'Something inside me said: I want to learn'
SINCE he left school at 15 in the 1970s, Michael Judge (50) had no trouble finding work, usually in warehouses, until his last job finished in November 2008.
The first effects of the downturn were beginning to be felt and Michael said he "got a fright" at the prospect of unemployment.
Despite his lack of formal qualifications, and even through the 80s recession, Michael, the eldest of seven children, had never known unemployment.
He quickly decided to go back to education, through D8CEC, a community-based education centre in the Digital Hub in Dublin's south-west inner city.
D8CEC specialises in computer-related courses, but Michael, whose son is graduating from Dublin City University next month, said while there were computers at home, he had been "afraid to go near them in case I wiped something off".
But he was persuaded to take up a computer course at D8CEC and yesterday walked away with 13 certificates attesting to his skills at the centre's annual awards ceremony.
"I never thought I would be going back to education, but there was something inside me saying: 'I want to learn'. I was willing to learn and my teachers were very helpful, so it was a match made in heaven."