First in family to go to university, mum Claire nets first class honours
She was the first in her family to go to university — and now Claire Thompson is graduating with a first class honours.
The mother-of-two from the Glens of Antrim has graduated with a degree in Community Youth Work from Ulster University.
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She has been the first person in her family to go to university, in order to further realise her passion of helping young people in need.
Having left school aged 16 to have her son Declan, Claire, like the rest of her family, did not pursue further or higher education.
After spending several years working with children in various roles she took the decision to return to education full-time.
Claire admits it was difficult trying to juggle studying while working part-time, volunteering and raising a family.
“It was extremely challenging at times trying to balance study with everything else that was going on in my life. I have a daughter Cliodhna, who is eight and my son Declan has just completed his first year of university in Liverpool,” she said.
In the second year of her degree Claire was diagnosed as dyslexic.
“When I found out I was dyslexic, it was a relief. Up to that point I had struggled to complete coursework and couldn’t understand why I didn’t do well in exams. The diagnosis helped me to understand why I hadn’t done better.”
Claire has secured a graduate role with Start360, Northern Ireland’s leading provider of support services to young people, adult offenders and families in the community, following a placement there during the final year of her degree.