A Carrickfergus duo will be taking up places in higher education after each received the prestigious JP McManus scholarship.
Clare Magowan and Chloe Morrison were two of 25 students from Northern Ireland to pick up the award at a recent event in the University Concert Hall, Limerick.
The JP McManus scheme provides financial assistance to students across Ireland from low-income households who are intending to take up higher education places.
The scholarships are worth £5,500 per year to students from Northern Ireland.
Clare, who attended Belfast Metropolitan College’s Castlereagh campus, was nominated for the honour by her lecturer.
She has volunteered for events such as World Police and Fire Games and Tall Ships Belfast.
Clare will go on to study for a BA (Honours) in History and Psychology at Ulster University, with a career in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service one possible option.
Meanwhile, Chloe is a past pupil of the BTEC in Dance course at Belfast Met.
The Carrick student has won several dance titles at All-Ireland, Northern Ireland and Ulster championships over the last five years, in solo, duet and team competitions.
Following her nomination for the scholarship, she took up a place studying BA (Honours) in Dance at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England.
Chloe plans to work as professional dancer, preferably in a dance company.
The awards were presented by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry together with Jan O’Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Farry said: “I commend JP McManus for his continued support in providing these scholarships, which make a real difference to the lives of students looking to gain all the benefits from higher education.
“My Department’s Widening Participation Strategy, ‘Access to Success’, demonstrates my commitment to ensuring that those who are most able but least likely to participate in higher education should be given every encouragement and support to gain these qualifications.
“This scholarship will help to support this commitment to widening participation by ensuring that all young people, irrespective of their background, have the opportunity to access higher education.”
Education Minister John O’Dowd added: “Access to third level education opens up a world of opportunities. I offer my warmest congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards and wish each of them every success.”