I’m Kieran, I’m 18 from Northumberland and I was born with an eye condition known as Leber’s Amaurosis.
I study BTEC Level 3 IT and OCR Level 3 Media at the RNC. I am also proud to have been chosen as one of five learners at RNC studying towards a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) qualification as RNC has just become Europe’s first Cisco Networking Academy for people with visual impairments!
I always attended mainstream schools with specialist VI units. In first and middle school it was ok and I made some friends but when I got to high school less so. Someone mentioned the idea of specialist college to me when I was in Year 8; I came to RNC and thought it was brilliant. Funding was a problem because my local authority wanted me to go to a local college but they couldn’t offer me what I wanted. I can remember having the call to say I had been accepted for funding on at 4pm on a Friday in September 2013 and then I had to move down to RNC on the Sunday!
Life at RNC
I’ve always had quite an inquisitive mind with a particular interest in IT and technology in general; some may refer to me as a geek. As I am studying BTEC IT, some of the content is carried over into the Cisco course and it’s helped out with the networking unit but the majority of content is new. We have an exam every week but I am really enjoying it and it’s so interesting. I like the fact that we’re the first group to trial this – we’re setting it up for students in the future and finding different ways of doing things.
I love being on the Cisco course, we’re all interested in the same thing and there’s a mutual understanding that we all want to get the same thing out of it, it works really well having a mixture of older and younger learners on the course and we can learn from each other.
Teaching at RNC is good because if you have the right attitude then you can get on really well, get the work done and have fun. I love that there are teachers here who are visually impaired, you’re able to make light of it and you’re all on par. Teachers that come to RNC have the right training and just know what to do.
I know that through being a member of the Cisco Academy I will have the chance to access internships and get real work experience. Being visually impaired doesn’t limit me; I know that through Cisco I now have a viable alternative than going to university, which can lead me into a career related to what I love.
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