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Ennistymon Vocational School student Shane Price who won first prize in the transition year category of the 2022 Career Skills Competition

Ennistymon student Shane has the skills to win national award

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A NORTH Clare student has showcased his skills and scooped a national award. Shane Price, who attends Ennistymon Vocational School, has been named a winner in the 2022 Career Skills Competition.

Shane came first place in the Transition Year category of the competition with an impressive career investigation on Computer Programming – Artificial Intelligence and an essay detailing his work experience in a health pharmacy.

The aim of the competition is to encourage independent career research among second level students and to foster awareness around the importance of career skills, which can be developed as a result of completing a work experience placement.

Shane tells us he “found the whole experience amazing”. He explains, “The competition was all about writing an essay of having a critical view of skills required for careers observed in work experience and the second part of the essay required you to do your own research into another career that you do not have any work experience in.

“It requires you to look at access paths you can take and realize that there is more than one way into any career you may like to join. I decided to write about my experiences at Murphy’s Total Health Pharmacy in Ennistymon and look at skills in managing customers and being able to help them to the best of your ability.

“In the end, what set my essay apart from a lot of the essays was that I decided in the end that a career in pharmacy was not for me as I thought that it would be more dealing with the chemistry side but in the end I found it more to be about dealing with many people buying prescriptions and how it may affect them. I also found it was a lot of organisation and cataloguing of medications which I did not find to be suited to me.

“I also looked at a programming career for my career analysis, I spoke about how my father is a programmer and the skills and attributes of his he used to excel at his job and how I enjoyed computers. I found a course from my research that would help me get to a job and career I would like to go into.”

Ennistymon Vocational School principal Orla Conway has said the school are delighted with Shane’s win out of thousands of entrants nationally.

“We are very proud of Shane, this is a major achievement to win this award at a national level and we were delighted to accept €1,000 on behalf of the school.”

The competition, running for 13 years, was developed by CareersPortal, Ireland’s award winning career guidance website, and this year is sponsored by AIB.

Speaking about Shane’s entry Niamh Feeney of Careers Portal said, “We thoroughly enjoyed reading his entry in which he spoke a lot about up-skilling and further developing his speaking/presentation skills and gaining a greater insight into other people’s lives. 

“Upon his work experience, which he enjoyed, he realised that working in a pharmacy wasn’t for him and his interest truly lies in technology. It was exciting to watch this unfold and Shane went into great detail about his skills, reflection, career investigation and research. A fantastic entry and well deserving of first place.”

Minister of Education, Norma Foley TD congratulated the winning students at the 2022 Career Skills Competition annual awards ceremony at the Department of Education, Dublin. The competition was held for the first time since 2019 due to Covid-19.

The competition was open to all Senior Cycle students who were participating in the Transition Year Programme, the Leaving Cert Vocational Programme (LCVP), the Leaving Cert Applied Programme (LCA) or the Leaving Cert Established Programme (LCE) and who had undertaken a Work Experience Placement to enter.

Students had the choice to enter the competition in either English or Irish and in a written or Vlog format.

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 might influence their future career and educational choices.

Minister Foley said, “I would like to congratulate the winners of the 2022 National Careers Skills competition across all categories.   Work experience is of such importance and the students who took part in this competition have shown a great ability, flexibility and independent research to reflect on this experience, and the career and employability skills they developed.

“The Career Skills Competition aims to promote the importance of career skills and encourage the value of career research. Work placements provide a bridge between education and training and link students and employers; they help bring the world of work to life.

“I am very pleased to see that many occupations with such a diverse educational pathway explored on this occasion. The winners of the 2022 competition have explored occupations with so many different entry routes from further education and training including apprenticeships and higher education courses. I congratulate everyone who participated in making the most of this opportunity.”

Eimear Sinnott, MD of CareersPortal, said that, “Research has shown that while academic performance is important, the development of career skills 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 employability skills.”

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