Galway student Laoise Nic Aindreasa from Colaiste an Eachreidh Athenry was one of the big winners at the national Career Skills Competition this year.
The AIB Career Skills Competition by Careers Portal saw secondary school students, their families, teachers and guidance counsellors gathering from across the country at the country at the Royal College of Physicians.
It was a hotly contested competition this year, with c. 1,000 student entries, an increase of almost a third on 2022, with Laoise taking the top prize in the Irish Language category.
Guest of honour Minister for Education Norma Foley TD congratulated the winning students on their impressive achievements and their winning entries.
Minister Foley said, “I would like to congratulate all of the students who entered the national career skills competition, now in its 13th year.”
“This competition is a wonderful opportunity for students to reflect on their future career and educational options and investigate where they might direct their energy and focus.”
“Congratulations also and thanks to all involved, for providing students with this unique opportunity to learn about themselves and the many possibilities and ‘dream jobs’ that await them.”
The competition has seen a 30% increase in entries this year, reflecting the continued importance placed on work experience and career skills in second level education by teachers and students alike.
While career investigations in the area of Education and Teaching, particularly Primary School Teaching, and Medical and Healthcare are always very popular with students, there was also an increased interest in other occupations across many sectors of the economy including Engineering, Creative Arts and Tourism and Hospitality.
Close to 1,000 students entered the competition this year across the six different categories, including two new categories; the Fáilte Ireland Award for Careers in Tourism and Hospitality and the Languages Connect Award for a Career with a Foreign Language.
The 32 winning entries were selected from an impressive shortlist that included a diverse range of occupations from across all sectors of the economy, from students working in a hair salon, hotel, primary school, remotely with a graphic designer, a hospital, gardening on a large estate to those lucky enough to get a trip to NASA to learn how to become an astronaut!
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.
To compete, the students had to demonstrate their understanding of a chosen career, outline the education pathways that lead to it and explain the most relevant knowledge and the skills required.
They also reflected on how their work experience might influence their future career and educational choices.
The Career Skills competition provides an invaluable platform for students to showcase their research and learning acquired during their placement.
Each of the students in the winning categories won a MacBook Air laptop, those who came in 2nd place won a GOProHero10 camera and 3rd place students won a Samsung tablet.
There were also prizes for all those commended. The winning schools came away with €1,000 for their school programmes.