DCU Access marks 30 years

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DCU Access released it’s yearly review of the Access programme, noting that 2020 marked 30 years of the programme in DCU. 

DCU President, Brian MacCraith, said of the review: “At DCU, we have always been committed to the principle that access to third level education should be based on ability alone, and not on a family’s socioeconomic background.”

He also noted that DCU Access is the largest initiative of its kind in Ireland, with 1258 students from 55 different countries currently in the programme.

Some of the stand-out points of the review were the details of the Access to the Workplace programme which was launched by Access in 2019. 

The service identified an additional need for Access students who, due to financial pressure to save for the upcoming academic year, were unable to undertake unpaid summer internships to gain valuable professional experience. 

The programme provided high quality paid work placements on a tailored summer internship, which was open to second year Access students. 53 Access students took on the placements in 38 leading Irish companies.

Roisin Maguire, a third year journalism student in DCU, took part in the programme last summer. She received an internship in Mastercard.

“It really built my confidence since it was my first real job. I got to understand what it was like to work in an office and really develop my communication skills,” Maguire said.

This year the DCU Access Service also held their first Leadership and Bravery event for transition year students from linked schools. Linked schools are where the Access programme reaches out to schools in North Dublin to encourage less advantaged students to seek higher education.

The students at the Leadership and Bravery event heard from inspirational leaders on what it takes to lead. They were encouraged to step forward and face life’s challenges and achieve their ambitions.

Also in 2019, 25 girls from Mercy College participated in a workshop facilitated by 10 female researchers doing cutting-edge research at the ADAPT Research Centre on the DCU Glasnevin campus.

Cathy McLoughlin, Head of Access Service at DCU, said “The DCU Access Service, with the support of our corporate partners, aim to support equal opportunities for our target groups into and through higher education.” 

Access students receive an annual financial scholarship, thanks to philanthropic donations through major campaigns run each year by the DCU Educational Trust (DCUET).

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Image Credit: Sonja Tutty