Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elva Bannon from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Elva Bannon

Mechatronic Engineer

Smart Futures

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  Elva Bannon

I found having education in a number of different areas of engineering to be beneficial to the work I am doing.

There is a whole world of possibilities out there for engineers, and it is difficult to know what subjects are necessary for the industry you will end up in. I was always interested in robotics and environmental issues, but it was not until my Masters that I really knew what I wanted to do.

General entry courses are quite useful, as you get a taste for a few different areas before you have to specialise, a lot of companies offer on the job training, and there is also the possibility of further study.

An engineering qualification teaches you so much more than just the technical subjects, but a way of looking at the world and solving problems in a logical and systematic way.

Engineers are sought after for these skills as much as the technical ones, and it opens up incredible opportunities. Engineering is not an easy route through college, but it is incredibly rewarding.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Options for Repeating The Leaving Cert

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Options for Repeating The Leaving Cert

Thursday, August 13, 2015 

Options for Repeating The Leaving Cert

So you’re pondering the prospect of repeating your Leaving Cert? Although the thought of launching into a flurry of exam stress again so soon can be very daunting, it may be the most appropriate option for you. If you are unsuccessful in obtaining the results you want fear not - another year of study may not be as horrifying as you think.

Guidance Counsellor Aoife Walsh, writing in this week's Independent outlines some of the choices available to disappointed students who may find themselves considering this option:

The Leaving Cert year is one of the most challenging in any young person's life and this is not likely to change the second time around. For many young people, the goal of the Leaving Cert is simply to achieve the necessary requirements to gain access to their chosen course, which should also be kept at the forefront of one's mind when making decisions for next year.

If a student has already achieved a place on a course that will get them to their career goal, moving forward to third level may be the best option. Alternatively, a further education course, which could allow the student to gain access to their college course next year may be appropriate.

When considering whether or not to repeat, it is helpful for students to ask themselves the following questions. What prevented me from gaining the result I wanted? Were these circumstances within my control? Will it be different this year or am I likely to fall into the same habits? It is possible to do much better in the Leaving Cert second time round, but is also possible to slide into old habits and achieve results that are only slightly better than the first sitting.

Students should also consider their subjects, some of which will have different course work each year. For example, in English, the skills students are required to develop remain fixed but the texts may change. Other subjects that may be affected by changes in the prescribed exam material from year to year include music and history.

Do I need to repeat all subjects? 

Where to repeat? 

Students who decide that repeating is the best option for them must also consider where they might choose to repeat. They may wish to return to their own school, but such a move is normally at the discretion of the school principal. Repeating in one's own school has the benefit of being in a familiar environment, close to home with teachers who know and understand the students. However, most schools do not have a dedicated repeat class, so returning students will be surrounded by others taking Leaving Cert for the first time, which can create its own challenges.

The small number of second-level schools with dedicated repeat classes include St Joseph's, Marino and O'Connell's on Dublin's northside, St Laurence College, Loughlinstown, south Dublin and Coláiste Mhuire CBS, Mullingar, Co Westmeath It worth checking with local Education and Training Boards (ETBs), as some further education colleges offer a repeat year. This option allows students to move to a college environment, but study a Leaving Cert course.

Students may consider dedicated grind schools, which have a strong track record in helping repeat students to improve their results, although they are the most expensive option.

A list of some schools and colleges hosting repeat Leaving Cert can be found here.

I did Leaving Cert Applied - What Next?

While Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) students cannot apply directly to the CAO, there are a number of options available to them if they wish to complete further study or training. LCA students may apply to further education/PLC colleges, where they can study at Level 5 or Level 6 in a variety of areas.

These qualifications may then be used to enter the workplace or to progress to a Level 6, 7 or 8 course in a third-level college.

LCA holders can also apply for an apprenticeship, the Defence Forces, Teagasc and other school-leaver programmes.

Explore detailed information on apprenticeship options here.

Aoife Wash is a Guidance Counsellor at Malahide Community School in Dublin. 


The CareersPortal Team