Minister of State at the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills with special responsibility for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan TD met with students from around the country today Wednesday 8th May. The awards ceremony, which took place in the Clock Tower at the Department of Education and Skills, was to celebrate the winning students and adult learners in the CareersPortal National Career Skills Competition.
The competition, which is now in its 11th year, is sponsored by McDonald’s Ireland. The competition recognises students who research an occupation of their choosing during their Work Experience placement as either a Transition Year (TY), Leaving Certificate Established (LCE), Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) or Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) student at 2nd level or as a Level 4, 5 or 6 adult learner at a college of Further Education and Training.
Each student who took part in the competition was required to demonstrate their understanding of a chosen career, the educational pathways that lead to it, the most relevant knowledge requirements and the most important career skills needed to be successful in that career. The students were also required to explain which skills they had observed during their work experience and to explain how the skills they developed during their work experience has influenced their future career choices. The competition aims to foster an awareness around the importance of Career Skills and how those key skills link with employability.
The Expert Group on Future Skills has pointed out that “properly organised, structured supervised work placements are an invaluable response to enhancing student understanding of career opportunities, the reality of work, and in enhancing the work readiness of those placed.” Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 has also set out ambitious targets to raise the level of placements offered by employers. These sentiments on the importance of work experience and bring education and enterprise together have also been echoed in the recent report from the Independent Review of Career Guidance Tools and Information published by Indecon.
Eimear Sinnott, director of CareersPortal highlighted that “research has shown while academic performance is important, it is careers skills that are a greater indicator of future career success. Students need to understand this as early as possible so that they can work on recognising and developing these important career skills”.
McDonald’s, who employ over 5000 people, are a significant employer in the country with job opportunities in every county. Central to their employment philosophy is using their scale for good to help young people develop the skills they need to compete in an increasingly competitive labour market. McDonald’s partnered with CareersPortal 11 years ago in sponsoring this competition to help to raise an awareness around the importance of Career Skills.
Minister of State John Halligan TD congratulated the winners of the 2019 National Careers Skills competition across all categories, and commended the winners, both 2nd level students and adult learners, on their ability to reflect so well on the career and employability skills which they had developed during their work experience.
“Work experience is so important and these students have shown a great ability to reflect on this experience. Work placements are the bridge between education and training and link students and employers, they help bring the world of work to life.
I am particularly pleased to see so many occupations with such a diverse educational pathway explored. The winning students explored occupations with so many different entry routes, from Further Education and training including apprenticeships and Higher Education courses from level 7 to level 10.”
L-R: Daniel de Fhurlaing (1st place Gaeilge), Emaan Khan (1st place LC), Minister of State John Halligan, Ava Hirrell (1st place TY)
L-R: Pádraig Ó Beaglaoich, Aoife Nic Ghiolla Bhríde, Daniel de Fhurlaing, Ellen Caufield, representatives from Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh with Minister of State John Halligan, Eimear Sinnott, Cormac Breathnach.
L-R: Jodie Cleary (1st place FET), Chloe Beehan (Joint 3rd FET), Minister of State John Halligan, Caroline Reapy (2nd place FET), Sarah Dunne (Joint 3rd FET).
L-R: Caroline McHale, Ava Hirrell (1st place TY), Ellen Caufield, Minister of State John Halligan, Ruth Gleeson (2nd place TY), Genevieve McDonnell (3rd place TY), Eimear Sinnott.
About the National Career Skill Competition
This is a national competition with entries coming from all over the country. Separate categories and prizes are awarded to students from the Leaving Cert Established Programme (LCE), Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP), Leaving Certificate Applied Programme (LCA) and the Transition Year Programme. There is a special category for the best entries through the medium of Irish. For the Fourth year, the competition now includes Adult Learners in Further Education who are undertaking a Work Experience module as part of the course work for their QQI Level 4 and Level 5 Awards.
Each of the students in the winning categories won an GOProHero7 Camera, with great prizes also for those in second and third place. The winning schools in the 2nd level categories came away with €1,000 for their school programmes.
Presentations were made at a ceremony at the Department of Education and Skills.