Point in Time: ‘There’s always that line back to the home ship’

By Stephen Leonard

TU DUBLIN Tallaght is not short on success stories throughout its near 30-year-long history so far, and that of Christine Nangle is certainly one worth telling.

At the time of the opening of Tallaght RTC back in 1992, Christine was a young secondary school student from Rowlagh eager to progress to third-level education.

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Twenty years to the day she entered the college as a student in 1997, Christine Nangle was back in IT Tallaght as Head of Department of Accountancy Photo by Paddy Barrett

A participant in Dr Brian Fleming’s Clondalkin Higher Education Access Project in Collinstown Park Community College, she entered the RTC back on September 1, 1997.

Twenty years to that very day she was back in the college and taking over as Head of Department of Accountancy in 2017.

“I did my Leaving Cert in 1997 and the RTC was exactly where I wanted to go after that,” she told The Echo.

“I was conscious of location because, while I had the points for the likes of UCD, I was concerned about getting there and Tallaght, for me, was accessible and I needed to be able to stay the pace for the four years.

“I suppose I was also quite conscious at the time that I was from Rowlagh and I was somewhat intimidated by the likes of UCD or DCU.

“When I look back, I realise I was very capable and competent and I would have been fine, but my younger self didn’t think like that.

“Throughout my time in Collinstown Park and into IT Tallaght, there were small gestures made to me that may seem trivial, but made a huge difference.

“Walter Doolin was my Business Studies teacher in Collinstown at the time and Winnie Neary was my Accounting teacher then and between both of them, they were fantastic.

“Brian [Fleming] was always great and when I went into IT Tallaght, Vincent [Lennon] became my new ‘Brian’. He would constantly check in on me to see if everything was ok.

“On a day when you feel like you don’t belong, someone takes the time to make you feel like you do. That can be the difference between staying and leaving.

“I did four years [in IT Tallaght]. I did the honours degree there and we were kit-gloved through because it was the early stages of the programme.

“There was huge emphasis on employability and we were told all the way along the milestones that we had to hit each year in order to obtain what would have been the accounting professional body exemptions.

“Thomas Stone and Martin Nolan would have been the primary accounting lecturers and they made sure we were afforded every opportunity as any other student in any other university.

“I did my four years and I had intended going back and teaching at that stage.

“But I took the professional accountancy route under the direction of Tallaght so I did a three-and-a-half year training contract with Deloitte and I completed the professional accountancy exams with Chartered Accounting.

“I got my articles in 2005 and then I worked with Coca Cola for eight years as their Head of Internal Audit.

“Martin and Tom were a lifeline to us afterwards. I can’t tell you how many calls I made to them afterwards and I wasn’t alone in that. We all had their numbers.

“Nobody cuts ties with Tallaght. They move on to the next stage, but there’s always room to come back and ask ‘What will I do next?’ There’s always that line back to the home ship.

“In 2005 Martin contacted me to come back and do some auditing lectures part time and I continued doing that throughout my entire industry career.

“In 2014 I went back into the college in the capacity as Finance Manager in a full time role. So I went to the admin side of the house.

“Then Martin, who was Head of Department, retired and I thought ‘That’s me. That’s where I want to be’, because I had always straddled between education and accounting industry and that gave me the perfect blend. So I became Head of Department of Accountancy in 2017.

“I had joined as a student on the 1st of September 1997 and I walked back in on the 1st of September 2017 as Head of Department, 20 years to the day.

“I had big shoes to fill because what the guys did ahead of me, there wasn’t much perfecting you could do on it.

“It was just about maintaining the ethos of what they had already built and taking into consideration future-proofing it,” she said.

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