When studying with Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service, a student gains knowledge and skills to develop their careers. But one valuable benefit they gain that isn’t written on their certificate is confidence. The ETB’s FET Service, through hands-on training and guidance, empowers individuals to see their potential.
One such student is Helen McBrearty. Helen completed a two-year E-Business with Digital Marketing programme at the Donegal Town (Drumcliff) FET Centre.
She had been a carer for a long time before returning to education, but with her programme, she was encouraged to strive for success.
Helen took on the course to learn digital marketing skills for her Killybegs Walk and Talk tour. The programme brought her in a totally different direction, and, with her new competencies, she secured a job with the HSE.
“It worked out great for me, it gave me the confidence to go forward, to know that I could do it, that I did have the ability to do a job,” said Helen.
Helen, who is originally from Wicklow, now lives in Killybegs. She worked in retail before moving to Donegal, where she had her first daughter. Her daughter was born visually impaired and Helen became her carer for 16 years. When the time was right for Helen to return to learning, she found that the Donegal Town Co-Ordinator Caroline Gillespie was very accommodating.
“I was nervous going into it, but I saw it as a direction to go to help with the business. I wouldn’t have been very proficient on social media. You do lose confidence sitting at home, washing floors and hanging out clothes, because the world has changed so much, you don’t know if you’re going to be able to do it. But they show you that you can do this, and you are doing well. It made me see that I could.”
Modules on the E-Business programme cover digital marketing, web authoring, bookkeeping and the internet. Helen found ECDL and Microsoft Office Specialist training ‘brilliant’ assets for her employment prospects. She particularly enjoyed the social media strategising project, where she worked on promoting her business over 21 weeks.
“This is the stuff that kids are learning now, but it was all new to me. Setting goals, watching analytics, once you have that knowledge it stays with you,” she said.
Students can undertake work experience, which Helen did remotely with Accenture in Dublin.
“It was really interesting, before I went out into the working world, to do Teams and teleconferences. We do that regularly in the job that I am in now, so it all stands to you.
“It was a very rounded course and I found the tutors Rose Mitchell and Seamus O’Malley very helpful. It’s like anything: if you put in the work, you get back.
“For parents, the course is great because you don’t start until 9.30 or 10 so you can do the school run. Since it is further education, they are very accommodating and encouraging.”
Helen benefitted greatly from the support of Eileen Patton, an ETB Adult Guidance Counsellor for the south Donegal area.
“Eileen was very good in preparing me for interviews. It was interesting to see how things have changed since I was out of the workplace for years, Eileen showed me that it was all about knowing your competencies,” Helen said.
Helen was successful in getting on a panel with the HSE and soon a job came up for an administrative support role. She has since progressed into the position of personal assistant and now works with two clients.
Helen credits Donegal ETB for her newfound can-do attitude and for giving her the push to upskill and get back into the workforce.
If you are an adult in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment or signing for credits, are unemployed and would like to return to education, Donegal ETB’s FET Service is now accepting applications for September 2022.
The FET Service offers a range of one- and two-year full-time courses in business and IT across the county to support progression to employment or further and higher education.
You can apply online for them through their website course finder (https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/course-finder/) and follow their social media for updates (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn).
If you need further advice, contact the ETB’s Adult Guidance and Information Service on 074 91 78088, email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete this web form and they’ll get back to you https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/adult-guidance/.