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Kickstart your career research early in Sixth Year

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By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Starting off in Sixth Year can be very daunting as you settle into the busy routine of study.

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For some, the prospect of trying to make career decisions this year can be overwhelming. Try to keep in mind that you are not choosing what you want to do for the rest of your life, you are deciding on the next step. There are lots of options open to you, so focus on exploring career areas/sectors that are of interest to you and then identify the various education and training pathways available. Although the responsibility does lie with you to undertake the research and make the decision, there is plenty of help and support available to you.

The research starts with you

If you have no idea about what direction you want to take it is time for some serious self-reflection! Consider your likes, dislikes, interests, skills, strengths, personality traits, values, aptitudes, competencies and subjects you are good at. Think about what motivates you. If you are finding this process difficult look at some of the free self-assessment tools available online on websites such as www.careersportal.ie, www.qualifax.ie, and on the Exit Entry App. They will help to get you started and will give suggestions on broad career sectors as well as specific careers and courses that are worth looking in to. Next, make an appointment with your guidance counsellor in school, who will give you some great suggestions of pathways and courses that might suit you, answer any questions you have and support you through the decision-making process.

Explore the world of work

Your own experience of the workplace is likely to be limited to weekend and holiday work. If you have undertaken some work experience or shadowing, that will have given you further insight. Outside of that you can access career videos on www.careersportal.ie where you can see a huge variety of people describing what they do. Similar resources are available on the Exit Entry App. It’s very useful to talk to people you know - family, friends, older siblings, relations and so on, who may be able to put you in contact with people employed in jobs or industries you are interested in. They may even give you the chance to work shadow for a day. Consider also the type of work settings that appeal to you and those that don’t!

Research all education and training options thoroughly

Think about the many options – apprenticeships, traineeships, post-Leaving Cert courses, CAO courses, study abroad options and more. Then look at the detail of what you will be studying by looking carefully at modules, how they are assessed and the breakdown of practical and theoretical learning. Make sure all of this suits the type of learner you are. Register for college open days and career events which interest you. They start in earnest from the beginning of October. You will find details of all career events on a weekly short video by @classroomguidance and a comprehensive list is available on www.qualifax.ie and www.careersportal.ie. These sites also have comprehensive information on all the different pathways open to you. Follow the weekly podcasts on @leavingcertguidance and weekly webinars from @synergycareers for lots of up to the minute information and tips!

Remember, there isn't just one pathway for everyone, there are many – make sure to explore them all early in Sixth Year and then make an informed decision that you will be happy with.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Careers Advisor. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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Budget 2023 is just plastering over the cracks

By Michael O’Connor The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to. My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears […]

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By Michael O’Connor

The Irish Budget has never been something I have paid too much attention to.

My day-to-day focus is predominantly on stock market moves, so it never bears too much relevance, but Budget 2023 certainly caught my attention.

It was set against a backdrop of surging energy prices, inflationary pressures, and a red-hot housing crisis. As one of the few European countries with a budget surplus to dip into, expectations were high.

On the surface, the Budget didn’t disappoint. The €11 billion package had a little something for everyone. The massive package of once-off measures will go a long way toward supporting households and businesses this year.

But when you dig a little deeper, many of the measures are simply providing a short-term sugar rush, with little substance once the initial high wears off.

I get it; financial relief is crucial but adding more money into the economy so people can afford to function in a broken system is not a long-term solution.

Tax cuts have been proclaimed as ‘counter inflation’ measures but are more likely to fan the flames of inflation than eliminate the problem.

Inflation is created when too much money is chasing too few goods. With this in mind, inflation is tackled by reducing the amount of money in the economy or increasing the supply of goods within that economy. Tax cuts do the opposite.

By increasing the amount of money in the system through tax cuts, the government has seemed to double down on the viewpoint that money is both the cause and solution to all of life’s problems.

Fuel to the fire

Sure, these tax cuts will help to curry favour from a political perspective, but from an economic standpoint, you are simply adding fuel to the fire.

Instead of addressing the systemic problems causing the Cost of Living Crisis, they have simply freed up more money so you can tolerate the intolerable price hikes a little longer.

Take housing, for example.

Paschal Donohoe described housing as the “central issue facing the country”.

Undoubtedly there are some positives from a housing perspective in the Budget, but as the “central issue facing the country”, it falls short.

A band-aid solution

The ‘Rent Tax Credit’, in particular, highlights the band-aid solution being applied here.

Renters will be entitled to a rental credit of €500 per year from 2022 onwards. On the surface, this is much-needed relief for renters, but in reality, it simply exacerbates the problem.

Without getting too into the weeds, in economics, you have something called the paradox of aggregation. If everyone gets the benefit, then nobody gets to feel the effects of that benefit because nobody is better off from a relative standpoint.

If you won the lotto in the morning, you would be unquestionably better off. However, if we all won the lotto in the morning, we would all be richer on an absolute level, but you would no longer be better off relative to your peers. Prices would simply increase to account for the higher levels of wealth in the system.

The same logic applies to the ‘Rent Tax Credit’. Everyone gets it, so nobody benefits. It simply just provides another gear for landlords. You can now ‘afford’ to pay higher rents, allowing landlords to raise rents even further. This is not relief but a mechanism to support higher rental prices in the future masked as support for those caught in the rental crisis.

Rent control, short-term letting restrictions, widespread public housing initiatives, subsidies to incentive construction development, and removal of the endless planning regulations. These are solutions that alleviate the supply side of the problem over the long term.

Instead, the government continues to throw more money at the problem so we can ‘justify’ higher and higher prices.

Housing supply

In fact, in a bizarre move, they have now placed a 10% levy on concrete blocks. Environmental concerns aside, at a point where every possible step needs to be taken to incentivise construction development to increase the housing supply in the system, levies are being applied to increase the cost of building even further.

Maybe I’m being overly cynical here. Compared to the UK budget, the Irish offering is a heroic feat of financial prowess, but another short-term response to the newest crisis at our doorstep is not enough.

Long-term allocation of capital and resources to solve the complete supply/demand mismatch in the housing market, nationalisation of energy, and extensive healthcare reform are areas where the bulk of the budgetary surplus needs to be allocated.

Short-sighted

Constantly repeating or extending ‘temporary measures’ is far too short-sighted. We have already seen an economic contraction in Q1 2022. These contractions may continue as we stare down the barrel of a recession in Europe. The budget surplus won’t always be there.

When it is, we must prioritise long-term investments focused on solving systemic issues. Plastering over the cracks and hoping that the foundations stay intact until the next political party takes the wheel just isn’t enough.

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Chamber hosts post-budget briefing

Local accountancy firm OCKT Ltd hosted a post-budget briefing on Wednesday. Organised by the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, the lunchtime briefing kept local business people up to date […]

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Local accountancy firm OCKT Ltd hosted a post-budget briefing on Wednesday.

Organised by the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, the lunchtime briefing kept local business people up to date following Tuesday’s Budget.

The briefing explained the main points from Budget 2023, and suggested some tax planning initiatives.

The event took place at the Peregrine Suite at the Killarney Park Hotel.

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