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Jonnie Rainnie

When deciding where to do his PGCE, the University of Worcester quickly became an obvious choice for Jonnie Rainnie.

The 22-year-old had done a first degree in Consumer Studies at the University of Ulster and came originally from Ballymena, and so he was looking for similar sized university and town to continue his studies.

“When I began looking at English universities, Worcester stood out for me in many ways,” Jonnie said. “I have always been interested in teaching children with special needs, and the PGCEs at Worcester offer pathways – additional areas of study within the same course – which is unusual among higher education institutions.

“When I decided to do my PGCE in Food Technology I also chose special needs as my additional pathway, which was the perfect combination for my career plans.”

Jonnie was also struck by the community ethos and high levels of support and pastoral care detailed in the university’s prospectus.

“Leaving Northern Ireland was my first time away from home and joining a smaller campus university in a reasonable-sized city was a seamless move for me,” he said. “I was very, very happy there both from a personal perspective, and also with the course.”

He now works as a subject leader for food at Mayfield, a special school in Birmingham, and was the first of his classmates to get a job. “Despite being in a field of more experienced candidates for the vacancy, I was told that the experience and knowledge I had gained at Worcester made me stand out,” Jonnie said.

“I am proud to have been graded as “outstanding” and this is down in no small part to our subject leader Sue Wood-Griffiths, whose own knowledge and expertise was second to none.”