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Students prepare for College Awareness Week




The Kerry Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors is organising a Careers Fair and Parent Information Talks to mark College Awareness Week (CAW) this month.

Taking place from November 21 to November 25 the campaign promotes the benefits of a post-secondary plan for all and supports students to become ‘college ready’.

Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors will celebrate CAW by holding a Careers Fair on Thursday, November 24 in the MTU Kerry Sports Academy, North Campus, Tralee which is open to the public and all second level schools from 9am to 2pm and admission is €3. Universities and Technological Universities from throughout Ireland will have stands at the event as well as some colleges from the UK and Europe. Agricultural colleges, the National Learning Network, the Defence Forces, an Garda Síochána and organisations providing apprenticeships, traineeships and further education, such as Kerry College of Further Education & Training will also be present. Representatives from SUSI Grants, HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) will also attend. Information talks for students on PLCs and Apprenticeships will take place at various times during the day.

Several Information talks for parents will be held on Wednesday evening, November 23 also in the MTU Kerry Sports Academy. Parents are invited to attend whatever talks are relevant to their son/daughter.

Admission is free and they provide parents with the opportunity to support their son/daughter at this important time.

The times are as follows:

7pm: HEAR (Higher Education Access Scheme)
EUNICAS (Colleges in Europe)

8pm: DARE (Disability Access Route to Education)
UCAS: Information about studying in the UK

“We are delighted to be part of a nationwide campaign to promote the importance of post-secondary education," Mary Dowling, PRO of Kerry Branch of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, said.

"There are lots of options out there and College Awareness Week encourages people of all ages to consider further education as part of their future. The Careers Fair gives students an ideal opportunity to meet representatives from the colleges, pick up information and have any queries answered. The information talks will provide parents with the specific information they need to support their son/daughter in making this important decision and to help guide them through the HEAR and DARE schemes.”

CAW aims to inspire and inform all students about the importance of having a post-secondary education plan. It advocates for students to have the choice to pursue the course best suited to their interests, abilities and dreams, whether that is a FE qualification, an apprenticeship or a university degree.

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Five questions to ask yourself before buying a stock

By Michael O’Connor, When it comes to investing, nothing is certain. There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy. […]




By Michael O’Connor,

When it comes to investing, nothing is certain.

There are no perfect stocks to buy because there’s no way of predicting the future with 100% accuracy.

The truth is, investing is hard, and building a portfolio of top stocks that beat the market is something that even financial professionals have trouble doing consistently.

For most people, investing in index funds is the perfect hands-off approach, providing broad exposure to the stock market at a very low fee. Even my own personal portfolio is made up of roughly 70% ETFs despite the fact I invest in the market for a living.

But I believe some stock picking is a good strategy for many hands-on people.

Taking a small portion of your overall portfolio and diligently selecting a small number of companies to invest in gives you an opportunity to learn about the investing process and fully understand the businesses you are investing in, which helps to build conviction in your positions.

From a psychological standpoint “collector’s instinct” kicks in, enabling people to participate and invest more money over time.

Lastly, for Irish investors, there are tax benefits to consider. If you invest in individual stocks, you are taxed at the CGT rate of 33%, and the first €1,270 of your gains are exempt from CGT each year. When investing in index funds or ETFs, you are taxed at the exit tax rate of 41% with no annual exemption.

For those interested in picking individual stocks, here are five questions you should ask yourself before investing in any company.

Do I understand the business?

Too many people invest in businesses they don’t understand because it ‘sounds good’. If you have no idea how the company works, you won’t have the conviction needed to hold onto the stock when an inevitable downturn comes.

Can the balance sheet withstand severe, temporary adversity?

This seems obvious, but so many people invest in companies without understanding how much money a company holds and who they owe money to. Economic cycles are guaranteed. You must ensure that the company has enough cash-on-hand to avoid becoming obsolete when activity slows.

Will the company benefit from long-term trends?

Make sure the company will remain relevant into the future. If the stock is cheap now, it may be cheap for a reason.

Is the company enjoying profitable growth?

Not growth at all costs, but a combination of sustainable growth and value. All this information can be found online at sites like

What are the risk factors?

Is the company trying something new and untested? If yes, who are its competitors and how successful are they? If other players are more established, this company may have a tough time breaking into the market.


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Ballyspillane staff open up mental health conversation

By Michelle Crean “Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign. It’s all in partnership […]




By Michelle Crean

“Hello, How Are You?” that’s the question staff at Ballyspillane Community Centre will be asking next week as part of a new campaign.

It’s all in partnership with Mental Health Ireland (MHI) and the centre will host an information/coffee morning on Thursday next (March 30) at 12.30pm at their centre and all are welcome to attend.

The campaign initiated by MHI identifies the need for positive engagement and connections with the people around us.

It asks people to engage in open conversations about mental health and prompts us all to ask the question “How Are You?”

The word HELLO is a useful acronym to guide everyone through such conversations, H: Hello, E: Engage positively with the person, L: Listen actively, L: Learn about the person and O: seek options to assist the person if required.

“We all need a listening and compassionate ear sometimes to get us through some challenges in our lives and I think the pandemic has opened a new way of looking at the world, where we can all recognise the challenges that people experience more readily,” Derek O’Leary, Manager of Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre, said.

“Our team here are in the business of supporting families and individuals across the Killarney area and beyond and see the challenges that people face first hand. We also see the positive impact that a caring person can have in such circumstances and this campaign that encourages positive engagement, regarding mental health is a great reminder to us all, the role we can play is assisting others who are struggling.”

Ballyspillane Community & Family Resource Centre provide a suite of support and intervention services including family supports, social prescribing/community connection services and physiotherapeutic services across the Killarney municipal area and beyond.


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