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Permanent contract in Trinity College Dublin for TCPID graduate Sadbh Feehan

We are so delighted to announce that our TCPID graduate Sadbh Feehan has just received a permanent contract working as part of our own TCPID and School of Education team in Trinity College Dublin.

Sadbh completed the Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice in June 2020.

After completing the course, Sadbh worked with A&L Goodbody, doing a very successful graduate internship there. When that internship finished, Sadbh began an internship with the TCPID. She has been a wonderful addition to the TCPID, to the School of Education and to Trinity College Dublin. Sadbh brings incredible professionalism, fresh insights and huge enthusiasm to the role and we feel very lucky to have her as part of our team.

Below is an interview with Sadbh and her family, along with some quotes from her TCPID colleagues.

Sadbh Feehan

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Hi my name is Sadbh Feehan. I live in Carlow with my Mam Paula and my Dad Dan. I have two older sisters Etain and Sorcha, one younger brother Milo and our two year old Border Collie Dog Bear. Some things that I enjoy to do are going to the theatre, shopping, going to the cinema with my friends, camping with the girl guides, horse- riding, traveling, listening to music, going out for coffee, learning Spanish on Duolingo.

I am an advocate for people who have disabilities, I am involved in the Carlow Special Olympics the sports that I do are Swimming, Athletics, Basketball and Bowling.

Why did you decide to come to Trinity College to complete the Certificate in Arts, Science and Inclusive Applied Practice?

My Mum and Dad had heard about the course before I left school – they actually heard Margaret Turley speaking at a talk they attended! They both thought that when I was ready it would be ideal for me! They would be right!!!

After I left school, I attended a Centre for adults with intellectual disabilities. I found it wasn’t really challenging enough for me, although it did improve my independence by traveling a short distance by train every day.

I really wanted to learn more about so many different things! So, I applied for an animal care in our local college of further education. Some of the subjects were too difficult for me so I completed as many as I could and passed the exams that I took! I didn’t feel I achieved as much as I was capable of.

I always dreamed of going to college just like my Dad and sisters. In fact, my Dad was one of the early students with a physical disability to attend Trinity College, so in some ways he inspired me and my sister. Sorcha was a student at Trinity at the time too, so I had lots of encouragement!! We went to the information day and after hearing more about the course I was determined to apply.

I will never forget the absolute joy I felt when I got my place. I’ve loved every minute studying at Trinity College, and I am so proud to be a graduate of Ireland’s oldest university.

How do you think you have changed since you first started as a student in Trinity College?

My sense of direction has improved!!!

I have become confident traveling on my own to Dublin and with my colleagues to Cork, Galway and more recently Austria.

My presentation and public speaking have improved, along with my confidence.

My organisational skills are so much better, but I am still working on my time keeping!!

Can you tell us about the work that you do in the TCPID in Trinity College Dublin?

Some of the work that I do in TCPID includes:

• Presenting at conferences and taking part in panel discussions

• Facilitating a quiz for the TCPID Summer School

• Helping with the School of Education TY programme

• Meeting with different companies/business partners/potential business partners

• Making sure that the students are comfortable and showing them around the campus

• Linking in with the Trinity College clubs and societies to make them more inclusive to the students.

Can you tell us a little about your colleagues in the TCPID and how they support you?

My colleagues are so supportive with all the work that I do. I really couldn’t have asked for better people to work with. I feel like I can talk to them about anything. We are like a little work family.

We all support each other. I just feel incredibly grateful.

What do you enjoy the most about working in Trinity College Dublin?

I really enjoy being able to come into the office.

I enjoy being able to interact with my colleagues.

I really like the environment that I work in, as it is easy going.

I enjoy being able to work at my own pace.

I love being in the college and the possibility of meeting new people.

I like talking to other students about what they are studying but also talking to them about TCPID.

How did you feel when you found out that you were being offered a permanent role in Trinity College Dublin?

When I found out that I was being made permanent I was left speechless! I honestly didn’t know what to say! The first person I called to tell my great news was of course my mam.

What are your goals for the future?

My goals for the future are:

• to continue learning

• to help integrate the course more in the college

• to be able to promote the course

• to advocate for the students

• to be a role model for students who will come to college in the future

• to be still working in Trinity

From Sadbh’s Parents and Sisters

How did you feel when you heard the news that Sadbh was being offered a permanent contract in Trinity College Dublin?

I felt immensely proud of Sadbh when I found out she was offered her permanent contract. I felt so overjoyed for her and proud that she has grown into a confident, smart and eager woman who will contribute hard work within her role in the TCPID.

Hearing Sadbh’s wonderful news brought back the feelings we had when she got her place on the course – absolute joy, pride and a sense of immense gratitude that she was accepted and seen for the wonderful talented and unique person she is. Being made a permanent member of staff at the place she loves is like a dream come true.

I’ve always known she has a love of learning – she knows so many facts about so many weird things- she’s always an asset at any quiz!!! To see her determination, commitment, love of learning, sense of humour, Justice and her loyalty being appreciated by her work colleagues brings us great pleasure. To say that she is our “pride and joy” would not be an understatement!!!

Of course, we have a huge sense of relief too knowing that Sadbh has a job that she loves, and she can thrive and continue to learn but also inspire other students coming in the course, other students in the college who are lucky to meet and have a chat with her, business partners who support TCPID and other colleges who hope to set up similar courses. As a person with an intellectual disability, she has never allowed labels define her – she has always dreamed – seeing her achieve her permanent position in Trinity has made every effort worthwhile.

Do you have any additional things that you would like to say about Sadbh’s time as a student in Trinity and now as a permanent staff member?

Since Sadbh began her journey with Trinity College, she has gained so much information and knowledge in many different aspects of life in general. She has become so much more confident and has developed a strong personality with the help of Trinity and those who worked with her as a student and now as a teammate.

I think the main source that contributed to how far along Sadbh has come, is the fact she has received encouragement and belief from Trinity. This has allowed her to understand and believe in herself that she is SO able to do whatever she wants to do and that nothing can stop her. I am and always will be so proud and grateful that Trinity have given Sadbh the chance to believe in herself and do amazing things in her life (along with shouting it from the rooftops that nothing can stop anyone chasing their dreams!!!)

Any additional things to say about Sadbh’s time as a student in Trinity College and now as a permanent member of staff?

From the moment Sadbh was accepted on the ASIAP course there was a sparkle in her eyes and a sense that now she had arrived and was where she was always supposed to be!! Her educational journey was never straightforward or easy, but with support in each of her schools she achieved her very best. She had disappointments and frustrations on her journey but remained determined always. Her former teachers remember her well and her achievements since leaving school and in her life have been noticed and praised by many.

Before Sadbh left school I remember hearing Margaret Turley speak at an information day and we were blown away feeling that this course could be a goal for Sadbh when she was ready. After a year at a Centre for adults with intellectual disabilities and subsequent year at a college of further education Sadbh felt frustrated that she had not found somewhere where she could fully thrive.

This all changed at TCPID. She was able to manage all her subjects with minimal help from home because everything was at the right level and all the supports of educational and occupational therapy were integrated in the course. She was able to think for herself. Her opinions were valued. Her independence and leadership soared. She volunteered as a peer mentor for other students. The pandemic put a slight dampener on her college experience, but she fully engaged with the online experience - huge thanks to all staff for making that such a success.

The support that Sadbh got during her course and in her internships in A&L Goodbody solicitors and of course in Trinity College made it possible for her to achieve success. I know her personality helped too! Nothing is impossible!

While in college she dearly wanted to get involved in college life - particularly in societies but that was the most disappointing aspect of her time as a student as many of the activities were on too late and too difficult to engage with. This is something that she has set her mind to correcting!!! Her sense of justice and fairness that ALL students should be able to access societies and all aspects of college life.

Sadbh loves to talk and engage with people - keen to learn what fellow students are studying but also wanting to tell them about her course - something that many of them would know nothing about! Now she is a permanent member of staff I’m sure many more will know about her and about the TCPID!

Dan, Sadbh’s Dad remarks that it’s encouraging to see that 30 years since he studied at Trinity College as a disabled student the improvements to disability services have improved. It must however be said that 30 years ago there were no services for or indeed any students with intellectual disabilities so no matter how we look at it, the paradigm has changed for the better and is a credit to the present generation of the university staff and students.

From Sadbh’s TCPID colleagues:

From Professor Michael Shevlin, TCPID Director

I am so delighted to have Sadbh as a valued member of the TCPID team. Sadbh is always enthusiastic about everything that she does and brings great knowledge and skills to our team. I am looking forward to seeing her develop her role in the TCPID even further over the coming years.

From Donatella Camedda, ASIAP Course Coordinator

Sadbh brings a fresh and insightful perspective to the work in TCPID, her attitude and positive approach to what she does is very helpful in enhancing the learners' perspective. It is a real pleasure to work with Sadbh.

From Jenny Banks, TCPID Research Coordinator

Sadbh has been a fantastic addition to the TCPID team. She is enthusiastic about her work and brings a positivity and good humour to the office that is infectious! She has grown into the role during her internship and we see her as an integral and valued member of the team.

From John Kubiak, TCPID Teaching and Learning Officer

Sadbh has proven to be an excellent team player in the TCPID. She is a naturally warm and friendly person who enriches the work environment. She has excellent communication skills, and the flexibility and dedication she brings to her role is impressive. Overall, Sadbh makes the TCPID environment a better place for both students and staff alike.

From Des Aston, TCPID National and Schools Coordinator

I am delighted to have worked with Sadbh Feehan, our exceptional Graduate Intern. Her constant self-challenge and willingness to step outside her comfort zone have been truly inspiring. It has been a joy to witness her remarkable growth. Sadbh's contributions have added immense value to our team, and I am thrilled that she has been made permanent in her role. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such a talented individual, and I eagerly anticipate her continued success.

From Rose Marie Lynch, TCPID Office Manager

I'm delighted Sadbh is now a permanent member of staff in TCPID. She is highly skilled and talented, a fantastic work colleague and having her on the team makes a huge difference. It's been great getting to know Sadbh, I enjoy her company and the conversations we have over coffee. Looking forward to working together on future projects!

From Marie Devitt, TCPID Pathways Coordinator

Sadbh has been such a wonderful addition to the TCPID team. Since day one, she has brought incredible positivity, determination and professionalism to everything that she has been involved with. She is an absolute joy to work with. We are very lucky to have her as part of our team. I look forward to all the exciting projects that we will be working on together over the coming years.