. There was only one evening a week of class, so I could spend other free time, away from work or family, to study whatever way I felt necessary, whether that was completing assignments or preparing for exams. It really fitted in with family life for me.

You have to take chances in life. If you go to South West College there is an abundance of support on offer, so for anyone that’s considering it, or maybe unsure if it’s for them, I would definitely recommend that they go for it.