We love to hear from our past graduates and how they are progressing since they finished with us.  Naomi Colclough is one of our degree graduates from 2016, the first group to complete the BA Hon in Early Childhood Studies.  Naomi was awarded Student of the Year at graduation for her outstanding work and commitment to her studies.  Over the 3 Naomi never missed 1 class which is extraordinary.  Here she tells us about her journey.

I have always loved working with children. When the time came time to pick a college course I knew it had to be something to do with children as I wouldn’t enjoy any other course or job if it wasn’t in that sector.  It was an easy choice at the end of the day as it suited my personality the best.  Having attend an all Irish primary school and Irish college each summer of secondary school I had developed a real love for the Irish language.

I was unsure what direction I wanted to go in after the degree but with the support from my tutors and the Head of Early Years Denise Flood I found my way into the Naionra which I could not be happier about.   I love that I get to use my skill of speaking Irish daily which makes me so happy.

Now that I am working I can see how relevant the course content was and each day I can see me using things I have learn throughout the degree. Although I found the research element of the course hard at the time, looking back now I would say it was one of my favourite things about the course.  There is a lot of work to complete and you never think it’s going to end but the research project allows you take a deeper look into something you find interesting and really lets you get an understand of the topic. I am very proud of my research project  and I am so happy that I got the chance to do it.

The support that I got from Portobello was outstanding.  I don’t think that any other college gives as much support to their students as the tutors of Portobello. No matter how busy they are they will always find time to you to help you out.  I know that if I went to any other college I wouldn’t have finished the course as well as I did or as happy as I did. 

I have learnt so much in the degree that I never would have if I went out to work after my HETAC level 6.  My understanding of the early years and the importance of it is so much better than it would have been if I didn’t do the degree. Yes the degree can be hard at times and it is another two years of study to commit to but its two years and you will be so happy about doing it, and with the support you get from Portobello it’s definitely manageable.


I started working in a Naionra in September 2016.  I went into my new role with confidence, able to work with families, a great understand of the importance early years, critically assess my practice and able to meeting local and national workforce development regulations.  I am unsure what the next step is after the Naionra but I feel in the future I may go back to Portobello to get a Masters in the Early Years before setting up my own mixed age preschool.

Naomi completed the degree course in Early Childhood Studies with Portobello Institute.