Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 10 Learn, Work, Live - Page 35

TETIANA's Journey...

My name is Tetiana Leshchenko. I am married and have two children Elizabeth and Michael. I am originally from Ukraine. I used to work in a primary school in Ukraine.

I came to Ireland in 2010. At that time I was looking for the place where I could study childcare. As a foreigner I felt lonely and helpless because I didn’t know anything about The Irish system of education or any programmes available for mature students. Language barrier was another issue that made it hard to find the information and cope with stress and fear.

At that time my goal was to get an Irish Certificate of education. It would help me to move into employment quicker. I got to know about courses available in Wicklow Further Education Centre. To make a right decision about my future career I got an appointment to see the Information Officer. She was very supportive and informed me about broad range of courses available for students like me.

When I look back now I realise that studying in Wicklow FEC was the best starting point for me. I obtained the Certificates in Early Childcare Care and Education and Certificate in Community Care QQI Level 5 in one year. I developed practical skills like IT and English language, as well as social and life skills.

I also was lucky to participate in an internship and get experience of work in Ladybird crèche. That was a great opportunity to put the theory I studied during classes into practice. I got to know many people in town and lots of them became my friends. So, I don’t feel lonely any more.

These experiences boosted my confidence and gave me a great insight into the theory and practice of the profession I was planning to take on.

A year later I successfully graduated from IT Carlow and got my Higher Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care Level 8.

At the moment I am working full-time in a crèche in Wicklow Town. I love my job and enjoy it a lot. I want to say a huge THANKS to all the teachers and staff who supported and inspired me in my "journey" to my dream. Without people who work for students in Wicklow FEC I truly wouldn't be who I am now. I am very grateful to each and every one of you.

For those people who are struggling to decide on a path to take or looking for career change I say: “Take your chances, search for help and support and go for it!!! It is worth it.

Tetiana Leshchenko.