John is a student from NLN Castlebar, and here he tells us of how NLN has changed his outlook and given him the support he needs to thrive.


‘My name is John, I live in a rural area with a farm in Belmullet and I have been attending NLN Castlebar for over two years. Before I came to NLN, I had some anxiety issues. My confidence was low and I lacked motivation. I decided to start pushing myself more once I joined the Employer Based Training course. If you are struggling with mental health in any form, there are supports there to help the students. Staff has always been very friendly, genuine people that care for me and the students, and I’ve made some connections with people during my time there. When our centre had to close due to the pandemic, I continued work at home with emails, phone-calls or text messages with the staff every day. On a weekly basis, there would be video calls to check in on work progress and well-being in more detail. It has been more difficult to complete work since there are distractions at home but the manuals that have been made are very well done so you can work by yourself with little support.

I’ve had quite a few difficulties in the past, but, for the NLN staff, supporting the students has always been their number one priority, to help the individual achieve their goals and any struggles they may have. My instructors have always been genuine people who can push you further than your own expectations.
I have learned that I am capable of working on something that I wasn’t sure of before I joined and, with financial support over the two years that I’ve been here, I’m in a position to afford my own transport.

I have learned to look at things differently, to not be so bleak all the time, to try to push myself to achieve my goals. I’m more motivated to work towards getting on with goals now since I have an insight of what life would be like if I wasn’t doing anything. I hope to get some type of employment in the future.

The staff have helped me as a person to grow and helped me overcome my obstacles that I have had during my time at NLN. I would like to thank all staff for their overwhelming support’.