Cathal Blake – Dublin City University

Course: BSc Psychology. PhD Young Onset Dementia

From: Mornington, Meath

Cathal Blake DCU PhD student

Cathal Blake

Cathal Blake spent 30 years working in construction but is now a mature student studying for his PhD in Psychology! The hugely likeable ‘everyman’ from County Meath is a man reborn, and his admission that “5 years ago I couldn’t turn on a computer and now I’m giving lectures and speaking at Alzheimer and Dementia conferences, such as the 29th Alzheimer Conference in the Hague, Netherlands!” is a fantastic reminder to everyone that it’s never too late to make a change and try something new. We follow him as he teaches and inspires the next generation of students and meet some of his family and friends to whom he’s promised he won’t let college life change him!

See Cathal’s story begin in Episode 1 on the RTE Player

“Participation in the documentary has been a fantastic experience. It has given me the opportunity to reflect on my academic career and life to date, and helped me focus on my future. I have also gained an insight into the work that goes into documentary/TV making. I hope that my input will show others from a similar background to me, that no matter what you did previously, or what age you are, attending university and doing really well both personally and academically is a realistically achievable goal. ”

DCU Access & Disability Fast Facts

  • DCU has the oldest and largest Higher Education Access Programme in Ireland.
  • 14 staff work in Access/Disability in DCU.
  • 93% of Access students who enter DCU complete third-level education.
  • Over the past 10 years, 92% of Access graduates achieved a 1st or 2nd class honours degree. From 2011 to 2019 this figure has increased to 97-98%.
  • The employment rate for DCU Access graduates is 96% with 85% of Access graduates employed in an area directly related to their degree.
  • There were 1,158 Access students studying in DCU in 2019/20, with 285 students entering the first year in September 2019.
  • Over the last 3 years 939 students entered first year through the HEAR Scheme and 615 through the DARE scheme.
  • DCU are delighted with the increase in students on the autism spectrum from 4.5% in 2016 to 8% in 2019.
  • 10,000 primary and secondary school students in the North Dublin Region, partake in DCU Access  initiatives yearly.
  • Our Access to the Workplace programme saw 50 access students placed with 38 employers for a summer internship (2019).
  • Over the last 3 years 437 mature students entered first year at DCU
  • Initiatives DCU are most proud of include:
Cathy McLoughlin

Head of Access Service DCU

“In DCU, we are fortunate as access and widening participation is part of the university’s DNA, access students were part of the very first cohort of students who entered this new university in 1990. We encourage those who believe they do not have the ability or they will not fit in, to realise that a University is a community of people from different backgrounds – there is no right or wrong ‘person’.”

Key Access & Disability Contacts