By Ken McCarthy, Springboard Co-Ordinator at WIT
"I never imagined that I would find my way back to education but when the family business closed in 2011 that was exactly what happened and it has been an interesting journey to say the least.
After the shock and disappointment at finding myself for the first time in my life without a job and redundant I applied myself to the job of finding a job. How hard can it be I thought, and wouldn't any company be only too delighted to have me. Many applications and even a few interviews later it became obvious that I was not perhaps as good a candidate as I thought that I was.
My CV and my education had what could be politely termed "gaps". The simple fact was it was almost twenty years since I left college and the word "left" does not accurately reflect the speed with which I ran out the door with my Diploma in hand. What might have been good enough in the nineties was well short of the mark now and while I had thought about returning to education to get my degree or even a masters I never had the time or couldn't afford the cost.
Springboard and my employment status put paid to both of those excuses. The courses were free and I had too much time now. It was while working on a JobBridge internship in Waterford Institute of Technology that I decided to take the plunge and enrolled on a course. The course I applied for was the Higher Diploma in Business in Management a Level 8 honours degree equivalent. Perhaps with this I wouldn't fall foul of the educational screening that seemed to rule me out of a lot of jobs that I knew I could do.
The course itself was run for two days each week and as well as the academic and practical content it gave me the opportunity to meet and study with many other people just like me who were in the same Springboard boat. In my class in 2012 there were twenty four of us and we studied a variety of business topics as diverse as Accounting, Strategy and Innovation, worked on our own and together in groups.
A lot had changed since I was first in college, no more subjects they were called modules now and instead of text books and photocopies we had Moodle and online journals. We got on well as a group and it was perhaps not as bad as I had remembered. Assignments and deadlines were a new thing too but thankfully I managed to navigate my way through those too.
The weeks flew by and as the results started to come in my confidence began to grow, I wasn't as bad at this education thing as I thought I was. I got a job too after I finished the programme as did most of my classmates so it worked from that point of view too. The terminology might have changed but the results were I am glad to say the same, get the qualification, get the job.
What do I do now? I help people like me to avail of the opportunities available and promote and recruit to the Springboard courses that we are running WIT this year. The Higher Diploma I studied myself is available again as are fifteen others. Have a look at www.wit.ie/springboard for more details and drop me an email or give me a call if you think I can help.
p.s. If you are trying to find me in the graduation photo above, I am second from the right at the back "
Check out our Springboard Courses for more information