DEAR SIR: Last week saw me complete my block week as part of the distance learning Green Certificate course at Gurteen College, Co Tipperary. I arrived on Monday morning in nervous anticipation of the week that lay ahead. Would I be able to complete the tasks and assessments? Will the others in the group be sound or will they laugh at my limited skillset? I need not have worried at all.

From the moment I passed through the daffodil-lined avenue of Gurteen College, my fears were put to rest.

The course co-ordinator, experienced tutors and technicians welcomed any and all opinions, questions and ideas.

They were patient and kind throughout.

We were welcome to stroll the grounds and use the facilities too (waiting for summer to test the swimming pool).

The catering staff made sure we had the energy required for learning and probably increased my own condition score by a point or two over the four days.

Their bemused faces at mealtimes asking “well, how did ye get on?” is testament to the fact that everyone is invested in the student experience at Gurteen.

When in your adult life would you meet such a diverse group of people from all different walks of life I thought to myself all week.

Every student is an expert in their own individual fields. However, we found ourselves literally in a new field every day learning skills and testing theories.

The group itself gelled together well, so well that we departed Gurteen a little worse for wear on the last day – the local pub providing us with a solid base for team bonding.

Next time

As the week drew to a close, I was already looking forward to the next time the group would meet again.

While I didn’t get a European city break this Easter, I would give my few days in Gurteen a decent Tripadvisor rating all the same.