"I now have a clearer picture of what I want to do with my life"

People who go back to education or take different paths in their learning often talk to us about their experiences. They want to encourage others to follow their own education dreams. Here, David Lucey shares his story of doing different short courses at Cork College of FET Dunmanway Centre, and how the experience has impacted him. For more on taking the first step back to learning, check out

I wasn’t nervous at all going into my local centre, Dunmanway FET, for the first time. I achieved my goals and had support from people I knew: family, friends, tutors, classmates and CoAction staff among others.

Over the last few years, I’ve done the following courses at the Dunmanway FET Centre: Computer Literacy QQI L3, Community Participation QQI L3, Introduction to Digital Photography QQI L3, Health & Fitness QQI L3, Spreadsheets QQI L3, Relaxation Techniques QQI L2, Using Technology QQI L2, Word Processing QQI L3, Computer Skills QQI L2, Personal Effectiveness QQI L3. I also did two non-accredited courses: Conversational Irish and Health and Wellness. Most courses were 12 weeks long.

David Lucey
A friend did a search on Facebook for pages about Dunmanway and the Dunmanway FET centre page came up in the search results. I didn’t know there was a centre in Dunmanway. I Facebook messaged, emailed and phoned the centre’s coordinator Dorothy Beamish for nearly a year during lockdown. I first called into the centre in August 2021 when restrictions were starting to be lifted and met Dorothy inside. The facility had a welcoming vibe. I had never been in there before. Dorothy said it was lovely meeting me in person. I put my name down for a few courses starting that September. 

I learned more about computers, personal effectiveness, photography, community participation, relaxation techniques and health & fitness. I learned how to take better photos and use a digital camera. I learned about MyGovID, the Public Services Card, passphrases, WhatsApp, cookies and Mobile Data among other things. I learned about Ctrl shortcuts, file management and terminology. I really like my tutors. They give good feedback and go the extra mile for learners. They are nice and helpful. They understand me and that means a lot. 

I learned lots I didn’t know before. I met lots of nice people and got better at socialising and public speaking through doing the courses. Meeting so many people helped me to feel confident enough to go to a friend’s wedding reception on my own last year and I enjoyed it, even though I only knew the groom and his parents. I’ve started to improve my teaching skills in the last few weeks through helping other learners. Teaching is something I might have an interest in doing now. I now have a clearer picture of what I want to do with my life. 

I hope in the future to work in the field of psychology or wellness and maybe a side job in data entry, maybe go to college and do evening classes in a few years’ time. The skills I’ve learned so far in personal effectiveness and computers will help with what’s covered in those courses (e.g. making the most of one’s resources or learning Microsoft Office skills). Other career options I’ve thought of are acting, teaching, tourism and research. 

In FET, there’s something for everyone. And there’s no harm trying a course out. What’s the worst that can happen? 

Learn more by visiting today or call us on freephone 1800 303 669 and chat with a member of the AONTAS team!