"Whatever your reason is, always know there are different pathways to education and learning."

Jordan Walsh

I never really enjoyed school or formal education if I’m being honest. If someone said to me after I left school that, not only would I go back but also that I would enjoy school I would have laughed.

The experience I had at Youthreach, Further Education and Training Centre, O’Connell Avenue Campus, Limerick was amazing. I went back to graduate with a Leaving Certificate and I’m delighted to say I achieved my goal and had an amazing time while doing so.

I could write pages about how the experience completely changed my future and me as a person. I decided to go back not only to prove to myself I was capable of obtaining a Leaving Cert but because I wanted a better life for myself. In the two years I spent at Youthreach I met amazing people and had many great moments that I’ll always remember. I was also able to pursue a career path I always thought impossible but thanks to my co-ordinator and career guidance counsellor I went on to do two courses in my chosen field and, as of next week, will have my City and Guilds Diploma in Advanced Barbering.

Yes, this year was strange, working remotely during the national crisis. COVID-19 really did change things, it made the last few months very challenging. I really missed being in school. When it came to the results day, everything was different to how I thought it would be originally when I started my studies. I always pictured a big celebration and all the class being together but it was not to be. I was able to go in and meet with two teachers to get my results online in the centre. We all had staggered appointments. It was strange but it was still great to be there and we all understood the reasons why. At the end of the day I was so happy with my results and everyone was safe. That was the main thing.

I hope in a few years’ time I’ll receive a call asking me to speak to learners of the future and share the amazing stories and experiences I’ve had because I attended Youthreach.

Whatever your reason is, always know there are different pathways to education and learning. O’Connell Avenue Campus Youthreach is one of those wonderful pathways.

To find out more about Youthreach programmes in your local ETB, go to


Thinking of returning to education as an adult? You may find the following resources useful:

Find Your Local Education and Training Board: 

One Step 

Fetch Courses