I thoroughly enjoyed the learning experience, learning new skills through practical and educational learning. I had never been to college, so I felt I had accomplished something great in an area of work that I love.
I was very keen to apply for the Dispensary Assistants Course when I read an internal e-mail at work, but I didn’t know if I had the skills to negotiate the course such as uploading assignments online and blackboard. I also wanted to learn new skills and I felt this course was a natural progression for me working in pharmacy having already completed my OTC Level 1 and 2, blood pressure training and pre-hospital emergency care first aid.
My initial fears were unfounded, soon I was participating online with lecturers and logging onto lectures on the various course modules through blackboard! My Lloyds Pharmacy colleagues on the Dispensary Course were a great support, after all we were all in the same boat! My online lecturers were always there to answer e-mails, while also providing words of encouragement.
While there were some challenges—such as using the laptop for assignments, Turnitin/blackboard, getting work placement hours in my store and working full time while doing assignments in the evening—these challenges were worked out with the support of IT Carlow lecturers (now SETU Carlow).
Completing this programme was a very emotional time for me in terms of my own personal achievement, as I had never been to college. I felt empowered by my new learnings and skill set. I was awarded student of the year in Carlow at my graduation. I was so proud of myself.
I just couldn't believe how lucky a person I was. I had tried education before and it just didn't work out for me. I don't know what it was, but I think sometimes there's someone behind you encouraging you and telling you, you can do this, you're well capable.