Oscail -- opening the door to a brighter future for Peter
Case history: Peter McDonnell, age 53, Kells, Co Meath
I'd been working full-time as an electrical technician in the same company for many years before the downturn.
We were manufacturing air conditioning units, extractor fans and other products which were highly dependent on the construction industry.
When the construction industry went into a slump, our business took a hit, and I eventually had to go on a three-day-week. Going on to that three-day-week was stressful.
It's not good for the spirit when you're coming into an office and the phones aren't ringing. I'm a diabetic and stress aggravates the condition by causing high blood sugar.
When I started the DCU Oscail degree I found that the stress immediately lifted because it once again gave me a direction for my energies. Oscail is a distance education course, which means it's very flexible.
I'm now finishing the second year of what I hope will lead to a BSc in Information Technology.
The flexibility means that you can complete the course in as many stages as suits, which enables me to fit it around the work I have.
I'd been dabbling in Information Technology for years, and I'd done bits and pieces of diplomas, but this time, when the opportunity presented itself I took it with both hands.
When I left school in the 1970s, I did what most other people did and went to work.
It was great to have a few bob in the pocket for going out, but from the start I always said that if I got the chance for further qualifications I'd go for it.
I'm really happy with the course. I always had a good head for figures so I love the maths side of things.
At the start, when I'd get the kids to school and get stuck into the studying, I found that grappling with the maths was a great way of detaching yourself from everything else. The physics was and is more of a challenge.
All in all it has been incredibly rewarding experience and I'd recommend that anyone who thinks it might benefit them should check it out."