By Mary Lucey Founder Career Ahead
Many students regard transition year as a as doss year and complete it with no real plan in place or set goals to achieve. Yet, it is a time that can result in enormous benefits to students from both a career and personal perspective. The benefits of TY are sometimes not evident to students, or indeed parents, until they are making their CAO choices or starting college. It does demand, however, that the student fully engages with TY and personally ensures they get the most from it. They should avail of every possible opportunity presented to them during the year. It is also the first-time students are given a licence to develop their own personalities and create their own unique opportunities. Once approved by their school, they can pursue personal, individual opportunities during the school term. For example, I am aware of students who spent a month in France; went on sailing courses in West Cork; set up and managed fundraising events; went on filmmaking courses – the list is endless and benefits enormous. If the TY student does not fully embrace this approach to transition year; it really is their major loss.
Below are tips I believe transition year students should take on board which will undoubtedly benefit them for their leaving certificate, college and beyond!
1. Plan and Stick to it – Students should make an individual plan to correspond with the schedule they get from their school, identifying what they personally want to achieve each month of TY. They then need to take the necessary actions to ensure they achieve each month’s goal or goals.
2. Part-time work – TY is a time when students should secure some part-time work. The personal development and learning that takes place in a workplace environment is second to none. In many cases, students are transformed – they gain confidence; learn how to deal with people; learn to take on responsibility; learn timekeeping skills; teamwork, etc, the list is endless. If they cannot find paid work – they should consider volunteering, again this will stand to them in the future.
3. Foster Independence – Students should: open up a bank account and bank online; practice surviving on a tight weekly budget; practice going shopping for themselves; learn how to cook three nutritious meals; do a first-aid course; study and take the driver theory test and get their provisional driving licence; practice the skill of introducing themselves in a confident manner; learn how to construct an email properly and communicate in a professional manner; plan and manage trips via buses; trains etc
4. Learn a new skill – During TY; students should try and learn a skill that will travel with them. For example, barkeeping skills; barista skills; cooking skills; retail skills; playing an instrument. This means, going forward, they will be able to secure work or earn, no matter where they travel to in the world.
5. Building Up Qualifications –
Students should use TY to start to build up qualifications. Especially since Covid; the number of online certified courses is enormous. If a student feels they are interested in following a particular career; an online course is ideal to complete to get a feel for a discipline.
6. Start Thinking Careers –Work experience is an element for all TY students and time and time again; this is not taken on board in a manner that will really benefit the students. In a lot of cases, it is viewed as a box ticking exercise without really looking at the possible opportunity here. Students should start to research and consider what courses they might like to follow and how work experience can provide an insight into these careers. The student themselves need to approach and secure their own work experience, not the parent or guardian. I have yet to come across a businessperson or employer who is unhelpful or unkind to a young student who personally has the confidence and takes the time to get in touch with them. They may not be able to take on students for work experience, but they will certainly engage and advise them what their career is like.
7. Overcome an obstacle – There is always something that throws all of us – be it giving a presentation; talking in front of a group; approaching a teacher with an issue; eating a balanced diet; exercising regularly; – students should use TY to get help and develop skills to overcome these issues so that will not continue to be future obstacles.
8. Get Better – Every TY student has a skill or an interest, a passion that they love. Be it football, rugby, art, gaming, music, singing, maths, science, computers, etc. They should explore it more and focus on getting better and better at it during the school year. Ideally, it may be something that can be converted to a college course, a scholarship application, and a future career.
Founder Career Ahead
087 9338941 www.careerahead.ie