Magherafelt students get tech-savvy with Northern Regional College

  • Over 150 local primary and post-primary pupils from the Magherafelt area have taken part in an educational initiative to showcase computer science opportunities at Northern Regional College.

    The ‘Bring IT On’ event was designed in collaboration with local schools and IT businesses to encourage young people to consider a career in IT. It included a series of computer science workshops and coding activities for Year 11 – 14 pupils. Primary 7 pupils also attended the event and took part in the practical sessions.

    The event was supported by Kainos, The Centre of Secure Information Technologies at Queen’s University Belfast, DHSS and Career Encode, as well as local business owners and former Northern Regional College students, Darren Workman and Mark Simpson of iTek.

    iTek ran a practical workshop to show participants how to identify and fix faults in computer monitors. This was aimed at helping pupils develop their problem-solving skills and understand what a career in the industry might entail.

    Other practical sessions involved giving hands-on experience of C# on Visual Studio, animation on Animate and web design using HTML on Dreamweaver and game design.

    Organisers said these proved very popular with the visiting pupils as they were able to work on the college’s professional standard software which would not be available in their schools.

    Northern Regional College IT lecturer Judith Knox with Jake Martin and Hannah Kenning of Sperrin Integrated College.

    Judith Knox, IT lecturer at Northern Regional College said: “This was an ideal opportunity for us to showcase the computer science and coding courses available at the college.  Northern Ireland has become a global leader in this area and nowadays, a career in computing is much more than sitting at a keyboard in front of a screen all day: there are a diverse range of employers out there looking for bright, hard-working young people to fill really exciting roles.

    “We have plenty of intelligent, enthusiastic young people here in Northern Ireland; however, we need to make sure they have the right skill-set to fulfil these emerging roles. It is vital that young people have all the relevant information about available career paths so they can make informed choices. We would encourage them to consider all their options as there are many different pathways to success. For example Higher Level Apprenticeships, which allow young people to ‘earn as they learn’, can lead to a professional qualification but without the burden of student debt.”

    Participating schools at ‘Bring IT On’ included Sperrin Integrated College, Magherafelt High School, Spires Integrated Primary School, Holy Family Primary School and St Columba’s Primary School, Kilrea. The event was funded by the Depsrtment for the Economy.

    Northern Regional College offers several progression routes from GCSE and A-Level through to Higher National Certificate, Foundation Degree and Higher Level Apprenticeships in IT. For further information go to

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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