Inspirational ATU Alumni, Lecturer and Practicing Manager
Zoe Graham’s passion for early years education is infectious. Driven for a career in this area and unaware of the opportunities at ATU, Zoe embarked on a Higher National Diploma in Early Years. Upon realising the programme offerings at ATU, she came through direct entry to year three of the Honours Degree in Early Childhood Care and Education based on the Letterkenny campus.
Zoe graduated and immediately took up a role as an early year’s educator. She worked in various settings within the industry including baby room, pre-school room, afterschool, montessori and inclusion coordinator.
“I worked in various different settings to gain as much hands on experience as I could. My passion in the area has always made me dream of lecturing so that I could share my knowledge with learners. I am enthusiastic about education and encouraging and equipping students to be ready to work in this dynamic changing industry after graduation”, says Zoe.
With this dream in mind and her hunger for education, Zoe embarked on the next step of her learning journey. She completed the Masters in Advanced Health & Social Care at ATU Donegal.
“This was an amazing but challenging experience. In the two years that I studied part-time, I got married and had a baby and got promoted at work. I was juggling everything, but I loved it. I thought that the level 9 masters programme would provide more of an opportunity for me to realise my dream of lecturing”.
“I now work as a practicing manager in an early years and school aged setting. I also applied for the lecturing panel at ATU Donegal and was delighted to have been selected for the part-time panel. I now get to enjoy my dream career and I feel that I have so much to bring to the classroom having gained an abundance of experience over the years.”
Zoe never knew if this dream would ever be a possibility and she is delighted that she has achieved this with her hard work, determination, and studies.
“The programme at ATU is a high-quality programme that has professional recognition. From birth to age 5, a child's brain develops more than at any other time in life and we as Early years Educators are somewhat responsible for this through our high quality interactions, education and care.”
“It’s a vital part of society that we provide this service in our communities. In recent times government have recognised the need for and importance of early care settings and the SIPTU union have been working with government to introduce mandatory pay scales which graduates will avail of.”
Zoe is an excellent role model for her staff and students and there is no doubt that her knowledge and experience will shine through to others!