Two Navan students, Molly McGuiness and Niamh Dolan, have achieved unprecedented success on their QQI Level 5 Equine course in Dunboyne College of Further Education, achieving a combined total of 24 distinctions.
Molly McGuiness of Johnstown, Navan, became the most successful student Dunboyne College has ever had when she achieved 14 distinctions in her assessments as part of the Equine and Business Course. The course is designed to equip students with the skills and knowledge to work in the equine industry, as well as give valuable business background.
Molly, who is thrilled with her results, says that she always had an interest in equine. ‘Horses has always been my one and only passion, therefore I wanted to study something that involved horses. Then, I took a liking to managing and delegating in jobs since leaving school, which made my decision that I wanted to study business and become manager of some sort of equine business in the future. So, when I heard that Dunboyne College had a course that combined my two interests; equine and business, I decided to apply,’ she told us.
Molly loved her time in the college. She says, ‘My year in Dunboyne was full of laughter. Our tutors knew how to have good times but also take things seriously. The tutors made everyone feel comfortable, which helped to create informative and interesting class discussions, based on experiences in equine from everyone in the class. It was great having tutors who have worked in the equine industry, that could give us an insight into different aspects that you wouldn’t learn from a book.’
Molly admits there were challenges though, especially in completing assignments. ‘As I decided to do 14 modules, this meant that I had a lot of assignments to complete during the year. But with encouragement and guidance, I got through them and came out the other side.’
Molly has been shocked and delighted with her success but never took it for granted. ‘To be honest, every time I received a result, I was shocked. I knew I put in the work, but I didn’t have high expectations for myself after secondary school where I only received average results. I feel like studying something that you are passionate about, gives you the motivation you need to succeed. I think the support I received from the tutors helped me receive better results, as whenever I needed motivation or felt like I couldn’t do something or understand a topic, the tutor was always an email away. For example, in the last few weeks of the college year, my assignments started piling up to the point that I had decided I wanted to drop one of my main modules, I felt like I just couldn’t get it done. But the tutor refused to let me drop it and motivated me as best she could, and it ended up being one of my best results in the end.’
Molly’s class tutor, Catherine Joyce, describes her a ‘very hard working and determined student. Her ability to adapt and balance a working and a student life has to be admired, especially when achieving 14 distinctions, a feat that has never been achieved in the college before. She was attentive and persistent in class, and when producing her assignments and assessments. Molly has the attributes of a great horse woman: resolute, dedicated and blessed with a sense of humour; all the skills to survive and flourish in a demanding industry.’
Molly now plans on returning to Dunboyne College to complete the Level 6 Equine, where she hopes to continue to learn about every aspect of the equine industry.
Her classmate, Niamh Dolan of Wilkinstown, Navan, also achieved huge success with 10 distinctions and the winning of a scholarship award in the college. What makes her success even more admirable is that she started her year by participating in the course through blended learning from Australia. She later moved back to Ireland for the second half of the academic year, ironically going back to blended learning during the Covid-19 restrictions.
Her class tutor, Catherine Joyce, tells us that Niamh was working in Arrowfield Stud in Hunter Valley, Australia and returned to Ireland on 15th December to complete her semesterised exams. ‘She too, like Molly, balanced the working and student life excellently and was awarded 10 distinctions for her interminable determination. She is now working for Aidan O' Brien at Ballydoyle in Tipperary.’
Niamh is also glowing in her description of the course: 'The Equine course in Dunboyne College was an invaluable experience that provided me with numerous and new insights to give me the perfect head start to a hopeful career in the equine industry. The breeding, conformation and nutrition modules really helped me put information I'd previously learnt while working in the industry into a different perspective and really strengthen my knowledge in these areas. Overall, the experience was fantastic, from getting great support from the tutors and the college, having a lot of fun and making friends for life along the way.'
Molly and Niamh have no hesitation in recommending Dunboyne College for a full range of courses, not only in the equine area.
Niamh Dolan, who achieved 10 distinctions and won a scholarship award in the college.
Molly McGuiness, who achieved an unprecedented 14 distinctions in Dunboyne College’s Equine Horsemanship and Business Level 5 course.