Meet the Lecturer – Kevin McLaughlin
Today we meet lecturer in Computing at NWRC Kevin McLaughlin. Kevin is based at Strand Road Campus and teaches on a number I.T. courses as well as heading up ‘Kickstart to I.T.’ a 12-week industry-led, Software Fundamentals course programme aimed at fast-tracking students into a career in the IT industry.
As a teen Kevin wanted to study Geography, but even though he had never done any computing before decided to study the HND in Computing at NWRC, and then progressing to Ulster University for the BSC in Computing and a Masters Degree. He’s been a lecturer at NWRC for more than 20 years
Kevin has supported 628 people of all ages into new careers through Kickstart and various technical training initiatives with local IT companies – changing lives.
He says the most important thing is having the right attitude – once you have that the technical skills will follow.
For more information on IT courses at NWRC go to www.nwrc.ac.uk/results
Lecturer in Computing
Describe your job
I am a lecturer in Computing teaching on Further and Higher Education courses at NWRC. However, my job is multi-faceted as I also work to upskill and reskill people preparing them for employment, through Kickstart.
What was your path to becoming an educator?
When I did my Leaving Cert, my plan was to study Geography at University, but I missed out by a few points. I came to NWRC and began the HND in computing even though I had never done any computing before. It was one of the hardest courses I have ever done, I then went on to do my Full Degree and Masters in UU at Magee. I began teaching part time at NWRC and I really enjoyed it and a year later moved into full time teaching.
Most rewarding part of your job.
Seeing people progress and learning new industry specific skills. It’s great to see people content and happy and watching them getting into work. I never get tired of seeing students do well and getting employment. Since I started, I’ve helped 628 people into jobs, and that’s helping to change 628 lives.
People from all backgrounds join the Kickstart programme. I’ve taught people between the ages of 16-60. I always say that the most important thing is to have the right attitude, when you have that, the skills will come easily to you. In my job it’s great to engage with people from all walks of life. I always encourage people to consider a career in IT as there are so many opportunities. It’s not all technical but it’s about having the soft skills too.
I teach a lot of software testing as part of my job, and we have a large volume of applicants for p/t courses in software testing.
How does teaching in a Higher Education college differ from school?
The courses that we teach in IT at NWRC you can’t get at school. We have people coming from far and wide to take these courses because there is such a huge appetite for training in I.T. We teach everything from entry level I.T. right up to upskilling and reskilling graduates into software roles.
Some of our candidates have a degree but previously had no opportunity to upskill – however with Kickstart you learn the skills to become competent in I.T., go out on placement with a company and many students go on to become employed and very successful. Many are now in senior positions and management roles, in fact some of our former students are now arranging placements for current students.
Best Moment at NWRC?
I’ve had 628 best moments as I’ve watched 628 people change their lives and reach their full potential.