Our Team – Experience, Expertise & Excellence

Learning Together
The OTC staff on Conferring Day 2015

Our team combines expertise in adult education with deep sectoral experience and a passionate commitment to delivering excellence in everything we do.

They are supported by more than 20 nationally recognised, subject matter experts and associate tutors who work with us to:

  • Support students in their studies and the process of applying what they learn to their practice
  • Provide leading edge insight

Average No. of Years in Sector

Front Line Experience: 13 years

Delivering Training & Education: 11 years

Dr Karen Finnerty

College Director

Dr Karen Finnerty, College Director, The Open Training College

Karen has been Director of the College since 1999. Prior to that, she spent 15 years in the USA and Ireland working in a number of roles encompassing education and training, management development and services for people with disability.

Her areas of interest include:

  • Quality in third level education
  • Life-long learning
  • Adult education

She is former editor of Frontline magazine and sits on a number of national working groups/committees devoted to education and social care.

Karen  is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, IMI and DCU. She recently received her Doctorate in Social Studies from the University of Leicester.

Aine Melinn

Assistant College Director

Aine was appointed Course Director in 1992. Before joining us, she lectured in University College Cork and was a senior psychologist in St Michael’s House.

In the more than 20 years she has spent with us she has repeatedly demonstrated her commitment to developing 3rd level educational opportunities that support life-long learning and adult education.

Her areas of interest include:

  • Behavioural analysis
  • Systematic instruction
  • Supported employment
  • Stress management

In addition to her work with the College, she also practices as a consultant trainer for the Irish Cancer Society, where she supports staff, patients and families in their understanding of psychological responses to cancer.

Aine is a graduate of University College Dublin and an associate fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland.

Raymond Watson

Director of eLearning

Raymond has been with the College since 2002 and is, currently, our director of eLearning and Management Course Director. Before assuming these roles he spent 10 years serving as the Course Director of the Social Care degree programme.

Prior to joining the college, Raymond managed a residential setting for Menni Services, St. John of Gods. He has also worked with the Callan Institute and St. Annes, Roscrea in Ireland. He began his career working as part of a behavioural support team in London.

His areas of interest include:

  • Positive behavioural supports for people labelled with challenging behaviour
  • Person centred planning
  • Online learning for adult learners
  • Communities of practice

Raymond has been involved in many projects while at the College including work with Health Action Overseas in Romania, Rosequal; and supporting and educating a variety of Irish services in person centred planning. In addition, he sits on the Board of Health Action Overseas and the Online Learning Group of the National Federation of Voluntary Bodies.

Raymond holds a MSc in Lifelong Learning/e Learning from Ulster University.

Brendan Collins

Course Director – Management Courses

Brendan is Course Director of our Management Programmes. Before joining the College in 1999 Brendan worked for Enable Ireland (formerly Cerebral Palsy Ireland) for many years in first line positions culminating in his developing and leading the Community Development Programme for adult service users in Dublin. During this time he was also a member of the first cohort of students of the OTC’s management courses.

Apart from his work with the Open Training College, Brendan has developed and managed a range of projects based in human service organisations dealing with topics ranging from quality assurance to change management. He has also facilitated and supported a large amount of adult learners in a number of institutes of learning. Brendan has also worked with Health Action Overseas in Romania and is currently a Board Member of HAO.

Apart from his OTC management qualification, Brendan also holds a BA (Hons) in Training and Education from NUIG and a Diploma in Community Development from UCC. Brendan is currently completing an MA in International Development with Kimmage Development Studies Centre.

Dr Noelín Fox

Course Director – Social Care Degree

Dr Noelin Fox, Course Director BA in Professional Social Care

Noelín is Course Director of our Social Care degree courses. She started in this role in June 2016. Prior to that she worked in disability services in Ireland for many years both in service development and in service management. Noelín is a graduate of University College Dublin and the University of Limerick. She completed her PhD with the Centre for Disability Law and Policy in the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2013.

Noelín’s areas of interest include:

  • Human Rights and Equality
  • Independent Living and Supported Living
  • Deinstitutionalisation – individualised services

Claire Hopkins

Director of CPD & Short Programmes

Claire is director of our CPD and short programmes. Since joining the College in 2006, she has worked as a tutor, programme developer, workshop facilitator and co-ordinator on a range of our Applied Social Studies, Supported Employment, Train the Trainer and Level 5 programmes.
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She has also worked with teenagers and adults with disabilities for four years as a job coach and community facilitator. Her particular area of interests are:

  • Adult & community education
  • Programme/Curriculum development & instruction
  • Person centred planning
  • Group facilitation
  • Supported employment

Claire completed her M.Ed in Adult and Community Education in 2010 with NUI Maynooth.

Ronnie Harrison

Academic Affairs Manager

Ronnie Harrison crop jpg

Ronnie is our  Academic Affairs manager. Before joining the College, he had worked in the education sector for over 20 years, as a teacher, trainer and lecturer. These roles developed into his becoming a department, programme and quality manager.

In recent years, Ronnie’s roles have focused on quality assurance and programme development, implementation, validation and review, in addition to institutional review and accreditation. He sees the quality function as primarily supporting:

  • Student-centred learning
  • Optimisation of learning outcomes
  • Professional pedagogical development
  • Teaching and learning
  • Continuous quality improvement

Ronnie has worked extensively on internal and external educational consultancy projects in Ireland, the rest of Europe, the Middle East and Far East. He holds a B.A. from DCU and an M.Phil. from TCD. He is currently undertaking a Doctorate in Education (EdD) on “Access and barriers to 3rd level entry”, at Queen’s University, Belfast.

Conor Murray

Corporate Services Manager

Conor is our Corporate Services Manager and is responsible for building partnerships with industry groups and experts.  He also manages 3rd party services that promote the College and support the student body.

Before assuming this role in 2008, he headed up our administration department and helped coordinate the expansion of our student numbers.

Prior to joining the College  in 2005, he worked in publishing and procurement in the United States.

Conor graduated with a B.Sc. (Mgmt) Degree from Trinity College and holds an M.B.A. degree from Loyola College, Maryland, USA.

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