“Coming to the College has changed my life” – A Personal Account – Studying with Orkney College UHI

Finishing her course , NC in Art & Design, this week TJ White reflects on studying at Orkney College UHI. She will be returning after the summer break to begin her studies on the NC Administration course. 

 “The NC Art & Design course has made me feel like I can be part of the World again since falling ill. I plan  to continue drawing and will be doing plenty of it over the summer before I come back to Orkney College UHI to start the NC Administration course.

 “It may seem a bit of a side swerve doing an administration course after an art and design one, but I used to work in admin many years ago and I feel that the NC in Administration will help me enhance my skills in the future and to have a fulfilling career”.

 “Orkney College UHI has been so accommodating towards me and my assistance dog Leo. Everyone at the College has been helpful, supportive and just generally fantastic!

“Coming to the College has changed my life, when I first came here I wouldn’t speak to anyone and keep myself to myself. Since coming to Orkney College UHI I have attended student events as part of the Highlands and Islands Student Association, I have been a class representative and I have even been mentioned in the Scottish Parliament after raising issues about accessibility on Orkney’s external ferry services. This was all made possible because of Orkney College and the staff there”.

TJ White Orkney College

 TJ  wasn’t the only individual completing their studies this week, TJ’s assistance dog Leo (aged 3) attended an unofficial graduation ceremony at Orkney College UHI ahead of him completing his training with charity Canine Partners. This ceremony was ahead of Leo travelling to Leicester on the 11th June to officially complete his assistance dog training with the charity Canine Partners. According to the charity, the estimated cost of an assistance dog from pup to retirement is £20,000 per dog. The charity is also entirely reliant upon donations for funding and receives no assistance from the government.

 Assistant Principal Tom Duff said;

 “The ‘graduation ceremony’ we had for Leo today was to mark the difference he has made to TJ’s life and wellbeing, as well as recognising the work other dogs like him do.”.

 “Leo has become a feature of the daily life here at Orkney College UHI and is very popular amongst students and staff. People often forget though that Leo is a working dog, and when I first met him I saw the bond between him and TJ. After speaking to TJ it is warming hear that she has always felt included in College life.”

 “I am delighted to see that TJ has completed her studies on the NC Art and Design course and I am looking forward to welcoming her and Leo back after the summer when she begins the NC in Administration”.

 “It is very heartening when you get to know TJ to see how far she has come, not just academically, put personally too. TJ’s success is a credit to herself, fellow students and staff at Orkney College UHI”.


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