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Part time student is a finalist in the OCN 'Learner of the Year' awards

05 June 2023
Man holding a sign for part time courses

“It’s very humbling to be nominated for this award by my tutor Ruairi McFaul. I’m looking forward to going to the awards ceremony on June 26 and I hope I do the college proud.”

Adrian Boyd
Part Time student

A local man who was forced to switch careers after suffering an accident in which he lost four fingers, has been shortlisted for the OCN (Open College Network) Learner of the Year Award.

As North West Regional College (NWRC) opens enrolments for 2023/24 part-time courses beginning in September 2023, part-time learner Adrian Boyd is encouraging local people to try something new.

For many years Adrian Boyd worked as a volunteer with the pager team at Foyle Search and Rescue, he’s now progressing to train as a counsellor after completing Essential Skills qualifications in Maths and Communications as part of NWRC’s Community Education curriculum.

“I left school with no qualifications at all,” said Adrian. “But I have always worked, I went straight into employment. I was repairing a roof when I lost four of my fingers, which left me unable to do the job I was previously doing.

“I saw Strabane Community Unemployment Group advertising courses on social media and I decided to give it a go. I studied Maths first, and I was very good at it. I then moved on to communications. I really enjoyed studying Essential Skills at the college.

“I’ve now completed my Level 2 in counselling and I’m moving on to Level 3 in Strand Road Campus. The course is part-time over 32 weeks and I hope then to move into further study with the aspiration of becoming a full-time counsellor.

“My time working on the pager crew with Foyle Search and Rescue has given me lots of empathy, and I developed good listening skills. I think all these things in my life were pointing me to a new career in counselling.”

Throughout his time studying at NWRC, Adrian said he always felt comfortable and had great support from the tutors.

He added: “It’s very humbling to be nominated for this award by my tutor Ruairi McFaul. I’m looking forward to going to the awards ceremony on June 26 and I hope I do the college proud.”

Adrian’s tutor Ruairi McFaul said: “Adrian’s previous employment and voluntary work demonstrate how much of his life is centred around helping others. His Essential Skills qualifications have allowed him to now progress to a higher course and I have no doubt that he will continue helping people in the future.

“I hope other people read Adrian’s story and feel inspired to continue with their education. We wish him all the best at the finals, but he is already a winner in our eyes.”

Enrolments for North West Regional College’s 2023/2024 part-time courses are now OPEN.

There are hundreds of courses to choose from, ranging from: Photography, Professional courses, Horticulture, Computing, Counselling, Hairdressing and Beauty, Chocolate Skills, Sports Massage, Fitness, Administration, Early Years, GCSE Science, Maths, and English, and much more…

There are huge benefits to studying for a qualification part-time. Not only can you continue to work while you study, but most part-time courses are structured to allow you to balance your studies with your other commitments. NWRC offers a range of employer-focussed Higher education options which include Foundation Degrees, Higher National Diplomas, Higher National Certificates and Higher Level Apprenticeships - all on a part-time basis.

Course information is now available to view online at, providing details of the hundreds of part-time courses on offer at the College’s Strabane, Derry~Londonderry, Springtown, Greystone, and Limavady campuses.

You can apply at

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