Returning to education has changed my life and I feel I can do anything now

The 2nd European Vocational Skills Week takes place from the 20th to 24th November 2017. As National Coordinator for the European Agenda for Adult Learning, AONTAS is sharing FET learner stories throughout the week. Today Sabrina shares her experience of returning to education in East Clare Adult Education Centre and how it has given her a renewed confidence, and had an impact on her whole family.

My name is Sabrina. I am thirty-four years old. I’m married and have two children. I’m a homemaker and enjoy looking after my family. I left education at sixteen after my Junior Cert. I’m dyslexic and found school very hard and didn’t enjoy my time there. I heard about my local Adult Education Centre through my sister. She went there and got on great.

I decided to visit the centre to enquire about a computer course. I started a Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Level 2 course and finished it. I then had my second child and didn’t return to education again for another three years.

Our class was able to bring our learning back to our estates, we won a number of awards in “Best Kept Estate”

When I returned to education again I started a QQI Level 2 Horticulture course and progressed to the next level as I loved it and learned so much. I have lots of plants, flowers and fruits growing at home. I help my sisters with their plants and anyone else that needs help when it comes to planting, growing and feeding their plants. Our class was able to bring our learning back to our estates we won a number of awards in “Best Kept Estate” competition sponsored by the Clare County Council.

As well as our QQI achievements we are able to have a laugh and enjoy a variety of different projects. As part of our QQI Horticulture course, we sowed seeds, nurtured them, sold our produce at Scariff Harbour Festival and were able to make a generous donation to the local Brothers of Charity Services.  I’m also in the Knitting group where we knit children’s handbags for the Shoe Box Appeal and also caps for Innocent Juice who donate 30c to Age Action Ireland, to help keep older people warm in the winter.

I’ve done Career Preparation which I really enjoyed and had so much fun doing it

Classes are organised to suit parents dropping and picking up children from school. I’m progressing through my Level 3 module by module to suit my needs. I’ve done Career Preparation which I really enjoyed, I had so much fun doing it and learned a lot in the process. I picked up computers again and I have Internet Skills completed, I am now doing Microsoft Word.

My family were also able to make changes to their lives as a result of my contact with the centre. My sister became a Firefighter this year and my husband is doing a Welding course in Shannon this autumn. My mum just retired and will be joining up in the New Year.

I feel very confident in the things I do now

For myself, since I started in adult education, my improvement in reading and spelling has increased my confidence. I feel very confident in the things I do now. I’ve made friends for life. We have so much fun together and we learn something new every day we are there.

Even helping my children with their homework I used to find to find so hard, but now I can do it; it’s a great feeling. I’m so grateful to the coordinators and everyone in the Scariff Adult Learning Centre. Returning to education has changed my life and I feel I can do anything because of it.

If you have an inspiring learner story that you would like to share you can contact Leah Dowdall, Learner Advocacy Officer by email:, call 01 406 8220 or you can fill out our short learner story survey here: