17 May 2022

Derry teenager recognised for the work he has done in the face of personal tragedy

Aodhan Roberts honoured as part of part of Derry Credit Union's Young People's Awards

Aodhan Roberts

Aodhan Roberts with his award.

A Derry teenager has won a major award for his ongoing determination to secure his dream job.

Despite losing his mother, Paula, to cancer last October, 17-year-old Aodhán Roberts has not only continued his studies at the North West Regional College (NWRC) but has also set up his own media business.

Aodhán runs his own social media channels called @derryfootage and has supplied material for a host of media outlets in the past year.

As a result, Aodhán was the winner of Business and Entrepreneurship Category in the 2020 Derry Credit Union Young People's Awards.

The awards were set up by Derry Credit Union to reward teenagers who make the lives of those around them better.

Aodhán enrolled on the Creative Media Production (Film and TV) course at NWRC in September 2019.

Throughout his mother’s illness, Aodhán continued to attend classes at NWRC during the day, and spend his nights with her at the Foyle Hospice.

Aodhán continued this routine for weeks, as his mother bravely fought her illness.

Aodhán says the support he received at NWRC has helped him cope with many difficult situations as well as step closer to his dream job of working full time in the media industry.

“Attending the North West Regional College has been truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” he said.

“Not only does it provide you with a modern learning environment that enables you to strive for the best possible progression in the future, it’s very diverse, and that in my opinion is where the strength of the college comes from.

“We have people from a range of demographic characteristics, but still, there is no judgement from anybody at the college – everybody is treated so respectfully, appropriately and equally.

“There’s so much to do, from joining a number of different clubs and societies, to representing your class and the college during events.

“My main goal in the future is to educate and inspire others through my own experience, shine a light on topics that nobody else will, while reflecting on the unique sense of community from around the world.

“You really never realise whether you're going to have an effect, or how important your example will be to someone else - so making the difference is important. You just have to give back and pick up.”

Aodhán was also recently awarded first prize in the Northern Ireland Colleges Media Awards, a prestigious annual competition open to media/journalism students at all six further education colleges in Northern Ireland.

Aodhán triumphed in the Moving Image Factual Category, for his documentary ‘Impairment,’ made with fellow student James Dalzell and Joni Dixon-Murphy.

The documentary investigated the impact of drink-driving.

He is also using his experience coping with dyslexia, anxiety and depression to encourage other students coping with struggles in their education.

Suzanne Rodgers, Curriculum Manager for Media at NWRC, praised the Derry teenager for his work over the past year.

“Aodhán is an inspiration who showcases clear entrepreneurship. His work speaks for itself,” she said.

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