"I really feel like I am achieving something"

Julie-Anne Dalton is an adult learner, a healthcare worker, a mum and a wife. After many years outside of the workforce raising her family, an opportunity to help a friend with her disabled son reignited her passion for caring and she decided to pursue this as a career. Julie-Anne gained employment as a healthcare worker with Comfort Keepers and is currently completing her Level 5 course with great support from her employer, family and friends.

“For me school was not an enjoyable experience”

I stuck it out and completed my Leaving Certificate but no matter how hard I worked, I never felt like I achieved the results that I deserved. I always felt like the teachers were going at too fast a pace and it was difficult for me to take in the information. “I decided that I needed to do something for myself” When I finally left school, I worked at various jobs doing accounts. I got married and gave up work to raise my sons. This was my full-time job and one that I found extremely enjoyable. Following a traumatic time in my life in which I lost my son, I decided that I needed to do something for myself. To be honest, I wasn’t sure where to turn. I began helping a very close friend with the care of her disabled son and I realised how enjoyable and rewarding I found the experience. For the first time in a while, I felt like I had a purpose.

“The course has equipped me with the knowledge and expertise to deal with a variety of situations”

It was very daunting but with the encouragement of my family and friends, I decided to explore the possibility of returning to education so I could work in the healthcare sector. Following successful employment with a company called Comfort Keepers, they offered me an opportunity to complete my QQI Level 5 course in healthcare. So far the course has equipped me with the knowledge and expertise to deal with a variety of situations and this helps me in my day-to-day work. The course is also QQI accredited which is great as it provides me with the skills necessary for working in a healthcare role and I really feel like I am achieving something.

“I am excited for what the future holds”

I am enjoying my work as a carer and my hope for the future is to specialise in the area of palliative care. I would encourage anyone who is thinking of returning to education to do it. I have obtained distinctions in my first two modules, which I never thought would be possible. Finally, my hard work is paying off. Returning to work and education has been an amazing experience. I am now doing a job that I love and I am looking forward to the future.

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: