For years Garry Winters dropped his daughter Jessica to the school gates in Shannon as she made her way through primary and secondary school, but now they go through the doors of LIT, Moylish together each morning to study for a degree in Industrial Automation and Robotics.
Garry is in his third year of the course, with ambitions to eventually teach.
This is a far cry from the young teen who left school early without much interest in education.
“When I left school I went straight into engineering, well I fell into it because it was what was available in 1989 - and it turns out I loved it,” said Garry.
He undertook a number of courses over the year as he raised his family but to really further this career he felt he needed to return to education.
“If you want to progress and have a decent career, you need education. It makes life easier if you have the paper work to back up the skill. When the time came, when the children were older, and I could dedicate my time to education, I took up the full time course in LIT.
“And I love it. If it works out well I am determined to do my level 8 after my level 7, and then maybe teach. There are huge options open to me now including teaching and I like working with young people,” he added.
One young person he has already inspired is his 26-year-old daughter Jessica who is in first year in the same course.
“I was working for a few years before I came to college. I had decided to get a feel for the industry first,” she said.
“So I worked in EI in Shannon where there were plenty of robotics and I could get my hands on machines. It really gave me an idea of what I wanted to do - instead of working the machines I wanted to work on them.”
“I would come home in the evening and Dad would be talking about what he was doing at LIT and that definitely influenced me.
“So I started the Level 7 course in Industrial Automation and Robotics last September and I love it.”
“I have gone back to college as a mature student. I did not have the points when I left school, and while I could have done a PLC course to help me get access to the course, I opted to work and then go in as a mature student. It was the right choice for me,” she said.
“I didn’t study anything to do with engineering or even physics or chemistry in school, but it turns out you don’t have to have an extensive background in these subjects if you have an interest in the subject. My work experience definitely helped with the interest also.
“So I am now in first year in LIT, and this is probably the best move I have made in my life so far. The network of friends and the atmosphere is great, I am studying what I really enjoy and of course my Dad is around if I need a bit of assistance as I make my way through the course.”
The CAO deadline for all third level courses in this Saturday, February 1, 2020.
Further information on courses at LIT can be found here.