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Enniscorthy woman features on RTE campaign

Aim is to help those who left education early in life

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Mary Devereux

Mary Devereux

Mary Devereux

A woman from Enniscorthy is currently being featured on a television campaign aimed at encouraging people in Ireland who have difficulty with reading, writing, maths or technology to get the help they need.

The 'Take the First Step' campaign is an RTE initiative and one of the people at its forefront is Mary Devereux.

The campaign is fronted by RTE personalities, Joe Duffy, Brenda Donohue and Marty Morrissey.

Mary left school in her Junior Certificate year and worked in Kelly's Hotel, in Rosslare, for 26 years.

She loved working there and especially liked meeting people and interacting with guests.

However, she gave up her job when her son was born because he has autism and Fragile X and Mary became his fulltime carer.

It was partly because of the important role she plays in her son's life that she went back to education four years ago.

She wanted to improve her reading, writing and spelling to help her fill out all of the forms relating to her son's healthcare.

Since starting with Waterford Wexford ETB, Mary says she hasn't looked back and one of the things she likes about the classes is that they have enabled her to finally get things from her head onto paper.

The social aspect of the classes is also something she really enjoys.

As part of the campaign she is encouraging people who are going back into education to stick it out.

It can be a daunting thing for many people - especially if they left school a long time ago.

'My advice for anyone going back to education is to stick with it and your life will improve,' said Mary.

She first got involved in the campaign when the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) asked her to share her story last September on social media.

In the interim RTE has partnered with NALA to promote Mary's story and the story of other students on television, radio and online.

A spokesperson for the NALA said the aim of the campaign is to encourage adults with difficulties in reading, writing, maths or technology to contact a Freephone support line 1800 20 20 65, through which they will be able to get support.

Once they make contact NALA will put them in contact with their local ETB Adult Education Centre or tell them about other free services that will meet their needs.

'We are delighted that RTÉ are supporting 'Take the first step' as the campaign represents a very important public service message,' said Patrick Gleeson, who is Communications Officer with the NALA.

'Often people who return to education say the hardest part was making the first call or taking the first step into an Adult Education Centre,' he added.

'The aim of this campaign is to encourage people to take the first step to get the help they need.'

Dr Inez Bailey, who is CEO of NALA, thanked Mary for sharing her story in an honest way through the campaign.

'Thanks to Mary sharing her story so honestly through this campaign, many people won't feel as alone and I have no doubt they will be encouraged to pick up the phone to us to get information about different courses to suit their needs.'

Online Editors