What Are My Options When I Finish Secondary School?

Don't stress, there's many different paths available to you.

It’s finally summer! And if you’ve just finished sixth year and your Leaving Cert exams, congratulations. You deserve to celebrate and relax.

But you might also be thinking about what’s next for you. This is probably the first time in your life, where you haven’t had somewhere definite like school to go to in the autumn. So, we put together a guide to help you look at the options available after school.

1. College or University 

If you’re interested in going to college, you’ll need to start thinking about it before you finish school. The Qualifax website is a great source as it provides details on every course available to study in Ireland. It’s important to remember that you don’t always have to commit to a three or four-year course at one of Ireland’s well-known universities.

There’s many Level 7 courses available in colleges especially Institutes of Technology all over the country. These courses are often only one or two years long and if you get good marks, they can be a steppingstone to a Level 8 course which is a degree level course at university. To better understand how college courses and qualifications work in Ireland check out the National Framework of Qualifications.

2. Post Leaving Cert Courses (PLC)

Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are full time programmes for people who have completed their Leaving Cert. These courses are usually one year long and often lead to an award on the National Frame of Qualifications at Level 5 or Level 6.

PLC courses often offer a mixture of practical work, academic work, and work experience. A course such as this is a great idea if you’re not too sure what you want to do when you finish school as it gives you a taster of various disciplines. Most PLC courses in Ireland cover a wide range of disciplines including computing, nursing studies, media studies, tourism, childcare, and hairdressing.

3. Apprenticeships 

An apprenticeship is a recognised way that people can train in a craft, trade or profession. Differing from academic courses you’d find in university; an apprenticeship provides on the job training with an employer. It can take 2 to 4 years to become fully qualified through an apprenticeship, but this route offers much more hands on experience than is provided through university or PLC courses. You may also be paid during your apprenticeship, so this option gives you the opportunity to earn a living while also working and learning at the same time.

You might be familiar with apprenticeships in trades such as plumbing, engineering and electrical work but opportunities are also available in hairdressing, sales, finance, hospitality, and food. Checkout Generation Apprenticeships for more information.

4. Get a job

As the summer arrives you may have no idea what you want to do next. And that is absolutely fine! But if you’re looking for some money to help with all those summer plans you have with friends then getting a job could be a good idea. We’ve put together a guide on how you can land yourself a part time job that you might find helpful.

Getting a job will provide you with money (yay), a sense of purpose and a place to go every day. It’s also a great thing to put on your CV if you’re ever looking for an internship or another job in the future.

5. Internships

Internships are slightly tricky at the moment due to Covid-19. But the government has said a phased return to offices is expected from August onwards. So, it could be the perfect opportunity for you to look for an internship this autumn.

You might be interested in working in a particular industry, let’s say the media for example. It’s really hard to get a grasp of what that would be like to work as a writer or journalist by doing a course but stepping into the environment could tell you instantly if this is where you’d like to be.

If you know of a company, you’d like to work for why not reach out and ask if they offer internships. A great place to find the contact details of qualified professionals is LinkedIn. So, why not ask for an internship or even just a phone call to get a better idea of what the work is like. The worst that can happen is that they say no. But, maybe they’ll say yes, and you’ll find your dream job/career.

Read More: 

7 Ways To Help Your Parents Treat You Like An Adult 

7 Mate Dates You Need To Do With Your Bestie This Summer 

By Lauren Allen


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