A CO Down student who had to shield for the duration of his course has spoke of his delight that he has kept his education on track.
Josh McGoldrick from Gilford, who received a lifesaving heart transplant in July 2018, has been shielding since the first lockdown more than two years ago.
But the 20-year-old has successfully completed his course at SERC by studying online and has now set his sights for a career in the creative media industry, with plans to take up a HND game development or motion graphics and animation.
"I am extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 and although it has been necessary to shield," he said.
"I have really enjoyed completing my Level 3 creative media production and technology course at home through SERC’s Lisburn campus. It has given me something to stay focussed on."
The young man also praised his tutors for their help and support as he shielded throughout his course.
"They went above and beyond to support my progression and I have been able to complete all my course work, including my practical work, from home, meeting deadlines, even whilst attending my medical appointments in Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester," he said.
"Studying at home isn’t quite the same as being on campus but I have made friends through the course and, like everyone else, have been keeping in touch online.
"I have also been able to get involved in some activities through SERC Students’ Union, who supported me to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation here in Northern Ireland during freshers’ week.
"I like to think that I have made some noise on the issue by sharing my story and that my letters to MLAs helped a little bit. I am delighted Northern Ireland will move to an opt-out system for organ donation in spring 2023.
"In my spare time I support my charity New Start, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester and have raised over £5,000 to date. I have always had a passion and interest in the creative media industry and have known, from a young age, exactly what I wanted to do.
"It has been great that I have been able to progress my ambitions with SERC."