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‘Hunger for knowledge’ saw Dundalk student head back to education


Denise Burns graduated from the Headstart programme at DkIT

Denise Burns graduated from the Headstart programme at DkIT

Denise Burns graduated from the Headstart programme at DkIT


Returning to education later in life ignited a “hunger for knowledge” for DkIT student Denise Burns.

Denise was among the group of graduates in the Headstart programme at DkIT, run in collaboration with Louth LEADER Partnerships SICAP’s scheme.

The programme aims to support students to self-confidence and remove as many obstacles as possible to allow access to life changing education. 

Headstart, is aimed at those with an interest in pursuing Higher Education and comprises of a 9- week part-time exploration of study skills, including, academic writing, presentation skills, group work, time management, learning to learn, career guidance and assignment feedback. This course is open to absolutely everyone and anyone who has ever thought that they would like to go to college but thought it wouldn’t be possible for them.

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Elizabeth Awosanya a BA (Hons) Social Care student at DkIT completed the Headstart programme and progressed into DkIT where she has just finished her first year as an undergraduate in the Institute. “It is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I know the future is so bright for me now. I would highly recommend Headstart to anyone, take the plunge, it is a stepping stone to third level education,” she said.

Denise Burns also completed the Headstart programme, and hopes to start her Level 8 degree at DkIT this September.

“Headstart is like being taken by the hand and welcomed in and any questions you have are answered,” said Denise. “ I have that hunger for knowledge. I never felt I was good enough but now because of the Headstart programme I know that I can do it.”

Johdi Quinn, DkIT Pathways & Headstart Co-ordinator and Community Development and Spanish lecturer said: “The biggest impact for me is that learners who are now studying at DkIT are telling me that going to college was beyond their wildest dreams before they did Headstart. We have reached people and communities who have always thought that education wasn’t for them. But it’s not just about people returning to education. I believe this course can give people confidence, resilience, the courage to dream again and more than anything, hope."

Maeve Harkin, Social Inclusion Manager at Louth Leade explained: “To date 76 people have graduated from the Headstart Programme. Louth Leader and DkIT are thrilled that Headstart graduates are in all four years of their DkIT Degrees including programmes such as Social Care, Community Youth Work, Arts, Audio & Music Production, Creative Media, Hospitality Management, General Nursing and Mental Health Nursing. Many graduates have also secured employment because of having completed this programme.”

For more information on this Octobers Headstart programme and to register interest email: Johdi.quinn@dkit.ie or maeve.harkin@cllp.ie