I am Maria Shinners and I moved to Ireland in 2018. I have 2 art degrees but struggled to join the work environment in Ireland. I have small children, and being new to a country made me feel very out of sorts. I doubted myself and my abilities. Before moving here, I cared for my Mother for 6 years, and was interested in educating myself in becoming a qualified carer.
I got in contact with Vicki Kelly, Head of the Personal Development Programme, and went to the SECAD office, extremely nervous and scared. She put me at ease within minutes.
We started the program with a lovely personal development session, looking at ourselves and what we wanted to achieve. It helped me get my priorities in place and focus on myself for once.
When COVID-19 struck, we were all left lost. Vicki soon got all the Zoom and Moodle platforms sorted, and we moved online. It was great to see our friends and talk to other woman during this hard time, being stuck at home and unsure of the future.
“I feel confident and proud of who I am and that I will be ready to enter the work force again, adding value to my life and others”
We grew as a group. At first, no one ever said anything in the classroom. Everyone was scared of being wrong. Now we are all so confident, not scared of being wrong. We share our fears and opinions freely. We learn and complete modules, while supporting each other.
It is the best thing that has happened to me. I feel confident and proud of who I am and that I will be ready to enter the work force again, adding value to my life and others. I found my voice because of this programme and I found that lifelong learning is really of value.
Thinking of returning to education as an adult? You may find the following resources helpful:
One Step Up: https://www.onestepup.ie/
Fetch Courses: https://www.fetchcourses.ie/