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A mature student from Meelick, who wanted to help her family’s business enterprise, has gained one of the top marks in the country in the Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Diploma exams, for which she studied online.

Maria Sherlock (54), who now lives in Castlebar, worked for her husband David’s business, Enginuity Engineering and Technical Services, before opting to begin the programme, recognised as the fastest pathway to a fulfilling and rewarding professional accounting career.

The mother of two teenage children, Aisling and Conor, Maria took a career break from 2002-2013, returning to the workforce with the family company.

“With two teenage children, my eyes have been opened to online learning, particularly for mature students,” said Maria. “I have no concerns now about my children making the perfect career choice, as I can see there are many alternate paths at third-level which you can undertake while holding down a job and raising a family”.

Maria said whilst looking after the company’s accounts she realised there were areas she needed to learn more about. “I liked the flexibility of studying for the Accounting Technicians Ireland Diploma qualification online. I researched it and work colleagues had good things to say about the programme. I chose to study online as I was busy with work and needed flexibility. Also, I had not studied for such a long time and I felt comfortable with the online option. The recorded lectures could be viewed at any time. But lecturers were always available to answer questions and there was amazing support from fellow students.

“Fortunately, we had met up in Dublin just before Covid hit and set up a WhatsApp group. There was a great mix of people and we helped each other out. It was a lifeline. I found the entire programme excellent. It was exactly what I needed, consolidating everything I had already learned through experience, and putting a strong framework around it. Lecturers were very supportive and knowledgeable”.

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