Happy International Women’s Day 2022!

Happy International Women’s Day 2022!

To mark the day, we’re highlighting just some of the amazing women taking their futures into their own hands through further education and training.

From change-makers to international champions representing Ireland, thousands of  women every day and across the country are beginning their careers, upskilling, retraining and progressing with the skills they need for their careers.

Senator Eileen Flynn

In 2020, Eileen Flynn made history by becoming the first woman from the Traveller Community to take a seat in Seanad Éireann. However, long before Eileen took her seat in Leinster House, she started her career with a pre-nursing at Ballyfermot College of Further Education, leading to a sparkling progression through education and leading to national politics.

“We have these stepping-stones in our life, that change our future. And for me, doing the course in Ballyfermot College was a part of changing my life for the better.”

While FET is for everyone, Eileen hopes in particular that her role in the Seanad will inspire success in young Travellers and young people from other marginalised communities, especially women, to find stepping-stones to their own future. She believes FET can play a key role in achieving that.

Read Senator Flynn’s story here.

Clare Cullen, Ireland’s Beauty Champion

Clare’s further education journey started out while she was in secondary school. She knew exactly what she wanted to do after her Leaving Certificate – Body and Beauty Therapy. When we spoke to her recently, she told us: “I didn’t even fill out a CAO application. There was no need to - I knew exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to study, and that was Blackrock Further Education Institute.”

This course led Clare to representing Ireland at the WorldSkills Competition in London – basically the Olympics for skills - where she came 10th in the world!

Find out how FET led Claire to representing Ireland here.

Laura Mulkeen - Welder Extraordinaire

After 10 years working in event management, Laura Mulkeen moved to Donegal due to family reasons, and finding herself unemployed, Laura signed up to a Basic Welding class with Donegal ETB, a decision that led her to many further courses and a career which sees her currently working on Ireland’s largest building site.

When we spoke to her, she told us: “I had always wanted to take up a trade, but was pushed down the academic route. The ETB has helped me realise that I’m much more at home in the workshop than in the office.”

Find out about Laura’s change of career here.

Kate Stitt – Designing her future

Kate Stitt had graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology with a degree in Fine Art but, after a number of months with her own studio and struggling to make ends meet, she moved into a retail job. However, yearning for the creativity that had drawn her to art, she enrolled in the two-year Costume Design & Make-Up course at Inchicore College of Further Education.

Now graduated, her advice to anyone thinking about changing careers is: “It’s never too late. If you’re not happy – change. Never settle! I suppose you could say I took a bit of a risk, quitting my job and taking out a loan, but the work I do fulfils me."

Marie Ryan – Up-skilling for her career

Marie Ryan was working in the travel industry for 35 years when the pandemic hit, and suddenly found herself working part-time from home. Not one to sit on her laurels, Marie decided it was time to up-skill and enrolled in a free ECDL course with e-college.

She told us the part-time course suited her, saying: “I mean, if it had been the case where I needed to go into a classroom, I couldn’t have done that because I was working part time so I couldn’t take the day and go into a college.”

Read about Marie’s experience here.


From senators to welders and up-skillers to school leavers, women across Ireland are shaping their futures and the country through further education and training.


This International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating every single one and encouraging you to consider the possibilities for you through FET.


Find all the courses available to you on and, and start your future.


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