Sunday, 30 April, 2017

Without the access course I would not have been prepared for university

Posted on November 28, 2016 at 12:47 PM

John DuffyJohn Duffy worked in the private sector for over 20 years but when he became unemployed he decided he needed a new direction. He returned to education through the University College Dublin (UCD) access programme. Through the course, John developed a solid foundation of skills which prepared him for progression to a full-time third level programme. John received a huge amount of support which encouraged him on his learning journey and also helped change his negative perception of formal education.

“School wasn’t something I enjoyed”

I finished school in 1988 after sitting my Leaving Certificate. I didn’t do very well and to be honest, at that time in my life, school wasn’t something I enjoyed - it made me feel quite alienated. I began working as a desktop publisher and continued in this sector for over 20 years. Throughout this time, I completed a range of courses which helped me keep up to date in my work environment. Then I lost my job and I started to think about returning to education full-time.

“It’s nice to know you have someone on your side”

I decided on a QQI Level 5 course in cultural and heritage studies in St. Thomas Community College in Bray and I also attended the UCD access programme two evenings a week. I studied history, learning skills and sociology and in the beginning I found it quite nerve-wracking. However, I soon discovered the fantastic level of support that the access programme offered. Their door was always open and it was nice to know you had someone on your side, rooting for you.

“The support I received from the staff was one of the best things about the course”

Without the access course I would not have been prepared for university, I really would have been lost without it. It gave me a great foundation and provided me with the insight and skills I needed to progress forward. Most of all, the support I received from the staff was one of the best things about the course. I still receive great follow up support and they are always there if you need someone to listen or give advice. I am now a full-time student in UCD and I am in my second year of a NFQ Level 8 Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Archaeology. In the future I would love to find work in the museum or archelogy sector and I am really enjoying my studies.

“The access course changed my life, it prepared me for the road ahead”

Returning to education was the best thing I ever did. The access course changed my life, it prepared me for the road ahead and I am now successfully on my way to completing my degree. I never thought this would be possible and I credit my success to the encouragement and support that I received through the access programme. Returning to education has been a great experience for me. I would say to anyone who is afraid of taking that step to just go for it, it will improve all areas of your life and you won’t regret it. 

If you have an inspiring learner story that you would like to share you can contact Karen Williams, Learner Supports Officer by email:kwilliams@aontas.com, call 01 406 8220 or you can fill out our short learner story survey here:https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LearnerStory.

 

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