Are you one of the thousands of adults who wrote ‘Education’ on their list of New Year Resolutions this year? Congratulations if you are ready to take that step!
There are so many benefits to returning to education: career development, greater self-confidence, meeting new people, developing new skills…but here, don’t take our word for it. Here’s what NCI student Martin Carass had to say about coming back to the classroom. This interview first appeared in the Irish Independent:
When Martin Carass was made redundant he had some initial fears about coming back to the classroom.
“I went straight to work from secondary school”, said the 61-year-old former construction worker from Tallaght. “I had done some continual professional development over the years, at weekends and in the evenings, but this was a very different proposition.”
Martin said his initial fears were that he was too old to embark on a course of study. “I thought I would look around me at a sea of 20-year-old faces”, he said. “In fact, there was a diverse group of people in the class, from 27 up to at least one student older than me. They were from all walks of life. Listening to their perspectives, over a coffee or in the classroom, really opened up the mind. I learned that you’re never too old.”
In fact, Martin’s prior experience proved invaluable. He was admitted to the Postgraduate Diploma in Management at National College of Ireland, under the college’s Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning scheme. This recognised the skills and knowledge Martin had developed from 44 years in the construction industry – skills like project management, managing staff and problem solving.
That’s not to say that he found the transition easy. “It was very difficult at first, and I was nervous to give my opinions in class. But the lecturers were so friendly that I settled in soon enough. They push you to bring out the best, but there’s a relaxed, friendly atmosphere in the college at the same time. The facilities are excellent too – I could access the systems from home, which made things easier.”
The programme was offered through Springboard – a government funded programme aimed at those who have lost their jobs. “My skills have increased immeasurably on the course,” said Martin, “and the scope of the roles I can apply for has broadened out a hundredfold. My vocabulary has expanded and my confidence has grown. 12 months ago, if you’d asked me about getting a job, I’d have said I hadn’t a chance. Now, I would be very confident about finding a new position.”