A Promising Future

1st February 2019

Posted In: FYI

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) have recently announced the winners of this year’s lone parent bursary award: Louise Finnegan and Nkasiobi Uche.

For the past four years, Enterprise Rent-A-Car has provided a €2,500 bursary in support of DIT’s Access Foundation Programme. This is a one-year, full-time preparation course designed to prepare individuals for higher education study at DIT. This year’s winners are both mothers of four.

Louise is a single parent of four girls, ranging in age from five to 15. Having previously completed two Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) level five courses and a Family Support Skills course, Louise is planning to enter into Social Studies at Trinity College after graduating from the Access Foundation Programme.

Nkasiobi is a single mother of three boys and one girl who are between two and 11 years of age. After finishing the Access Foundation Programme, Nkasiobi hopes to study Public Health Nutrition at DIT and looks forward to the opportunities a degree will bring her in the future.

The programme offers students personal and academic support to pursue undergraduate study at DIT, aiming to bridge the skills gap some may have surrounding applied writing, communication and study skills. In addition, it gives new entrants an insight into a range of disciplines including business, mechanical engineering, cultural tourism and marketing. Only applicants who have no prior experience of third-level education are eligible for the bursary.

Research shows that many single parents are likely to experience considerable challenges in meeting the costs of attending college, paying rent, raising a family, working, and paying for childcare. One-parent families continue to experience the highest risks of poverty and deprivation nationally, and education is key in supporting them to have a brighter future.

Significantly, the Access Foundation Programme enables individuals to overcome traditional barriers to entry surrounding third-level education, providing monetary help. The programme allows individuals to meet the minimum entry requirements of their chosen undergraduate DIT course, and the succession rate for those who undertake this primer course is approximately 80%, a testament to its value.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Human Resources Manager, Leslee O’Loughlin, reached out to DIT in 2014 to see how Enterprise could support the scheme, and so the lone parent bursary was born. The partnership will also see O’Loughlin and other members of Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s senior management team deliver leadership workshops to DIT’s student leaders – designated mentors assigned to support students undertaking the Access Foundation Programme.

Speaking at the bursary presentation, O’Loughlin said: “At Enterprise, we live and breathe diversity and, by providing this bursary, we hope to make a real and tangible change to the lives of individuals who have traditionally experienced barriers to entry surrounding third-level education. The successful candidates are incredibly deserving, and I wish them every success in their future at DIT.”

Julie Stafford, Senior Development Manager at DIT Foundation, said: “The students on the Access Foundation Programme can face significant obstacles in accessing education, and it takes determination, the support of DIT and the generous financial assistance of others to give them the best chance at success. Over the last six years, the programme has helped over 500 people to transform their lives and the future of their families”.

Pictured (l-r): Leslee O’Loughlin, Enterprise Rent-A-Car HR Manager; Bursary awardees Louise Finnegan and Nkasiobi Uche; Jill O’Lone, DIT Scholarship Coordinator, and David Rickard, DIT Access Foundation Programme Chair.

Further information on DIT’s Access Foundation Programme, can be found here>>