An Indonesian woman who lost confidence after moving to Donegal with little English is now plotting a path to employment thanks to Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
Irene Harlyana moved to East Donegal to join her husband a number of years ago in July 2017. But she struggled at first with a language barrier preventing her from making friends and integrating into her local community. She was determined to reach her full potential in her new home.
Irene said: “I love meeting new people, making new friends and connections, but because English is my second language I found it difficult to have proper conversations with people when I first came to Ireland, especially when I wanted to express my feelings, so I became a quiet and rigid person when I was in the middle of society.
“I lost confidence in meeting people, I found myself staying more indoors than in social life.”
The experience was daunting at first, but with support from her husband Irene decided to explore the possibility of returning to education to improve her English.
Irene visited the Carrigans and St. Johnston Community Centre to explore options for courses. She was guided to Elena Gill from Donegal ETB’s Adult Guidance and Information Service, who met with her to share all the ways that the ETB supports adult learners.
After looking at her life goals, Elena encouraged Irene to enrol on a QQI Level 3 course in Retail Skills including Communication. This was the starting point of a rich and fulfilling education journey.
The course equips students with communications, maths, ICT and retail industry knowledge to pursue a range of employment opportunities.
For Irene, the sense of achievement was hugely rewarding.
She said: “I have benefited a lot from learning Retail Skills, I have improved not only my English communications but also my employability skills. The course has also given me more confidence to converse and interact with various kinds of people at different levels. I have made new friends and really enjoyed our conversation.”
Once Irene completed this course she was hungry for more learning.
She said: “I am passionate about learning Information Communications Technology and Business Administration ultimately it led me into a QQI Level 5 in E-Business Studies at Donegal ETB which I have just completed.”
This course helped Irene build on her knowledge to gain more ICT and administrative skills. She also developed key skills in creating a CV and preparing for job interviews.
“The guidance from the counsellor Mairead McFadden helped me immensely to be able to speak about myself confidently and competently, this was the very biggest lesson I learned which I feel will stand me in confidence to reply to the hiring ads,” Irene said.
“My educational journey with Donegal ETB is a gratifying experience which I feel will stand me in good stead in the future,” she added.
“So far, Donegal ETB has equipped me with knowledge and expertise to deal with a variety of situations, which also has provided me with the confidence to integrate into Irish communities, as well as skills to have a better chance of accessing the labour market in Ireland.”
With two QQI certificates, Irene is now counting up her options in education and employment. She has come a long way since feeling too isolated to leave home and is eager to develop a complete skillset in the administration field before entering the workforce.
The next step for Irene? Adding up even more skills in Accounting!
If you feel Donegal ETB’s Adult Guidance and Information Service can help steer you in the right direction, contact them on 074 91 78088, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete this web form and they’ll get back to you: https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/adult-guidance/Tags: