My name is Audrey. I am a 44-year-old mother. I worked full time in office work and when I started having children this changed to part time. After the birth of my fourth child I decided to give up work and become a full-time, stay at home Mom. I thoroughly loved being at home with the children but when my youngest went into 1st class I had more time to myself and decided I wanted to do something for me.
“I thought to myself ‘What have I signed up for? I won’t be able for this.’ My memories from school in my youth were not the best and having left my secondary level schooling early I always lacked confidence in myself academically.”
I remember the September of that year and the start of the Healthcare course. I was sick to my stomach and even cried because I thought to myself “What have I signed up for? I won’t be able for this.” My memories from school in my youth were not the best and having left my secondary level schooling early I always lacked confidence in myself academically. The words ‘assignment’ and ‘exam’ put the fear of God in me and almost sent me running but I’m glad I didn’t run and now I have two major awards and a job I love.
In the beginning there were moments where the memories from school resurfaced and with these were the emotions. On one particular occasion I was asked to read something out loud during a lesson. I was shocked by my feelings, but I did it and I couldn’t hold back the tears. They were tears of fear, relief and pride. Ironically at our recent graduation I was asked to speak and without hesitation I agreed. There were more tears on the day. This time only tears of joy, self-worth and huge pride as I said in my speech, “Today is a day to celebrate our brilliance” and that is exactly how I felt.
“I soon discovered that adult education is greatly different to what I remember school to be when I was younger.”
Where the course work is concerned I enjoyed the learning. I soon discovered that adult education is greatly different to what I remember school to be when I was younger. It wasn’t long and the word ‘assignment’ changed from fear to challenge and it was a challenge that I enjoyed. I just needed a nudge to get the cogs in my brain to start working again.
During the Work Experience module I discovered my passion and talent for communicating with the elderly. I was fortunate to have been able to gain experience in a nursing home and a day care centre. What I loved above all else was making connections with the residents and centre users. I took it upon myself to do a course in Activity Provision for Older People in a Care Setting. This made a lovely addition to my newly updated and rejuvenated CV.
An advert was brought to my attention for a part time position as a Therapeutic Recreation Facilitator and with my newfound skills and confidence I applied for the position and got an interview. So armed with my marvellous CV and newly learned interview techniques I attended the interview and got the job. I’ve had further training and completed additional relevant courses and I absolutely love what I do. I know without a doubt that none of this would have been possible without having participated in the Healthcare Opportunities for Woman programme.
“The camaraderie among the class was remarkable. Each and every one of us was there for the other, whether it was personal or course related, through good times and bad.”
There was more to the course than the academics. Our amazing tutor played a huge role in forming a class of mature women who bonded like a family. This bond and the support from the course coordinator and tutors were the key components in getting us across the finish line. The course was run at our pace, with gentle pushing forwards when required. The class conversations which sometimes went on a bit, the group work, the salsa dancing when we were tired after an intense lesson and the special lunches with always too much food, all added to the learning and our subsequent success. The camaraderie among the class was remarkable. Each and every one of us was there for the other, whether it was personal or course related, through good times and bad.
Taking part in this programme has given me a strengthened sense of seize the moment and the courage to step out of my comfort zone because I now know that I am capable.
Learn more about the STAR Award winning project here.
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/