Every time I read this article by Katherine Donnelly in the Irish Independent, and it reminds me of the last time I raised the issue about the lack of understanding and respect for Further Education – Apprenticeships and PLC courses. (See link at the end of this piece – Westmeath Examiner October 2017.)           “One of Ireland’s most successful businessmen says apprenticeships need to be seen in a different light by students and teachers, and not as a “fall-back option” to the CAO. Martin McVicar, co-founder and managing director of the world-leading Co Monaghan company Combilift, says the perception around apprenticeships needs to change.”                       

Working as a Career Coach, I see the reluctance of some educators, parents and students to engage with or promote, further education routes such as PLC and Apprenticeships courses. I am often disappointed to see the attitude displayed, that this route to education is ‘the last resort’, and only to be looked at, if the student does not get their degree choice. We need to educate people – including the educators – to promote further education courses side by side with degree courses, as an equal route to education choices and career opportunities. Each student needs to look at their own abilities and their learning styles, in addition to their interests.

These attitudes are not new, and many of us work against the tide to promote the many and varied education opportunities, to second level students and their parents. All education choices are valuable, Degree – Diploma – Further Education PLC and Apprenticeship courses. As long as the course you complete is accredited, and encourages you to learn at your pace, complimenting your learning style, then you have made the right education choice for you.

Read an article written by Carl O’Brien, in the Irish Times about the influences on career choices.  “Mothers are the single biggest influence on students choosing their career options even though they may be out of touch with developments in work and education” h

Education is about opening your mind to all possibilities and opportunities, all the while understanding that learning does not begin and end with one qualification.

Career Coaching Matters.
January 18th, 2019.

To young to retire – To old to get a new job?

Job Search – Decision Making – Better Planning – Not just for the younger generation.

 I heard a discussion this morning on Midlands 103 about people who are receiving long term unemployment payments. The topic gave rise to the a number of themes including one about people who have “retired” from employment and are finding it difficult to obtain new employment opportunities.

For many years now it has been my opinion that we are not addressing the challenges facing people who are seeking employment due to redundancy, retirement or returning to the work force after a career break. It is not my place to define the word ‘older’ people. We all know when the day comes that we feel a bit older. The disposable throw-away society is not just about getting rid of broken toasters and washing machines. We appear to have a similar attitude when it comes to people of a certain age. While the throw-away society might create more products and more jobs, the same mindset is dispensing with a wealth of experience, common sense and the understanding of loyalty.

Some people who retire in their late fifties or early sixties are quite happy to do so. They have a plan for activities, for employment, for travel or for more engagement with family, and they have worked out a budget, which enables them to do this.

However, many people who have to retire before they are ready to do so, find themselves struggling financially, physically or emotionally. While government has a role in this area, I would like to see employers working with staff so that the transition from full time employment to retirement is seamless, or at the very least, planned to make it a little bit easier.

  • Retirement planning should take place at some point during the five years before retirement date.
  • This is the time to complete a budget, to revisit your existing work place pension and to investigate your state pension entitlement. How will you manage your bills on a smaller income?
  • Will you have to find a job or sign for unemployment payments, because your pension payment does not start for 3 – 5 years after your retirement date?
  • Consider reducing your current working week in stages, rather than retiring with a bang. What about other employment opportunities? Will you get similar work in a full time or part time capacity?
  • Would you like to work at something new? Will you need to up skill or retrain?
  • Are you interested in returning to education?
  • Will you miss your work colleagues and the social interaction? Will you miss the routine of daily work? Will you miss having a pre planned purpose or goal?
  • How about getting involved in your community, in voluntary work?
  • Will you take up new interests, activities and hobbies?
  • Perhaps you might start your own business.If any of the above makes you anxious, or reminds you that you have some work to do, then now is the time to make a plan for the next stage of your life.

Even after a lifetime of work, we can all have issues surrounding confidence, fear of change and decision making. If you are moving in to a new world with changes and challenges, give yourself the time to research, to explore and find the path that is right for you.

Planning for retirement takes time. If you have spent 40 years of your life working in a job or various employments, spending a bit of time now to plan your retirement is not a big ask!

Career Coaching Matters. Email: