Disappointment after NWRC course shocker

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan.
SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan.

A Roe Valley teenager has described his disappointment at turning up for a course at the North West Regional College in Limavady only to be told the course wouldn’t be running.

The 17-year-old, who prefers not to be named, said he was excited to start the Training For Success Electrical course.

It is simply not acceptable to expect students to switch to a totally different type of course from that which they had already considered very carefully, and signed up to.

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan

However, just 40 minutes after he turned up for class last Monday at the Greystone Road campus, the local teen was walking through the gates to return home.

“You go through all summer thinking you’re doing the course and I was really looking forward to it, but at 20 minutes to 10 on Monday last week I was walking through the Tech gates to go home,” he said.

The teenager said other local students in the class were just as surprised as he was at the announcement.

“It was a shock,” said the teenager, “not knowing what would happen next.”

The teenager explained he was subsequently offered a place on an apprenticeship course in Derry, but he said it meant having to find an employer who would take him on four days a week. He said it also meant he would loses the benefits he would have received had the course have run as scheduled.

A NWRC spokesperson admitted they had found it “challenging” to find qualified teachers for the course.

“However, it is currently completing recruitment activities for new staff in this area and is hopeful that further information on this can be provided in the coming days,” said the NWRC spokesperson. “Any applicant who has applied for a course in this area has been or will be matched this week to an alternative learning option which starts in the college this month.”

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan said it was “unfortunate a number of young students hoping to embark on acareer path of their choice have now seemingly been denied that opportunity because of internal difficulties within the NWRC.

The teenager’s mum said she was upset at the way the situation had been handled and “feels very much let down”.

SDLP MLA Gerry Mullan said the unexpected news has meant the North West Regional College students directly impacted, and their parents, “have been left very distressed with no scope to make alternative arrangements in order to pursue the type of educational course they had intended to this year”.

“It is simply not acceptable to expect students to switch to a totally different type of course from that which they had already considered very carefully, and signed up to, in the hope of a lifetime of employment in the construction industry doing the kind of work they would enjoy simply because of bad planning management within the college,” said Mr Mullan.

“Every effort must be made to allow those students affected to continue with their original plans to study for a career in electrical engineering, ultimately leading to them becoming productive and valuable members of the construction industry in the future.”