It is in our moments of decision that our destiny is shaped. You write your life story with the choices you make. Every day we make decisions that impact on the nature of our day, but at certain key stages of your life, you rock up to a veritable fork in the road, say good morning to the comely maidens dancing there, and then make a major choice on which way you should go.
One of the most important times is when you prepare to leave the nest, to make your way in the world, when you use the knowledge you have been given to decide what you want to do in order to be content, to contribute to society.
The shape of work has changed, indeed many would say that the shape of life has changed. In order to fully engage as individuals and as communities, it is important that the way we send young people out into the world has to better reflect the skills needed for life in the modern world.
At the moment in Ireland, a lot of how young people of school leaving age are defined for life is focused on the rigidity of the Leaving Cert system, a system that does not fully allow for the wide range of technical or creative skills that a young person has to offer the world.
Modern pathways into further education, into apprenticeships, into the changing world of employment, into a world of entrepreneurial startup should include ways that will enable our young people to be creative, to be able to solve problems, to be financially and emotionally literate, to engage in critical thinking, and to have empathy in order to be able to benefit from a more rounded education.
To this end, we here at the Galway Advertiser were approached by key stakeholders in the education and employment sector to use our position as a facilitator of debate to enable the creation of a broader look at these new avenues into work and further education.
The key part of this is the inaugural Pathways event that will be held in Galway’s Galmont Hotel on Tuesday April 9. Running for one-day, and broken up into two cycles, it will attract up to 2,000 students, teachers, career guidance counsellors, employers, and motivational and enlightening speakers.
It is an event that will help to edit out all the noise and bring clarity to the minds of those who are making their decisions right now. These are decisions about what college course to choose, what career to pursue; what apprenticeship to seek in order to achieve proficiency at the skills you want to use; what other avenues there are to a fulfilling and sustainable life. For the past few months, I have been visiting many new workspaces in Galway and seeing just how modern work structures have changed from the traditional “9-5, boss looking over the shoulder” models. Many of the jobs that the next generation will do have not yet been defined.
The organisers of Pathways have put together a comprehensive line-up of speakers and exhibitors to enable students, their teachers, their guidance counselors and parents to help them make their decisions with the most information they can have.
The event is being held at a time when people are becoming more aware of the need to have clearer pathways to sustainable and satisfying careers. The success of the Transition Year programme has shown that there is an appetite for some of the elements of that, such as work experience, voluntary work, and the development of life skills.
The development of interpersonal and personal life skills enable all of our students and employees to be more aware of their wellbeing and be more capable of coping with the many challenges that life throws at them.
All of the changes proposed for the senior cycle in schools will not happen overnight; but at least they show an awareness of the need for the creation of a more rounded life education, to help students choose the courses and careers that will fulfil and reward them the most, both in terms of material reward and emotional contentment.
— Pathways on April 9 at the Galmont Hotel has a morning and afternoon cycle where the speakers will address the students, parents, teachers and career guidance personnel. To minimise school distruption, organisers are encouraging parents to attend with their son or daughter in the afternoon session so as to be fully appraised of what lies out there. For more details of Pathways, see the advertisement on Page 7.