Concerns about the local job market may be behind a surge in applications for courses at the North West Regional College (NWRC).
NWRC says around 200 students queued outside the college on Strand Road on Tuesday morning, the first day of enrolment for the new academic year.
More than 540 students signed up for part time courses across NWRC’s Derry, Strabane and Limavady campuses.
A College spokeswoman says applications have been on the rise over the past couple of years.
She says would be students see returning to education as a way of getting ahead when it comes to landing a job.
“We were delighted to welcome so many people to our campuses for the opening of enrolments, and we appreciated their patience as we managed the long queues.
“The trend of programmes filling early has been increasing in recent years, and the College aims to facilitate all of those who wish to study with us.
“The interest in our courses indicates that local learners are taking the opportunity to improve their qualifications, especially in the current economic climate.”
NWRC says demand has seen waiting lists established for a number of vocational courses including Level 3 Fashion and Photographic Make-Up, Level 2 Certificate in Photography, and awards in Bridal Hair and Cutting and Colouring.
The spokeswoman says the part-time Foundation Degree, HNC and Level 5 courses available, offer learners the opportunity to gain valuable qualifications and experience, at times to suit their employment or family commitments.
The College also offers concessionary fees to those receiving a range of tax credits and benefits