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Stephen kickstarts new career in I.T. after completing part time software testing course at NWRC

07 March 2022

North West Regional College (NWRC) student, Stephen Leppard, has landed an exciting IT role with global learning technology provider, Synergy Learning, after completing a part time course at the college.

He’s one of hundreds of young people spring-boarding into a career in I.T. after completing qualifications in I.T. at NWRC that include E-Sports, Information and Creative Technologies, and Software Development.

Stephen started the Level 4 Diploma in Software Testing in September and has also completed the ISTQB Foundation certification. The 38-year-old previously worked in Derry as a Website Moderator and Customer Service Advisor for 4 years before kickstarting his IT career at NWRC.

He explained: ‘’I decided to enrol in the course as I wanted a new career, further prospects, and career development opportunities. I wanted a better work life balance and work schedule, so I got in touch with NWRC for more details about the course and funding that was available.

‘’Previously I had looked at a number of IT programmes and courses as I wanted to train and gain employment in the IT sector, but they all required a foundation certificate or additional requirements. However, when I saw this course, I thought it was perfect because it covered all the subject areas to prepare for a role in quality assurance.

‘’Within 5 weeks of starting this course, I interviewed for a QA Analyst role with Synergy Learning which allows me to put into practice the knowledge and skills I’ve learned so far whilst finishing my course.’’

Stephen added: ‘’I would advise anyone who is interested in a career within IT and wondering should they go for it to please get in touch with the Business Support Centre at NWRC who will be able to help you explore courses and funding options.’’

Kevin McLaughlin, NWRC Computing Lecturer & Coordinator of the Kickstart IT Software Fundamentals Course, said: "The Software Fundamentals Diploma is delivered part-time 1 day a week for a 9-month period and includes assignments and modules which make up a portfolio of work.

‘’The course content is designed for people of all levels and gives students the opportunity to train and gain employment in the IT Sector which is growing rapidly with various roles. Units include Object Oriented Programming, Software Testing, Structured Query Language (SQL) Fundamentals, and Automated Software Testing Fundamentals. Students are also given the opportunity to undertake the ISTQB Foundation certification which is recognised around the world.

Kevin concluded: “I would personally like to thank all of the students who initially applied for the course. I would also like to wish Stephen well and look forward to working with him throughout the remainder of the academic year to improve his software testing skills even more. I would strongly recommend anyone looking to upskill in software testing to get in touch as there are loads of great courses with opportunities for employment. "

Tory Kerley, Head of People at Synergy Learning added: “We’re delighted to welcome Stephen to the team. The ability to hire directly from a highly relevant course is a huge advantage as an employer whilst also giving us the opportunity to provide real-world opportunities for students. Working with the college and allowing us to develop this partnership to hire ambitious students who are looking to develop their career in this positive way like Stephen is a really exciting prospect for us, especially within the tech recruitment space which can be extremely competitive.’’

For more information about the KickStart IT programme and to apply visit,


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