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Student who overcame near death experience pursues dream at college

A local teenager who survived a near death experience is currently pursuing her dream of working in the hospitality industry by studying at her local further education college, SERC. Lauren-Rose Steenson, from Newcastle sustained a fractured skull in a fall back in 2016.  

Lauren-Rose is currently in first year of her Level 2 Diploma in Professional Food and Beverage Service at SERC's Downpatrick campus. The 19-year-old is already a stand-out student having achieved distinctions in her coursework.  

She decided to enrol at SERC after a friend suggested and encouraged her to apply. She has found solace from her study and an unexpected passion for hospitality.  

Lauren-Rose explained: "After the accident I didn’t think I would be able to attend college at all and be house bound. I felt I was lost with no future to look forward to. My recovery has been a lengthy and difficult process and I still get pains, suffer from blackouts and have a lack of concentration. I always knew how much fun and enjoyment I got from working with people, so when I discovered this course was available at SERCs Downpatrick campus I was delighted."  

Having left school with no GCSE’s, Lauren-Rose has developed her ability and passion for hospitality and remarkably achieved 100% in a recent exam. Her resilience and passion for a hospitality career is translating into success. “The supportive atmosphere at SERC and my classmates helped me achieve the success and the motivation to do even better”, Lauren-Rose said.

Since beginning the course, Lauren-Rose has enjoyed mastering the skills of the trade. Tutor Michelle McCarthy explains, “Lauren-Rose has grown tremendously in confidence and developed a range of transferrable skills which will help her excel in the workplace and look great on her CV. I have been delighted to support her and to her credit, she has worked incredibly hard to achieve such success on this course. She really is an inspiration.”  

Speaking of her tutor Michelle McCarthy, Lauren said, “Michelle really motivates me to achieve my full potential. The learning at SERC is family-like and more relaxed compared to school which suits me. The first day of college was a bit daunting, but everyone was really friendly and willing to help. The course is fun and enjoyable and it’s really not like work at all. I love coming into college.”   As part of her qualification, Lauren-Rose gets real life experience by working in the colleges very own commercial restaurant, the McNeill Room. A typical day includes serving afternoon tea to customers and creating a concoction of cocktails on a Thursday night which she thoroughly enjoys!  

Lauren-Rose is currently applying for work placement and plans to progress to the Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Supervision in Food and Beverage Services course before going onto the Foundation Degree in Hospitality, Tourism and Events at SERC. Her dream is to travel the world to experience different foods and cultures and to one day become a hotel manager, or even start-up her very own business.  

Applications for all full-time and part-time courses are now open and students can apply online at apply.serc.ac.uk. To find out how SERC can help you ‘get the edge’ call 0345 600 7555, visit www.serc.ac.uk or find us on Facebook, search: SERC.  

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