Work experience during your academic years…

Most of us spend minimum 10 years and up to 20 years in school, whether it be in primary, secondary and / or third level education striving to achieve an education and a qualification that will secure us a job / career that we will like and that will pay us a salary to meet our desired future lifestyle.

As we begin our education, we have no idea why we are doing it, where it will lead us to, where it will take us to and what will be the outcome / reward at the end in the areas of a job / career. As we progress, we realise that the reward is to get a job, build a career, become self-sufficient and pay our way.

Some people begin to pay their way when their third level education is completed, while others start working as soon as they are legally able to i.e. @ 16 years young, whether it be in their parents / guardians family business or through someone they know.

Work experience during your academic years can be such a rewarding experience. Never mind the ‘paying your way’ mentality, which is really only a by-product; the true benefit is the opportunity for you to grow, meet all types of people, do all kinds of work tasks and get an idea of what you’re good at, what your skills / competencies are and decide on a job / career future before your academic years are complete.

In the years that you have no major examinations, force yourself to search for and secure a job at w/e’s, during mid-term breaks and of course in summertime; a job that you like, that will challenge you and that you will learn from.

Some of these jobs might not deliver all of these; however you are at the very least making some money, meeting new people and not wasting all of your precious time watching other people doing well in their lives…

The Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) – Let’s Break it Down!

Leaving Certificate Vocational ProgrammeThe Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme is provided in many schools across the country, though not all schools provide it, due to reasons of class numbers, location and coordination challenges. We are told that there are over 500 schools offering the programme, which is still a lot. The LCVP offers students a unique opportunity to develop their interpersonal, vocational and technological skills, and experience at first hand the ‘real’ world and what it takes to ‘make a living’ after education is complete.

Benefits of completing the LCVP are many;

  • For CAO purposes, the points achieved in six subjects can be used.
  • It is completed before the June examination
  • Help students choose a their third level course
  • Help students choose their ideal career
  • Develops IT, communication, vocational and writing  skills as well as develop skills in case studies, interview techniques and teamwork, which will be very helpful to students pursuing third level education or those who wish to enter the jobs market after completing their Leaving Certificate.

Students can sit the Leaving Certificate Examination and choose to do the LCVP as an eighth or extra subject. The LCVP course consists of two link modules called ‘Preparation for the World of Work’ and ‘Enterprise Education’.

There are qualification criteria in order to complete the LCVP as well as doing the LCVP itself – two subjects in the Leaving Certificate from any one of specific combinations from subject groups (see further on in article); a language or a language module, Irish subject and a minimum of five Leaving Certificate subjects. Note that some students may be exempt from some languages.

Leaving Cert SubjectsSubject Groups (The Department of Education & Science):

  1. Accounting, Business, Economics (any two)
  2. Art and Accounting or Business or Economics
  3. Biology and Chemistry or Physics
  4. Biology, Home Economics, Agricultural Science  (any two)
  5. Construction Studies or Design & Communication Graphics and Accounting or Business or Economics
  6. Construction Studies or Design & Communication Graphics and Physics
  7. Construction Studies and Design & Communication Graphics
  8. Home Economics and Accounting or Business or Economics
  9. Home Economics and Art
  10. Music and Accounting or Business or Economics
  11. Physics and Chemistry.
  12. Art and Design & Communication Graphics
  13. Agricultural Science and Construction Studies or DCG
  14. Agricultural Science and Chemistry or Physics
  15. Agricultural Science and Accounting or Business or Economics

CAO Points for LCVP are 70 for a Distinction (80-100%), 50 for a Merit (65-79%) and 30 for a Pass (50-64%)

The LCVP course is made up of 60% of portfolio work, completed in fifth year and 40% is a written examination that takes place in May of sixth year.

The LCVP course includes the following (The Department of Education & Science):

  • Presentations from guest speakers from the world of work
  • Visit to places of work locally
  • Team Enterprises
  • Work Experience
  • Using Computer Technology
  • Interview Preparation and Technique
  • Learning how to write up reports and plans
  • Preparing Curriculum Vitae
  • Investigating Careers

The 60% part of LCVP contains (The Department of Education & Science):

  1. Core items (do all four)
    1. Curriculum Vitae
    2. Summary Report (on a visit in/out)
    3. Action Plan – i.e. on learning a new skill or organising an activity
    4. Career Investigation
  1. Optional items (do 2 out of 4)
    1. Recorded Interview – 5 minute interview on DVD
    2. Enterprise Report – e.g. on organising and running a fashion show
    3. Report on ‘My own place’ – i.e. a brief summary of what facilities are available in their local area
    4. Diary of Work Experience – 3/5 days of a work experience placement

The 40% part of the LCVP i.e. the examination incorporates      (The Department of Education & Science):

Section A – Audio Visual Questions:

Students watch a video featuring a business or community enterprise and answer questions on it.

Section B – Case Study:

Students read a short outline of a business or community enterprise and answer questions on it

Section C:

Students answer 4 out of 6 general questions.  Topics here include questions on careers, reports, plans, interview questions, work experience and items that have been written up in their portfolios.

Great advice for students looking to start their career

Read the paper… Improve Your Communication Skills – Knowledge is Key!

Newspapers are still around, they have not gone away, as we all thought they would during the ‘takeover’ of The Internet over the past 15-20 years. Research tells us that daily readership / weekly readership of newspapers is increasing as more and more people still want the option of picking something up and reading it.
As a student, why should you read newspapers daily or at least weekly?

Here’s why I think you should…

  • To know what is happening in the place where you live
  • To be able to hold a conversation with someone
  • To improve your verbal and written communication skills

To know what is happening in the place where you live

With employment activity increasing, property sales increasing and a more vibrant economic outlook developing, you as a resident should know the effect of all of these in your village, town, city, county, country and globally. Become interested in what is going on around you, get the detail and know the facts. Knowledge is power and by having the knowledge everything is possible for you.

To be able to hold a conversation with someone

Knowledge is everything. It gives you confidence; it helps assertiveness and instils self-belief. With these tools in your armour, you can hold a conversation with anyone, with someone you know or indeed a stranger. With smart phones taking over our world effecting our eyesight and posture (that’s a topic of conversation in itself!), we need to make a deliberate effort to start talking to people again, in the flesh so to say, even if it is just for the generations to come.

To improve your verbal and written communication skills

The world is full of excellent journalists, especially Irish journalists. These people have been academically trained, are quailed and experienced to deliver news to us through written communication every day. Embrace, cherish and be grateful for this gift from other people. By reading good journalism, our verbal and written communication skills will enhance, awarding you direct and indirect benefits in your education and career challenges / assignments.

Coming towards the end…!

You are now coming towards the end! It has been a long 5-6 years and the Leaving Certificate is now waiting for you and you are waiting for it. I hope that you are both looking forward to meeting each other. Your 5-6 years of hard work is now culminating into a 5-6 day (7-9 for most) period of 2-3 hour examinations that have the power to decide the rest of your and take you on a journey that you wish to travel or on a journey that you hadn’t planned to travel. Let’s together review these past years of secondary education that suddenly have gone by so fast and will end in a few weeks time.

Year 1:

Your first year of secondary school was probably a major transition for you from primary school. New teachers, new friends, and you changed from being called a pupil to a student. You probably were not aware of what was ahead of you. You probably were not too worried about it if you think back, though I guess on the morning and day before the first day, you were somewhat apprehensive. Anyway you got through it and suddenly it was Halloween, Christmas and Easter and Year 1 was over. That wasn’t too bad, was it?

Year 2:

For most of you, you may not remember Year 2. Year 2 is a year that tends to go by very quickly. Remembering what you learned, done and achieved in this year is difficult to do. You began to find your feet, accept and indeed get to like secondary school and were turning into more like a student, leaving behind the primary school years. You might say, you had no choice.

Year 3:

Junior Certificate year and your first official pressure of having to prepare for and complete a state examination – the precursor to the Leaving Certificate in 2-3 year time. This period in your second level academic career should be remembered, as this is when you had to learn and memorize things and answer questions on them and get a result of your work at the end. At the time it was important, but looking back on it, you feel it probably wasn’t that important, but believe me it was important.

Year 4 / Year 5:

This year was probably viewed by you as a rest year if you were doing Transition Year (Year 4 – TY) or if you were not (Year 5), you possibly did take a few weeks break, but you were not long re-focusing on the task facing you in two years time. You would have been told how these two year will go by so fast for you and now realize that they have.

Year 6:

This final year, you may feel a bit frustrated with yourself for not doing more work in Year 5 or you could be thinking that if I hadn’t chosen to do TY, I would have all this behind me right now. Whatever you chose, you are now in Year 6 facing one of the biggest challenges of your life. Do the best you can, that is all you can do. From now until June 9th, work as hard as you possibly can and you will be rewarded…best of luck before, during and afterwards it…!