You don’t need to be a Picasso or Da Vinci to study Art, Craft and Design in a Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme with Donegal Education and Training Board’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
You don’t need to be a teenager straight out of school either.
For Louise McGirr from Castlefin, it was the best decision she ever made.
Louise hadn’t done art in school, but always had an interest in art and design. Four years ago she decided to sign up for the one-year course at Errigal College in Letterkenny. That decision has since led her to further education and now she is studying Animation at ATU Donegal. Now in her final year of the degree, she hopes to work in the world of animation where according to Louise, it’s not work, it’s fun!
Louise gained much more than art skills from the PLC. The course became the launchpad she needed to be confident in her work as an artist and as a student.
“The more I tried the more I felt I could do it. The work wasn’t too overwhelming, it was broken into sections,” Louise said.
“You are working with your hands, drawing, painting and modelling. It starts at the very basics of art. That is where I got the confidence to learn how to draw. For people who think they can’t draw, it’s just that nobody has taught you the basics.”
PLCs are ideal for students who have completed their Leaving Certificate or Leaving Certificate Applied and want to study a specific vocational area, or for adults returning to education and for those looking for a career change.
The QQI Level 5 programme covers practical skills as well as communications and work experience. Louise did her placement with the Balor Theatre in Ballybofey helping with the set design.
A PLC course is seen as a step towards further study or skilled employment. In fact, Donegal ETB has the highest progression rate to third level out of all PLC providers in the country. The main benefit Louise gained was the encouragement to go further.
She said: “I didn’t intend to go back to college. My tutor Marie Crossan was encouraging me to experiment with all the materials and with photoshop. She suggested applying for college. I still wasn’t 100% sure about it, but when I got a Distinction and Best in Class, that encouraged me to keep going.
“We researched what we would like to do after the PLC and I thought I would keep up art as a hobby, but when I came across animation I saw the broad career you can have.
“The ETB was very good at guiding us to look up colleges or if you want to go directly into work.”
Now that Louise is in her final year of a Bachelor of Arts in Animation, she still loves the idea of making it her future career.
“I love the variety with animation. You can be using your hands, or model making, or learning the software side, or 3d models like Pixar cartoons, or claymation,” she said.
“I am looking at internships in Derry now. I am not sure what side of employment I will get into, but I am hopeful that there will be work at the end of the degree.
“Animation is starting to pick up here and there are so many different types of jobs.”
For anyone considering applying for a PLC, you can apply from November each year for starting the following September. The Art, Craft and Design PLC that Louise completed has a few places remaining for this year – you can apply online through this link: https://bit.ly/3dRpTOR
If you think you are not skilled enough for studying art, Louise has some words of motivation: “If you know you are drawn to creative processes, you might be really good at painting but not the best drawer, that’s okay because you will get all the help you need.
“You are not too old and it’s not too late. It changed everything for me.”Tags: