SERC’s Downpatrick Campus has Designs on Interiors

Posted By:
South Eastern Regional College (SERC)

25th Jan 2022

The new OCN Level 2 Award in Interior Design commences at the College’s Downpatrick Campus on Thursday 17 February and runs one day per week until 19 June.

Course tutor Sharon Castles said, “This is a fantastic starting point for everyone who loves interiors and would like to create dream rooms for themselves or for others.

She added, “The course covers the main elements to consider for interior design, including creating plans and elevations and mood boards, scale and spatial planning, colour theory and design, historical development, ideas and trends, lighting products and plans. The course has a hands-on element, with students getting the opportunity to work on design projects as well as built in preparation for employment in the creative and cultural industries.

“Another exciting part of the course is our student enterprise HomeWorks, which gives students the experience of working on a live brief for fellow students, staff and clients outside the College as part of our Project Based Learning.   This means students have the experience of taking a design brief from start to completion, including documenting the job for pricing and construction.

Several past students of SERC’s Interior Design courses have gone on to set up their own business, including local businesswomen, Grainne Quinn, Iconic Interior Design, who was recently shortlisted for an Ulster Tatler Interior Designer of the Year Award.

Grainne, from Leitrim in County Down, describes her vibe as quirky and colourful, specialises in both residential and commercial interiors. She hit the mark for the vibrant interior of Grainne McCoy’s (series 12 of The Apprentice) Give Us Beauty store in Newry, the Donard Bar Newcastle, Mourne Golf Club and a host of residential clients – including DJ Ben Nicky’s Saintfield home – creating everything from hotel chic bathrooms to complete interiors.

Grainne, said, “It seems a life time since I studied Interior Design at SERC in 2014-15. I had a young family when I was studying, so waited until 2017 to set up my business in Castlewellan.  However, local people will have been familiar with my store which was on the main street in Newcastle. At the minute, I work from my new home studio in Leitrim and have recently launched an online store, Iconic Online (

“I am delighted to see the new Interior Design course offered at Downpatrick Campus.  It is a perfect course for someone who wants to pursue a career in one of the many roles in the industry, for their own self-development, or perhaps they have ambitions to set up on their own.   The camaraderie on the course is fantastic, you will meet lots of people interested in interiors, and although it might be a steep learning curve, Sharon makes the course fun and enjoyable.”

There are no formal entry requirements and prior knowledge of interior design is not required. However, learners must be at least 16 years old. The Level 2 Award offers progression to the OCN Level 3 Award in Interior Design which is also available at SERC.

Anyone interested in applying for the February 17th intake should apply online.

Pictured above:

Designs on Interiors: (L -R) Local businesswomen and past interior design student at SERC, Grainne Quinn from Iconic Interior Design helps launch the new OCN Level 2 Award in Interior Design at the College’s Downpatrick Campus with SERC Interior Design Lecturer, Sharon Castles.   The new course commences on Thursday 17 February and runs one day per week until 19 June.