Theo Papadopoulos – a helping hand is all you need!

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Southern Regional College

30th Jun 2023

Theo Papadopoulos is a shining example of what can be achieved with a little bit of help.  Theo travels from Newry to Southern Regional College’s Armagh campus to undertake the Performing and Production Arts Level 3 Extended Diploma, the equivalent of three A-levels.

Currently at the end of the first year of his two-year course, Theo is keen to reflect on his experience and how he came to apply for the course.  Like many young adults finishing off GCSEs, Theo was keen to explore available education opportunities.  However, Theo is not any young person; Theo has additional learning needs, so finding the right course and more importantly the right support is essential.

Theo first visited the Armagh campus on one of SRC’s open days.  There, Theo received a tour of the newly built campus and met with course and learning support staff on hand offering guidance.  But Theo is not one rush into decisions, Theo met with learning support staff not once, but several times to discuss support plans, and to get to know the Campus and lecturers better.

Learning Support Coordinator Lorraine Abbott became Theo’s initial point of contact.  Theo commented:

“Lorraine took me round each room and other places on campus I could go if I began to feel stressed. I was shown what resources where available to me, how to use them and where I could find them. 

Lorraine also told me that I could come to the Learning Support office at any time if I needed advice or any additional equipment.

Seeing all the resources available and having a plan of the support I would be getting made my decision; I choose to apply to SRC instead of returning to secondary school. What is offered at SRC to those with additional learning needs is significant and was a deciding factor for me”.  

At SRC, Theo has a range of services available to help him achieve his potential.  From mentoring support (to help with planning and organising workloads and breaking projects down into manageable chunks); a SmartPen (which helps with processing information and taking notes), to a free anonymous counselling service available to all students, and the Sensory Hub.  The Sensory Hun is an easy to use, immersive space for students who may be suffering from sensory overload or anxiety. It can be personalised and will help students self-regulate.  While Theo has not had to use the Sensory Hub, knowing it’s there is reassuring.

Theo commented: “Mentoring has been really beneficial and allows me to take a step back and prepare myself instead of rushing into things. It has really helped my planning and organising skills and has also improved my productivity by giving me strategies to remain calm and not get overwhelmed.”

Reflecting on his first year at the College, Theo has incredibly positive, saying: “It’s been a blast!

The College welcomes applications from students requiring additional support.  To find out more information or speak with a member of the College’s Learning Support team, refer to: www.src.ac.uk/student-life/student-support/learning-support