The couple who study together stay together.
That’s certainly the experience of Strabane husband and wife team Joanne and Stephen Annesly who have just graduated from a specialist two year course at the North West Regional College.
The couple met while completing a first diploma course in science back in 1989 and they went on to complete their respective degree courses in biological sciences and applied ecology at the University of Ulster.
Joanne, who now works as a biology lab technician at the North West Regional College, spotted a new project for them to embark on together.
“I initially enquired about the course and Stephen thought it would be useful for his job too,” she said.
“And we have both found it beneficial in our work.
“We really enjoyed studying alongside the class who all share our interest in the environment and science.
“It was an enjoyable experience with people from different backgrounds who were able to share their skills and help learn from each other.”
Stephen works as a water quality inspector for Northern Ireland Environment Agency and was recognised with a special reward by them for his work.
Also recognised at the presentation ceremony was Derek McHugh, a carpenter by trade, who joined the course which is equivalent to 2 A levels, thanks to a recommendation from a friend, Gavin Duffy, from his fishing club. Derek has followed closely in Gavin’s footsteps, as Derek was named as the winner of the Loughs Agency Award, an accolade previously held by Gavin.
“This course was brilliant. We made so many field trips which really made the content make sense,” he said.
“I’ll never forget one trip when we got up close to some basking sharks off the Inishowen coast - that was totally amazing