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Memories, Community and Opportunity- Portobello Graduation 2019

Friday saw the Class of 2019 leave Portobello Institute and continue their journey, be it further education or employment. The graduates arrived in their best dress, getting their gowns on and taking their seats in fully packed Hogan Suite as the academic procession began to beautiful music by the young band. Once the faculty had taken their seats, Lynda O’Neill began the ceremony, introducing Portobello’s colleagues from London Metropolitan University.

Graduation is a very important day in the lives of each graduate, it highlights all the hard work and effort put in by each one of them. However, and more importantly, it showcases all the friends they’ve made along the way, the love and support of their families and the Portobello Institute community they are now apart of. 


Holly Flood playing as part of the band.

It can be easy to see graduation as a just celebration of academic intelligence alone, but as Darren Devereaux, our Strategic Partnerships and Validations Manager, highlighted by quoting Dostoevsky at the beginning of his speech, “it’s not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them… the character, the heart, generous qualities, progressive ideas”.

Here at Portobello, we strive to make learning as accessible as possible to everyone and anyone, through tutors who aim to help as much as they can, many of whom have been students here themselves, and the option of our blended courses of both online learning and in-class workshops. Graduate Aisling Fitzmaurice saw that the online learning was extremely intuitive and that the Saturday classes were both helpful and even more informative. Portobello aims to provide the assistance, guidance and support to help our graduates achieve anything they seek to. Graduate of Montessori Education, Carmel McShane said that she found her tutors, especially Dolores Kelly, to be extremely supportive and aided her with her dyslexia, going above and beyond what she expected from tutors.  


College Director, Denise Flood told the story of a past student of hers, one who had struggled throughout her school years and thought at first that she would drop out of Portobello. However, through her own hard work and the support of the college gave her, she went on to not only graduate, but has opened her own Montessori school. This is one of many stories of students who weren’t given a fair chance but, when given it, succeed ten-fold.

Our students are of a range of ages, nationalities and economic backgrounds, giving our college a sense of community unlike others. Elena Burke, graduate of Fashion Buying and Merchandising, said that her favourite memory of Portobello Institute will be the friends she made, “meeting all the girls, we were all so close and I think it’s unusual for a group to gel as well as we did”. From the graduation, one can easily see the friendship, comradeship and bond that students of Portobello develop with one another throughout their time here.

Sport Science Graduates Barry Hanratty and Ryan Kelly

However, the sense of community doesn’t stop at the students and tutors though, as Carmel McShane said that the staff members were kind and friendly, most notably our caretaker Jimmy who was “always there if you were having a down day, he was always there to talk to”.

College is the stepping-stone for furthering one’s career and for many of our graduates, Portobello was central to their progression to continuing their studies. For example, Kelley Sweeny Kelly, BA graduate in Early Childhood, hopes to continue her studies with a Level 8 in Early Childhood in February while she currently runs her own business.


Others will go on to look for work in their chosen industry, such as Osarenoma Odigie who hopes to get work with either an airline or hotel after studying Travel and Tourism. We offer our students the guidance to get them where they want to be, be it Montessori Teaching, Physiotherapy or SNAs.

To the Class of 2019, Portobello is still there for them. We would love for them to keep in touch, let us know how they are getting on if they’re going further with their studies or how they find their new employment in the industries.

If you are interested in applying for a course at Portobello, check out all our available courses by clicking here.

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