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Cork Independent


Cit grad to star on norahs traveller academy

Thursday, 29th January, 2015 12:00am

CIT graduate Leanne McDonagh will appear on RTE's 'Norah's Traveller Academy' tonight at 9pm.

On the programme, businesswoman Norah Casey helps four young women from the Traveller community who hope to set up their own businesses.

'Norah's Traveller Academy' shows the lives of these young ambitious Traveller women and their journey to creating sustainable businesses in a country where they still experience prejudice and exclusion.

From Fermoy, Leanne is one of four entrepreneurial women shown on the programme. She has already achieved much personal success: She progressed from secondary school in Fermoy, to CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in 2007.

She excelled and graduated with an honours degree in 2011. She was one of very few Traveller students in the country to graduate with an honours degree in Ireland in 2011. Following her degree, she continued with her studies in CIT to obtain an honours Higher Diploma in Arts in Art Design Education, enabling her to teach at second level.

Since completing her studies, Leanne has been involved in many school art programmes throughout Cork. Most recently, CIT Access Service, which is committed to widening participation, increasing access and supporting positive education outcomes for under-represented groups, engaged Leanne to deliver art workshops entitled 'My Education, My Future' in Access-linked second level schools.

Deirdre Creedon, access officer at CIT said: "Leanne is inspirational, a wonderful role-model for young people. She has broken the mould in relation to access to higher education for members of the Traveller community. Her commitment and drive is infectious and young people sense this and are motivated by her."

A national target is being set to increase participation in higher education by people from the Irish Traveller community. This is the first time that such a target has been established.

Higher Education Authority survey data indicates that, on average, just 23 young Travellers enter full-time, higher education each year. In addition, a smaller number of Travellers enter as mature students.

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