Friday, 28 July, 2017

What Next : How to get involved in adult learning?

Learners’ Stories


Read about people just like you who want to change their lives, their employment prospects or to continue learning for pure enjoyment:

Anita - Adult Learner

The Healthcare Support Programme for People who work as Carers Project has been shortlisted for an AONTAS Star Award 2014 in the Leinster category. Here Anita shares her story and talks about the impact that the project and DALC had on her life.

Anita left school at 13 and went to work in a sewing factory. Anita says of this time that she went home from work and out to play. She remained in the factory until the birth of her daughter Zoey. After seeing how her niece needed help with her homework, Anita realised she had to go back to education if she wanted to help her daughter succeed in school. Anita attended a 1:1 class first in the Dublin Adult Learning Centre (DALC), which led to a place on the centre’s Community Employment scheme. She went on to avail of intensive tuition, which led to her getting FETAC communications, FETAC Computer Literacy, Junior Certificate English and Maths.

Finding challenging work proved difficult for her. When DALC started up the Carer’s Course, Anita was asked if she was interested. She came on to the course and although she didn’t think she would be able for it, she is one of the first nine people to get the entire certificate at FETAC level 5. Her journey was tough but worth it.

“I started the course two years ago and I now have the full certificate, which is 8 modules, at level 5. I found the course very interesting. It was explained in the way that I needed it to be explained as I hadn‘t had a good education. Both the lecturer and the tutor made sure we had received the information that we needed. I would never have done it without the centre. I nearly had a meltdown when I started it; I kept on saying I couldn’t do it, it was too hard. As the modules went on, I would say to myself this is the second, this is the third and then I started to relax and enjoy the modules.

I learnt things I never knew existed. The amount you feel you can give a person in that line of work is great. You would give more time than you have to. However, the job is not for everyone. I feel coming into DLAC changed my life. I was thirty when I came in and I never looked back. I’m still in contact  with the centre. It’s like home from home”. Anita works as a Carer in her local community.


Des Mooney - Adult Learner

I spent my early years being told that I was not much good and wouldn't amount to much. I believed what was being said and I gave up, leaving school without any qualifications and drifting into an apprenticeship and subsequent trade. I was quite happy for a number of years but I found 'social' situations difficult and used alcohol to make them more bearable.

A family tragedy forced me to confront who I was becoming and I re-evaluated my lifestyle and gave up my trade. I met new people who began to influence me. I had always been interested in education and began to do short courses and I eventually did a Diploma, a Degree and have recently completed a MA in Higher Education. I have become a passionate advocate for education. As part of this process new careers beckoned, relationships became less frenetic and unmanageable; life has seemed easier to bear. The world has become a far more interesting place; I am married and have children, a house and a job I love doing. I have interests, friends and ambition. Corny really but adult education was the catalyst for all this. I am no longer blissfully unaware, rather I have become blissfully aware of what it is I have and what it means to me.

Sarah Lambe - Adult Learner

I was always made to feel stupid in school and was left with the belief that I wasn't worthy of an education. I left school at 14. With mainstream school not working for me, I did a year and a half in the Youthreach Programme. They had smaller classes, giving more attention to you as an individual. I sat N.C.V.A, now FETAC, which is equivalent to the Junior Cert, and I passed the exams. The teachers in Youthreach believed in me and cared.

Unfortunately I got caught up in the drug scene which destroyed all ambition to continue my education and better myself. Fortunately, my partner chose to get help for our drug problem and thanks to his support I turned my life around. I have always loved learning new things and I got involved through the Women's Resource Centre. I rekindled my interest in knowledge and I completed a FETAC level 3 course. The support I got from the staff there made me believe I could take this further and go on to third level.
I applied for a course in Education and Training in Whitehall College, an Access course to a Degree programme in DCU. With the support of a local organisation J.U.S.T, I stuck with it and successfully completed the Access course. I am currently in my third year of studying for a BSc in Education & Training at DCU and as I progress through the course I find that my study and language skills are developing.

Sir Francis Bacon wrote "Knowledge is Power". It's true, knowledge is power. To better yourself, to have a career, you need education. When I finish this course I hope I will be able to use that "power" to inspire and motivate other people who struggle in mainstream education the way I did.

To read more stories about inspiring adult learners, click here.


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