While many people can find the idea of going back to education a daunting one, the pay-off is absolutely massive.
Dublin man Robert, from Coolock, is living proof of this after he decided to take the leap.
Robert is currently attending classes at Colaiste Dhulaigh FE College, which is part of the City of Dublin ETB. While opening up about why he decided to return to education he said:
“I’d been out looking for work and obviously I can’t get anywhere because I haven’t got any qualifications, after leaving school at a young age, so I came here to get my qualifications. I couldn’t read or write, so I wanted to brush up on that.”
At the moment, there is currently over 60,000 adults attending adult literacy courses in ETBs around the country.
If one of your big concerns is that the learning process is just like school, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Robert explains:
“It’s nothing like that. You have a laugh here. It’s nothing like school. In school, you get told to ‘do this, do that.’ You can do what you want here, because you’re doing it for yourself.
You can sit and have a laugh with the tutors. I get along with all of them. They’re great.”
Tutors in the adult literacy service work towards breaking down barriers and any stigmas associated with returning to a learning environment and the results can be absolutely jaw-dropping. Robert looks back on how far he’s come, explaining:
“I struggled for years. I could never read or write and basically, now I can. It made a big difference because when I’m doing homework with the kids, I can actually help them. Not so long ago I couldn’t. It used to have to be their mam doing it and now I can actually do it.
Going back not so long ago, I couldn’t read. I couldn’t even read a newspaper. Now, I’m reading everything. “
You can take part in one-to-one and group tuition in your local ETB adult literacy service or you can work with a tutor over the phone or online with NALA’s distance learning service.
The service is completely free and you decide what you want to learn, where you want to learn and when you want to learn.
For more information on how you can get back into education with the National Adult Literacy Agency, you can phone 1800 20 20 65, text ‘learn’ to 50050, email [email protected] or head to takethefirststep.ie.