Where are they now?

As the College continues to celebrate our 25th year anniversary delivering education and training to the disability and wider non-profit sector, we have asked graduates to inform us of where they are and how their OTC education has had an impact on service delivery. This is the first in a series that we hope to share with you all in the coming months.

Orla Murray, Social Care graduate, 2009

I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Applied Social Studies (Disability), with the Open Training College in 2009. The time has flown by and I can honestly say that the learning and the qualification from the OTC has supported my professional confidence in obtaining roles which have helped to progress my own career since then.

I am currently a Social Care Leader, managing an innovative training centre for young adults called ‘Turas’ since November 2014. Turas is a person centred, day training service for school leavers and young adults, based on a further education model.

Turas supports its students to self direct their own service under 5 main areas: QQI accredited training, supported employment, community participation, the development of their individual social roles and supporting each student to develop skills in independent living.

The key to student success is ‘Education’ and ‘Total Communication’, adapting communication tools and supports and learning from new experiences, to enable each individual student to direct their own path.

While studying with the OTC we learned about ‘clocks in social care’,  managing your time and the service time. This learning has been imperative to the daily structure/timetable in Turas that has allowed us to successfully deliver QQI Level 2 modules to 47 participants since February 2015.

A fun example of learning through new experiences is where students show us what they would do if they had a ‘Perfect Day’. Each individual uses over 80 + visuals, picking out the activities they would do in a perfect day, and puts each activity onto a planning board. Every 6 weeks, a day is scheduled in their individual timetables and every student has a ‘Perfect Day’. Here are just a few activities from students’ perfect days: Man Utd match, train journey to Belfast, boat trip, army barracks tour…

Throughout the three years studying with the OTC, being truly person centred was always at the forefront. A service should evolve with the individual throughout their life, and that is what Turas strives to do, through positive risk taking and reflection at every turn. In college we learned about the process of  teaching a new task/ skill. This learning has aided me to support students to take positive risk on their road to independence e.g. travel training and independence in their communities.

Turas students are empowered to direct their own path and that there is no such thing as “No or Can’t”, but “How Can We?” The OTC helped put that foundation stone in place at our service.

Best wishes to the OTC on their 25 year anniversary.

For further information, please contact Conor on 01-2990580 or at cmurray@opentrainingcollege.com.