Sean O’Riordan – University College Cork
Course: speech and language therapy
Sean O’Riordan is a 21-year-old from Cork and a 3rd year student studying speech and language therapy at UCC. His brother, Stephen, is also in UCC studying Biochemistry and his second brother Cian is in 6th year of secondary school. He spends most of his time either training or at college.
He’s been swimming from a very young age and is currently a member of the Irish Para swim team. They are currently preparing for Tokyo, but with the virus and current restrictions training has been interrupted. He has trained and competed in locations such as London, Berlin and Tokyo over the last few years and competed at the Europeans in Dublin in 2018.
Committed to both his sport and his course he gets up most mornings at 5am, goes to training, then spends the next few hours on college work.
“I feel extremely grateful for my opportunity to attend UCC. I am thankful for all the support I get such as assistance from the Disability Support Service. In my first year of study, I wasn’t sure what type of supports I would need but following advice and guidance from both the staff in my department as well as the staff at the DSS I quickly found my feet in college life. The last few years at college have been a very positive experience for me. This opportunity to attend and study at university has allowed me to pursue a future career in helping people through my course (Speech and Language Therapy). If I was to give advice to other students out there considering college, I would highly recommend seeking a course at university. There is a wide range of supports and services available should the need arise. I would also say to not be shy to ask for help or support if you need it. At university, I have been both supported academically through my department and the DSS, as well as in my sporting career through UCC sport and services such as the mardyke. I feel quite lucky to be in a situation where I can both study for my future career, while also being able to train and represent my country in swimming. ”
UCC Access & Disability Fast Facts
- 30 staff members work in Access and Disability services at UCC.
- In 2019 nearly 1000 first year students entered UCC via alternative access routes from under-represented groups.
- Over the last 4 years 897 HEAR students have registered at UCC and over 978 DARE students
- 33% of students registered with a specific learning difficulty and 18% with a mental health condition.
- Over the last 4 years 976 Mature students have registered at UCC and 867 from FET/QQI routes.
- A well known graduate who availed of the UCC disability service is Joanne O’Riordan, a prominent campaigner for disability rights.
- Initiatives that UCC are proud of include:
- Autism Friendly University
- DSS Mentoring & Employability Programme
- Access+ – Further Education Initiative for Cork City DEIS students
- UCC PLUS+ Homework Club for City DEIS schools – winner of Best Education Outreach Initiative – The Education Awards 2019.
- Moving of all access services to a new building in the centre of Campus – The Hub
- UCC PLUS+ Traveller Mentoring Programme
Head of Access & Participation UCC
“Access services enable students to enter through the gates of University and engage in all aspects of University life. This documentary will share inspiring stories of resilient, determined, talented students who have unlocked their potential as a result of accessing third level education. These stories will encourage and enthuse parent, teachers, and significant adults across the country to nurture the potential of our future students and encourage them to dream big!”