South West College allows Local Accountant Lauren to Learn on the Job

South West College allows Local Accountant Lauren to Learn on the Job
March, 2021

Lauren McCrory from Omagh, says her time studying ACCA Applied Skills at South West College~(SWC)  has allowed her to gain a practical and theoretical education that has been central to her workplace success. 


Lauren initially enrolled to the Higher-Level Apprenticeship Accounting Technicians Ireland course, which she studied for 2 years to obtain the fundamental modules of accounting, before progressing to ACCA. She is now at the final stages of the ACCA Applied Skills exams and hopes to embark on the Strategic Professional exams in the near future. 


Throughout her time studying at South West College, Lauren has been employed in accountancy. She says: “Studying with SWC taught me more than what you can learn from a textbook. SWC teaches you independence, resilience, and determination. I believe SWC instils a strong work ethic in young professionals like myself. Notably with the ACCA course, you get out what you put in.” 


Lauren’s journey with South West College started when, upon leaving school, she decided that the traditional University route was not for her. She enrolled at South West College and began a summer placement with McElholm & Co, based in Omagh.  


Lauren says, “I loved working there so much I stayed for almost 4 years. My boss was highly encouraging of furthering my education, specifically in accountancy, and I was fully supported throughout my studies in SWC. Many of my co-workers there were also studying with ACCA, so it made perfect sense to enrol in the course too.”  


After leaving McElholm’s, Lauren joined Frylite in Strabane. She says, “moving from a practice-based area to industry was a massive change for me, but I know it was valuable to make the leap. I feel at the age of 24, with almost 6 years’ experience in the field, it has made my studies more relevant as I have exposure to a range of areas.” 


Throughout her time working, Lauren was continuing her academic studies, a balance she believes would not have been possible if she’d chosen to go to university. “I believe had I chosen the university route I would have missed out on an abundance of life experience both personally and professionally. Studying elements of the curriculum you have real life experience and makes it much easier to understand, and vice versa with working on tasks you have already studied. 


“I feel extremely lucky that SWC is right on my doorstep. I have had many teachers along the way in the college and each and every one was so helpful in ensuring the success of myself and my classmates. The staff are the main reason we all made it through the tough exams. They keep everyone motivated to accomplish what they set out to do, become qualified. I look forward to finishing my accreditation with SWC and will be eternally grateful for the opportunity.”