I was 18 years old, just finished school and working on a building site in 2005. I had financial barriers to going to college, I was afraid of moving away from home and I didn’t really understand the full benefit a college education could be. The supports provided from HEAR encouraged me to come to college and also helped me massively along the way. Just simply making friends, knowing there was a place in the college I could go with my questions and all the additional financial and academic supports too.
Despite being the first person in my family to go to college, thanks to the support of the HEAR programme in 2009 I graduated top of my class with a first class honours degree as a qualified teacher. I was encouraged to do a PhD and returned to study in UL as a postgraduate. I am hoping to complete my doctorate this year. I have worked in the University of Limerick since 2009 across five different departments in a variety of roles; support worker, tutor, lecturer, project coordinator and many more. I have achieved a lot by the age of 26 and none of this would have been possible with the HEAR programme; I can’t imagine what my life would be like if they hadn’t got me off that building site.