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Case Study

HND Health and Social Care Graduate Mairead Collins Made it at the Met

Mairead Collins Case Study

Mairead aspired to study Health and Social Care as an A-Level however chose a different path and pursued a Drama course at Queen's University Belfast, however she felt that the course wasn’t for her and sought a new career path with the help of Belfast Met –

“I finished the first year of a Drama degree at Queen’s University but knew that I wasn’t enjoying it and didn’t plan to go back in September. I regretted not studying Health and Social Care for A-Level at school and so I decided that this was what I wanted to do and so I applied for the Higher National Diploma (HND).”

Whilst still working in a part-time job, she took on the challenge of leaving her original course to pursue her ambition to work in the voluntary sector. Mairead applied for her part-time course at Belfast Met with the assistance of a course lecturer who was able to confirm her place on the course, once she had proven that she met the entry requirements. Mairead soon found her feet and where her true passion lay by gaining valuable experience during her course by taking part in a voluntary placement set up by the College – 

“Completing the HND in Health and Social Care was vital in order for me to be where I am now. Within a couple of months of joining the course I knew that I wanted to work in the homeless sector and was pointed in the direction of The Welcome Organisation.” 

Mairead has achieved a qualification, placement experience and secured a role in a career that she is happy to progress in. Despite challenges of juggling her job in retail and studying she learnt that without the support of Belfast Met she would not have been able to succeed – 

“By enrolling in a part-time course I was able to have other commitments. I started off with a part-time job and in the final year of the course I was working full time in retail, doing relief work for The Welcome Organisation and studying. Without the knowledge I gained from the course achieving my current role would never have been possible, as I was able to apply what I had learnt, as well as gaining voluntary experience from working with people that are homeless.” 

Mairead’s course like many others on offer at Belfast Met has offered her a fully rounded experience of theory and practical work in her field, which covered a wide range of modules that were relevant to her specialist sector as well as allowing her to gain skills that she could apply in future roles in the health and social sector – 

“The course provided me with so much knowledge that I use in my job role as a support worker each day. Completing modules such as Counselling Skills was particularly useful as this provided me with the skills I need to carry out my job effectively as I work with homeless and vulnerable service users, which I often provide emotional support too. I also learnt about Health the Safety in the work place, I use this knowledge each day in work in order to keep staff and service users safe in the drop in centre.” 

“I had no idea how much my life would change for the better when I signed up for the part-time HND, I am now working full time in a job I adore so much and I am very thankful for the opportunity Belfast Met has given me.” 

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