Sitting exams isn’t fun but waiting for the results does not bring much to laugh about either. Thousands of students will get their much anticipated leaving cert results tomorrow. Some students will be happy but some won’t. It’s important to remember there is life after the leaving cert.

Career Choices      

If you are unsure about what route to take, remember you have choices. Here are some tips to help you find the right career for you:

Choose a career that fits with who you are – If you think about your strengths, passions, skills, values and dreams, you will have a much better chance of finding a career that you enjoy. Take some time to think, and discuss this with the people you know and trust.

Do the research – Visit your school career guidance counsellor. Talk to people who are working in careers that interest you; find out what they do, how they got to where they are and what they like and dislike about their job. Look on job seekers websites to see what is offered. There may be jobs there you haven’t even heard of. Note the qualifications required.

Gain a qualification – As you progress with study, you will discover areas that you may not have known existed. Taking the first step can often lead on to some very interesting and fulfilling possibilities. If you don’t feel ready for university or college now, you can always return later as a mature student. This is an increasingly popular option and is worth thinking about.

Apprenticeship –You can take an apprenticeship. This means learning while working, in professions such as carpentry and mechanics. Unfortunately, since the economic downturn, there are not as many apprenticeships available and it is much harder to get onto an apprenticeship scheme. There is still a specific female apprenticeship scheme in place to encourage the entry of women into male dominated professions.

Entrepreneurship – You can start your own business. Sure, why not!

PLC – Post Leaving Cert courses – These are a good choice for getting a taste of the career you are interested in. A range of courses is available, including childcare, accounting, computers, beauty, catering, secretarial and media. PLC qualifications can also be used to help you get a place in university in Ireland and the UK. Contact your careers office or local VEC for more information.

FAS – provides a range of services to help people find work and learn new skills. The FÁS website has information on a huge number of options for anyone looking for work or qualifications, from crafts to computers to farming to finance. Details of all training courses are available is not going to set you in concrete – there will be many options and many more decisions to make along the way.

Travel and volunteering – Not everyone wants to jump straight into more study after school and even more people don’t want to get a job right after school or university! Travel and or voluntary work can be the perfect way to decide what the next step is for you: be it education, work or taking over the world!

Art, Crafts, and Entertainment If none of the above options appeal to you then why not consider starting a band, joining religious life, pursuing acting, opening an art gallery, joining a circus, starting a blog, writing a book, doing gardening work etc.

Develop transferable skills – Employers are prepared to train you and keep you updated in the specific knowledge required for their business if you can show that you have skills and traits such as reliability, punctuality, positive attitude, efficiency and organisational skills. Other notable pros include computer skills, adaptability, the ability to take initiative and honesty.

Find a mentor The key is to find someone you trust, and who is already very successful at what you want to accomplish. Talk to them, discuss different options and try to get some clarity, direction or first steps to take. Everyone needs a wingman at times, and there’s no shame is asking for a little guidance.

Goals – Your goals at this stage may not be completely clear but that’s okay – career development is a process. As you keep thinking, talking, reading and researching, the fog of uncertainty will clear! Just remember, the first decision you make about your

Lesson learned

There are many ways to cross the bridge from the teen years into adulthood, and many different pathways to working out and doing what you want with your life. Sometimes it can be confusing to know what to do but as you learn more about yourself and what you’re interested in the easier the decisions become. Congratulate yourself for getting through school. No matter what results you got endless possibilities lie ahead. Be sure to savor every moment. Be sociable, have fun, but be diligent. You’re embarking on the best years of your life – make the most of them!

 Sinead Kane – The Kane Ability, Motivational Speaker

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