SERC Construction Course Helps Baraa Design her Career Path 

0 min read

31 May 2024

Student Baraa Salaho sits at the computer as she prepares to complete her L3 course in Construction and the Built Environment

A Level 3 Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment has proved the right plan for one young woman who is looking forward to a career in architecture.  

Baraa Salaho, who is 21 and lives in Dunmurry, had not originally thought of a construction course, but a visit to SERC changed her mind. She explains:    “The path I expected to follow was A-Levels at school in Newry, but I wasn’t fully happy with my subjects at AS Level.  When we moved to Dunmurry around the end of Year 13, it was time for a new start, so I explored my options and initially decided on Applied Science at SERC, so I visited the SERC Lisburn Campus with my brother.   I sat in on his interview for a construction course and I realised as I listened that I really liked the sound of it! The lecturer was highly enthusiastic and engaging, so I contacted the SERC careers advisors and talked through my options. I decided to apply for the Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Construction and the Built Environment and was accepted.   

“I am so glad I made the decision to do construction! I enjoy the course and the facilities for learning. We have units where we use apps for designing, such as AutoCAD and Revit - I really like that aspect of the course, and as I hope to progress to architecture this will be really useful in the future.” 

Baraa has received four offers to study for an architecture degree, university and has her sights set on enrolling at Ulster University this autumn.  

Explaining what she enjoys most about her SERC course, she says,    “I like learning about building regulations, and health and safety too. The course is great, because you get experience as well as a qualification – I think schools focus on the qualification only, but at SERC, you get the practical aspects, too. A lot of it is project-based; I went to some university open days, and I know that we are doing modules which are equivalent to university modules. We’ve also had trips to workplaces, and some of the class got work experience in Malta last year."

Baraa’s passion for her course is evident, but she also says that SERC life outside the classroom is another big plus for students:     

“You are being cared about, never alone or left out. A lot of people in SERC, not just in your class, will talk to you and make you feel part of the college community. I have been class rep, so that is something I would not have had at school. Here, you are in class with all ages and backgrounds so that’s interesting. You feel like an adult. I am also taking an English Language GCSE, so I’m meeting even more people and I really like that.”   

Asked for any advice she would give to prospective students, Baraa immediately responds: “Don’t hesitate! I am so glad that I found this course. Just go for it. The Level 3 National Extended Diploma is the equivalent of three A-Levels, and it can lead to various construction pathways:  construction management; planning; regeneration; real estate; architectural technology…. So many!”  

Applications for courses starting from this September at SERC are now open online. You can come and explore your options at our open evening on Thursday 6 June at our Bangor, Downpatrick, Lisburn and Newtownards Campuses.