Step in a new direction: Two postgraduates on their surprising choices

We spoke with two postgraduate students who picked courses to change their careers

Many people will choose a postgraduate course because they need a particular skill set related to their current role. But some simply want a change of direction, or they choose a course that seems a slightly left-field choice. We caught up with two postgraduates about how and why they took a road less travelled.

From administration to law and mediation: Catherine Moran

“I’d been working for many years as an office administrator in an award-winning architectural practice when the 2008 recession hit.

“I returned to study as a mature student and completed a four-year honours law degree (LLB) at IT Carlow, now amalgamated into SouthEast Technological University. I decided not to continue studying to qualify as a barrister at King’s Inns, due to the long years needed to become established, but interest in law, particularly employment law, continued.

“I’d had many conversations with friends about workplace conflicts that had not been managed properly. My interest in law and conflict resolution brought me to a level eight postgraduate certificate in mediation at Griffith College Dublin.


“Mediation is, in practice, about reframing and steering a difficult conversation to find your own resolution to a problem. If we are questioning someone’s motives, we may approach the subject with “why did you do that?”; in return, we may receive a defensive or aggressive response to what is perceived as an accusatory question. Reframing this question to “I want to understand the reasons for ...” will return a less defensive response as the individual will not feel they are being directly accused.

“Training and working as a mediator and workplace behavioural analyst has provided a greater insight and understanding of the dynamics between people and how we perceive ourselves and others.

“I continue to work as an office administrator in the architectural practice and have my own practice as a mediator.

“I work mainly with separating couples and offer mediation in workplace, community or neighbourhood disputes. Parenting plans, budgets, separation agreements and court filings for decree of divorce are all part of what we do without the cost of engaging a solicitor. More and more people are realising they can find their own agreement in mediation as opposed to having decisions imposed on them by the courts.”

· Catherine Moran is a member of the Mediators Institute of Ireland. Find our more about her practice at

From HR to clinical leadership: Lorraine Inglis

“I’ve worked in a number of industries, including manufacturing and construction, education and, since 2017, with Centric Health, a primary care company with over 70 primary care practices and 600,000 patients in Ireland.

“I’d previously had my own human resources consultancy business, but healthcare was a new area for me.

“There’s a different dynamic in healthcare, but I am not a healthcare worker. I wanted to gain a greater insight into the needs of those of my colleagues who are healthcare workers, and the pressures they faced. I’d witnessed the extraordinary lengths that my colleagues and support staff went to during the pandemic and I wanted a better understanding.

“So I enrolled in the professional diploma in clinical leadership (PDiCL) at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland [where participants usually come from healthcare backgrounds and can include doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals, as well as those from business backgrounds who want to develop leadership skills].

“Around 16 of my colleagues had done the course and, as we were doing our development plans, I wanted a more clinical side to my portfolio.

“One of the modules focused on you, your activities and your leadership approach, and there were reflections on ourselves as individuals, as leaders and team players.

“We looked at case studies of where healthcare management had got it wrong, and the fallout from that.

“It has given me a greater insight into the different stakeholders in health and, most importantly, how the patient can get the best result from healthcare. It’s given me a better tool set to step back and consider the broad range of options and how they could impact my decisions.”

· Lorraine Inglis is a graduate of RCSI’s professional diploma in clinical leadership and director of human resources for Centric Health