Good foundations at NWRC

Leon Rooney.
Leon Rooney.
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North West Regional College (NWRC) student Leon Rooney has spring-boarded his career in the local hotel industry by gaining a Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management.

A Foundation Degree is a recognised Higher Education qualification in its own right and offers a progression route to an honours degree at university. 

It allows flexible studying methods which means that they are available to people already in work, those wishing to embark on a career change and to those who have recently completed level 3 qualifications.

Leon Rooney, who currently works as the Operations Manager for the Waterfoot Hotel, took the major step of returning to education after a long break when he enrolled on the Foundation Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at North West Regional College as a 27 year old mature student.

Having worked in hospitality all his working life, Leon enrolled on the full-time Foundation Degree with the aim of helping him to progress in his career and graduated at North West Regional 2012.

Leon said: “Going back to study after 10 years was my biggest fear along with trying to fit my work around study as I also worked full time at Da Vinci’s Hotel as Bar Supervisor during my course. Trying to get the assignments in on time and trying to get to class in the morning as my shifts at work had changed to nights was also a challenge.”

Leon worked hard to overcome these challenges and the benefits were rapidly realised. After Leon completed his Foundation degree, he gained a promotion moving from Bar Supervisor in Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry, to Operations Manager in the parent company, The Waterfoot Hotel.

Looking forward to welcoming and applying his newly acquired hospitality skills to visitors during Derry’s City of Culture celebrations, Leon said: “I would definitely recommend a Foundation Degree as a great way to further your career - it has certainly helped me.”

Foundation Degrees are designed and delivered through partnerships between employers, universities and further education colleges and are available in a wide range of subjects. Further information about Foundation Degrees is available at