The Jobstart Instructor asked a number of questions to Lorraine about her experience since joining National Learning Network.


How long have you been in the NLN Sligo centre?

I started in NLN on the 16th of September in 2019. I had two previous appointments to meet with the manager but became very anxious on both occasions and cancelled. I had been told about NLN from my then Counsellor (Regina) that I was attending for a year and a half in Sligo.

She thought it would be good for me to get back training and out into the workforce again because it was one of my main goals that I had told her I wanted to do.

I have been in the centre 5 months and I love it. It has given me a routine and I’ve had made lots of friends since joining. I’m learning new material every day I go in and the instructors and staff are so helpful.

What do you find has helped you while you have attended in NLN?

I have found that the course has given me a new outlook on life. I look forward to going in and getting out of the house.

I spent the last 17 years at home bringing up my family and over time lost the confidence in myself to do things outside the home. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to manage the course and still be a good mother to my three girls. I had reservation about myself and I’ve always been good at talking myself out of things.

Do you use NLN’s in-house resources, (Rehabilitation Officer/ Rehabilitation Psychologist)?

The support I have received since attending the centre has been amazing. I link in with the centres Rehabilitation Officer Jemima regularly to get advice and she has been a great resource helping me with personal problems that are ongoing. Jemima and Mick my instructor put my name forward for a trip to Dublin to represent NLN at a conference meeting, I really enjoyed the conference immensely, it was great to mingle with other students and see some of the work that goes on in the different NLN centres throughout Ireland. It was a great opportunity and I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I link in with NLN Rehabilitation Psychologist Rita, she has also been a great support with issues that I am dealing with.

Do you use NLN’s Resource Teacher?

Since attending NLN I attend resource classes with Angela, she is our-in centre resource teacher. She helps me with maths, spelling, grammar and much more. She is a lovely lady with great patience. In the last number of years, I always wanted to return to education, but I was very nervous about re-educating myself, now I see the benefits already and only 5 months on the programme, I am a lot happier and my girls keep telling me how proud they are of me for taking the first step towards my goal.

How did you find your work experience?

One great advantage about the course I’m doing is you get to pick different places to secure work placement for 10 weeks at a time. I spent 10 weeks every Thursday up in a Donkey Sanctuary in Castlebaldwin helping out with 70 donkeys and 30 horses. It was lovely to work with the animals they are mostly rescue animals, and they require a lot of care and love, it’s sad to see how some people treat animals.

My duties were to muck out the stables, bed the donkeys, feed them hay and buckets of nuts, groom them, letting them in and out of the stables. They are very well looked after now.

When your goal is complete, what next?

I want to feel confident in being able to work hopefully in retail part time to start with, I also want to continue to progress at National Learning Network, when I complete job-start programme, I want to do another course like customer service this is a QQI level 4 programme. Knowledge is power and it does give you an advantage when going back into the workforce especially when preparing for an interview. I have learned so much about computers to date, at the start I would refer to them as aliens because I didn’t know my way round them but slowly I am getting better thanks to the patience of my instructor Mick. The staff take an interest in us and it makes such a difference as you feel your somebody and not just a number. I have to say I’m enjoying the experience and am looking forward to the future now.

Lorraine is a student at National Learning Network (NLN) Sligo, on the Jobstart programme.