Colm Dunne – Success as a PE Teacher Through Portobello Institute

Alumni of PE and Coaching


PE Teacher wasn’t a full time job until recently. PE wasn’t a Leaving Certificate subject until recently. As such, those who wanted to be PE teachers growing up didn’t have the opportunities to become them unless they became full-time teachers in other subjects and did PE on the side.

Choosing the wrong career is an easy pitfall to find yourself in. We make decisions when we are young based on the information we are given and what opportunities we are told are available.

When Colm Dunne was approaching his leaving certificate, he wanted to be a PE Teacher. But being a PE teacher wasn’t a real option. A PE Teacher was as viable a career choice as an astronaut was. You could do it, but nobody in Ireland set out specifically to do that and only that.

Instead of fulfilling his aspirations of becoming a PE Teacher, Colm Dunne wound up working in Human Resources with a local company. He spent a few years working in an office and knew it wasn’t right for him.

That led him to Portobello Institute.

“Portobello offered me an alternative route through their degree in Sports Science with progression to a masters degree in education.”

To become a PE Teacher, Colm enrolled on the BSc (Hons) Physical Education and Coaching as a mature student. He had initially looked to the CAO system to try and get a place elsewhere but didn’t have the points. That’s when he sought out alternative routes to becoming a PE Teacher.

Although it wasn’t the first route he explored, it proved to be the best option for him over the long term.

Colm was guided towards the Professional Masters of Education (PME) at the University of Limerick by Dr. Susan Giblin, “All my lecturers were exceptional. Their level of knowledge and the quality of their teaching made you feel like you were learning from the best. They broke everything down and were always on hand to help so that nobody was left behind.”

Dr. Giblin’s help in preparing him for his application to the University of Limerick proved to be vital. He considered all of his lecturers vital in helping him to secure his place on the PME, setting him on the road to become a PE Teacher.

“It was so much more personal than any other course I have done.”

Because of Portobello’s class sizes and commitment to helping each student with tailored input to their specific ambitions, sports students are regularly given detailed explanations and guidance on what their next steps could/should be.

If a student says they want to work in a specific area, our lecturers do everything they can to help them get there. Whether that is networking with relevant professionals or setting up work placement opportunities in relevant companies.

If a student says they want to go on to study another course at another college either internationally or in Ireland, our lecturers have followed those same paths already and understand the processes for different colleges. Since our degrees are internationally-accredited, we can more seamlessly apply to colleges in the United Kingdom.

This is particularly valuable for those with sports degrees as there are far more opportunities in the United Kingdom for sports therapists and PE/Coaching students.

Colm didn’t need to leave Ireland to become a PE Teacher. The University of Limerick’s Professional Masters of Education offers a clear route to qualifying as a PE Teacher in Ireland and abroad. It is one of the most in-demand courses in the country and Portobello Institute graduates have had a very high rate of successfully applying to the course.

Colm Dunne – Success as a PE Teacher Through Portobello Institute Colm Dunne – Success as a PE Teacher Through Portobello Institute