‘I have my life back and I can plan for my future’ 

Joseph Molloy suffered a debilitating illness and lost both his career and his confidence, but is now back on track, learning key I.T. skills with support and training from National Learning Network in Raheen, Limerick.


For many people, a sudden injury or illness can have an immensely damaging effect on their personal lives as well as the knock-on impact on their working lives. After a long, successful career as a horticulturist, Joseph developed painful sciatica which left him unable to do complete his work and he made the tough decision to leave his job. 

‘Before I started in NLN, I was working in Limerick City and County Council as a horticulturalist, for 21 years and everything was grand, until I developed sciatica. I battled on working through the pain for as long as I could but eventually, after 2 years, I had to give up the ghost and leave my pensionable job.

At that stage, I was at a complete loss. It stopped me in my tracks. Having spent 21 years in the great outdoors, I didn’t have a big range of things on my CV even though I had been a workaholic. I was the type of person always on the move and then to have to stop. It was horrible. When I was recommended to NLN, I jumped at it.

My confidence was on the floor, having come from a job where my confidence was always sky high. It took some time working with the support staff in NLN, to build it back up again. The whole atmosphere in NLN is all about ‘I can’. It’s all about trying and trying again until you succeed. My confidence is restored. Because I was in my old job for so long, it can seem daunting and it can take quite a while to get used to new ways or working and new systems. The instructors do their absolute best for you here. I would recommend NLN to anyone with an illness or disability. You’ll find so much more is on offer to you here and it will open up more doors to you.’ 

NLN in Limerick has been a stepping stone for a wide range of people, of all ages, hoping to gain employment or go on to further education. The college offers courses designed with each individual in mind, and incorporates support and flexibility into all of its training. The instructors prepare each student with key skills for the workplace, from office and administration skills, to catering and PC maintenance, and CV and interview preparation, but what sets it apart is that students have the opportunity to progress through the programme at a pace which is suited to their individual needs and abilities. The I.T. and Office skills course has become popular with people looking to retrain after a setback, such as an illness or mental health issue, or people who need specialist support. 

Joseph says, ‘When I began the IT. and Office Skills course, I really quickly realised that there was so much for me to learn. When I walked into the class and had to ask the instructor how do you turn on the computer, that’s usually not a great start! But slowly and surely, I picked everything up. I’ve had to upskill and reskill. 

I’m involved in my own business now, working with ancient coins. The other guys I work with, they used to do all the computer work but with the new skills that I’ve acquired, I can do lots of the work myself! You have to be adaptable. I’ve found a really effective treatment for my pain now. Thank God I have my life back and I can plan for my future.’

To find out more about the training courses on offer at NLN Limerick, email Val and his team at limerick@nln.ie, or call (061) 229 777.