Forty-two years-old Derek McCallion cared for his wife for 11 years before she sadly passed away.
Looking after his wife gave Derek an insight into what it is like to work as a carer so when he read that Skills 20/20 was offering people in Derry the chance to study for a qualification in domiciliary care he jumped at the chance.
Along with five other people from all over Derry, Derek was presented with his certificate in the Foyle International building on Magazine Street yesterday morning.
Derek and three others who completed the course secured employment within the local care sector as a result of the course.
“It’s one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Derek.
“I was my wife’s carer for 11 years so I knew what it entailed. I am delighted to be standing here with my certificate today and the sense of satisfaction I get each time I finish a shift is amazing - it’s nice going home knowing you’ve helped another human being,” he added.
Mum of four, Aine Barton, said the course was of great benefit to her.
“I’ve spent the last few years rearing a family so getting a job on the back of completing the course has been brilliant. I love working as a carer - it’s something I have always wanted to do.”
Maureen McGinley from Cornshell Fields also graduated from the course yesterday. Maureen said she would like see more courses like Skills 20/20 run throughout the city to combat the high level of unemployment.
“There needs to be more funding for courses like this. We were all unemployed before we started but now some of us have jobs. This proves that these courses can work.”
For further information on the Skills 20/20 Project contact Anne-Marie O’Hara at the Waterside Neighbourhood Partnership on 028 71 342 959.