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Lorraine Dempsey – Pride and New Career Opportunities with BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care & Education Degree

BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care & Education

Lorraine Dempsey – Pride and New Career Opportunities with BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care & Education Degree


Lorraine Dempsey – Pride and New Career Opportunities with BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care & Education Degree

Lorraine Dempsey works as a Family Support Worker with Aster Family Support and Home Visitor with Aster Preparing for Life Balbriggan after gaining her BA (Ord) Early Childhood Care & Education degree at Portobello Institute. 

Lorraine spent most of her career in childcare, working in various settings including Montessori’s, creches, pre-schools and was a nanny for several years. She also lived in Australia for a year in her 20s and worked in a local community childcare centre there. 

I had been thinking of going back to college for a long time and felt at 46 it was now or never. I believed that completing level 7 would also open new job opportunities and career paths for me. 

My friend recommended the course at Portobello Institute as she was doing it too and when I made inquiries with the administrator they were very accommodating and helpful with my queries and questions. I also liked the flexibility of being able to do it online at home and having access to the webinars and tutorials if I was unable to attend on the day was very beneficial,” she said. 

Lorraine wanted to follow her passion for early years and deepen her knowledge while creating new career paths.

From a very young age, I loved being around and spending time with children. I always knew that I wanted a career in childcare

“When I began my journey studying childcare, I qualified with a Diploma and then studied various certificate courses such as creche management and child psychology. More recently I did a diploma course in social studies. I have always been fascinated by child development, how children grow and develop and how families and society impact childhood, so when the opportunity arose to do this, I decided to jump in with both feet,” she said. 

Flexibility is key to adult education, at Portobello Institute we support you to achieve your best around your existing busy life.

The best thing about studying at Portobello was the flexibility offered, I was working full-time so being able to study around my work was invaluable.

The flexibility of it being an online course along with being able to work at my own pace suited my lifestyle of working full time and home life commitments. 

“Another important aspect was the support I received from my tutors. They were always on hand to answer any queries I had. Special mention has to go to Rachel Dunne and Maeve Nolan, who both always went above and beyond to support and guide me and gave fantastic feedback and suggestions with my drafts.

It was challenging and stressful at times, trying to juggle work and home life with college study, however, it was also highly rewarding. Getting the assignments back every month was extremely satisfying and gave me the confidence to keep going.

“Everyone was very supportive and understanding. During one draft assignment deadline, I was hospitalised and was unable to submit it. My tutor gave me an extension to submit. I was extremely grateful as I found the feedback she offered very beneficial to my final draft. Tutors were always prompt with email queries and gave great guidance on the assignments and where to go for additional material. The online portal was also very easy to navigate.

I would recommend Portobello Institute, from all the staff in admin at the start of my journey down to the IT team and lastly to my tutors who were so encouraging and supportive and really just wanted every student to succeed, made my time at Portobello and my degree journey a very positive experience,” she said.

Graduation is a special moment for all students, but especially for Lorraine, who was proud of her achievement after considering it for so long.

I was extremely proud of my accomplishments and the fact that I graduated with a level 7 degree at the age of 48. It was something that I had thought of doing for a long time but was never sure if I would have the confidence and ability to go through with it. I am delighted that I took the plunge and was never as happy as when I walked onto the stage at my graduation,” she said. 

Following her graduation, Lorraine has taken up a new role in her existing job and is excited about the career opportunities that are now available to her.

I am still a family support worker, however, I have a dual role in my job, where along with being a family support worker, I am a home visitor for the Preparing for Life Programme we are now running, which helps families to support their children’s development through early interventions and school readiness.

“Having studied with Portobello, I have more knowledge and insight into child theory, child development and how the government is trying to shape the next generations through the early years. 

I love the opportunity to support parents and their children in my roles. The qualification will support me to advance my career within the company. If I decided to move on from my current position, this qualification would allow me to apply for jobs in Tulsa, Barnardo’s and other family support services, along with opening up new job opportunities in other areas,” she said.

Lorraine encourages anyone who is on the fence to go for it and get their degree.

Thanks to all the staff for their help, support, advice and encouragement throughout my journey. For anyone like me who is thinking of going back to college to just take the leap and go for it. The sense of achievement you get after qualifying is unmatched and there is no feeling quite like it and walking on stage at graduation, the sense of pride you get makes all the tears and stress worth it,” she said.

If Lorraine’s story has inspired you, you can reach out to our early years academic advisor Sarah Coyne today, book a 15-minute consultation call, email [email protected] or call 01 892 0028 to start your educational journey with Portobello Institute.

Portobello Institute’s Early Years department has qualifications ranging from level 5 to level 9. We offer:

Other courses you may be interested in include:

Visit our Early Years department for more.

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