John McCormack writes on how the Dublin North West Area Partnership has helped his return to education

John McCormack outside DCU

Facing his graduation in DCU in just a few months time John McCormack is considering continuing on to do a Masters program.

Four years ago I stressed at the though at ever going back to a classroom. After struggling through a bad leaving cert over twenty years ago, and hardly ever looking at a book or a computer since then, going to college scared the heck out of me. I seriously believed it was not for me and did not think I could do it.  I had worked in the ‘hands on’ industry of the horse world, and with Ireland being a competitive place for many sport careers; I travelled and rode in other countries. This was good for some time while young, but, like every sport, injury and age can catch up very quickly. Loving the outdoors and being active, the more years I let pass, the more I found myself with fewer options as many of the jobs I wanted had changed and had an age-limit cut-off. “

With no ‘Plan B’, the point of change that I ignored for so long had come up and tapped me on the shoulder. I was now over 40, had injuries that would not improve, and facing a world where most jobs require higher education, I really didn’t know what way to go. It was not a nice feeling to think that any career chances I wanted may be gone forever. This was a bad patch in my life that did not seem to be mending in a hurry.”

The strength and encouragement to take all this to a new and promising level started in Finglas.


After browsing many Jobs on the notice board of the Finglas job centre, my experience and education didn’t seem to fit most. After explaining my situation to a staff member, they suggested Rosehill House.”

“I had never known what went on in that big grey house at the bottom of Finglas village.”

“This was a step I’m glad I took. The staff were very polite, understanding, and extremely encouraging.”

When I explained what I wanted at this point in my life, to have a satisfying career that uses my brain more than my body, something that fulfils me by sharing all I have learned with others. Teaching was one area that always interests me and would fill this void that was left as my career faded. Although I knew what I wanted, I felt it was maybe out of reach because I knew a degree was one of the biggest steps needed for a teaching career.”

I was honest about my academic skills and I was advised to apply for a PLC course to bring me up to grade. I was given all the information and help, and within the year I had undergoing a level 5 course in counselling and psychology at Plunket College.

On completion of the course at Plunket I felt I had the skills and confidence to apply college. Of course there would still be an amount of worry because it was a step up and I knew it would be harder, but I battled on. The way I felt, was, if I made the jump from being years away from the books, and now passed a level 5 course, I can continue on.”


“I was accepted to more than one college, but chose communications studies at DCU with the hope of carrying on to teach, or perhaps using my background experience in carrying on into video documentary making or as a  P.R. roles in the Horse industry. What I can confidently tell anyone who reads this and has a doubt of what they can do, is, GO FOR IT!… If I can do it, so can you.

On a last note, I must say that I could not have done this without the help of the staff at Rosehill House and Dublin North West Area Partnership. Thank you for your help”

John Mc Cormack.