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Supporting students through the decision making process




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

Supporting a young person who is making career decisions can be daunting for parents and guardians.


To begin with, the pressure of the Leaving Cert year is often felt by the household, not just the student themselves. Words of encouragement from you as parent or guardian, are often misinterpreted as extra pressure to achieve high grades. It is absolutely natural to want our young people to realise their potential at the end of their journey in secondary school but it is important to remember that lots of students don’t flourish in the Leaving Cert. Many do so when they find the pathway that they really like which suits their style of learning and facilitates them to develop skills and competencies that go far beyond the scope of the Leaving Cert exam.

Parents and guardians have a huge influence on a young person’s career path so taking time to discuss their ideas about what they are interested in is hugely valuable. By approaching the discussion in a friendly and encouraging way you take on the role of a career coach which means you can become the sounding board as they go through the process of making a decision. It is a process that can take some time so try to be as patient as possible as they explore different ideas. Often this can mean switching direction several times but that is all part of the stage that they are at. It is also really important to be as open as possible to the many different pathways now available to school leavers and to encourage your teenager to explore all avenues open to them. Listen to all their ideas without judgement but don’t be afraid to probe them on what it is they like about a particular course or option. Always encourage them to dig deeper!


Lots has changed since parents/guardians of the current cohort of young people left school so it is very understandable for you to feel inadequate to be able to guide them, but there is lots of help available. The first point of call is the school Guidance Counsellor. Encourage your son/daughter to make an appointment with their guidance counsellor and prepare questions with them in advance of the meeting. Attend any information sessions/career events held by the school even if you have gone through the process before with an older sibling. Each child is individual and lots of changes are taking place in the landscape of apprenticeships, and further and higher education, so make sure you are well informed. You can also do this by attending the virtual open days hosted by colleges or taking your son/daughter to the on-campus events where they are happening. Such events generally host an information session specifically aimed at parents to cover the move to college, finance, accommodation, access routes such as HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) and so on. I recommend that you explore the websites such as,,,,,,, and, all of which have lots of information and resources.


Parents and guardians are very important role models for young people making career decisions so discuss your own career journey with them, what helped or hindered you from making decisions when you were younger. It will help them to know that this is a process that everyone goes through, that you have been there too and that you understand that making a decision is stressful. It may also help to remind them that they are not deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives, they are just planning the next step!

I will be hosting a free webinar for parents in association with the Education Centre Tralee on Tuesday next (November 16) at 7pm, ‘How to help your son/daughter make effective choices after the Leaving Cert’. To register see,

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 or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.



Killarney centre stage for Pride Festival

The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage. Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July […]




The award-winning Kingdom Pride in Kerry festival is back next week and Killarney will take centre stage.

Kingdom Pride will be celebrated in towns all across the county from July 17 to 21.

The organisation’s flagship Party in the Park event will be held again in Killarney House and Gardens, following the Pride march in the town centre on July 20.

This year, in solidarity with the people of Palestine, Kingdom Pride in Kerry is inviting the people of Kerry to come to show their unity by bringing Palestinian flags and kites to the march, and to the Party in the Park.

“Pride is a protest for human rights all over the world. Here in the Kingdom, we have been so lucky to receive tremendous community support from our allies and supporters, and we see the struggle for liberation of all peoples as a united cause,” said Daniel Quirke, chairperson of the organising committee.

“Our events have always welcomed everyone, regardless of gender, orientation, religion, or nationality. We truly believe that together we can create positive change through caring for and loving one another. This year is no exception, and we look forward to helping to highlight the Palestinian cause, and to bringing people together to keep generating positive change for all people.”

Events will take place in Cahersiveen, Listowel, Killorglin, Tralee and Dingle, and include an Irish comedy night with Áine Gallagher, an Irish-language movie screening, yoga, sea swimming, poetry and storytelling, bowling, pitch and putt, a lively drag night at the INEC, and plenty more for people of all ages.

“We do our best to keep tickets as low-cost as possible, and we have lots of events that are totally free to attend. It is important to us that people can share Pride with us, regardless of income. Especially with the rise of the cost of living putting a strain on people’s pockets.” added the chairperson.


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A weekend of Live Music, Fun and Entertainment, at FleskFest 2024

The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event. “It promises to be […]




The organisers of the annual FleskFest have “a tremendous line-up, with a weekend full of entertainment to suit all” for the July 18 to 20 event.

“It promises to be the festival weekend of the summer, an event you don’t want to miss out on. Last year’s Festival was a fantastic memorable experience for our community, a time to get together and celebrate,” said festival PRO Seán Daly.

Organised by Glenflesk GAA, FleskFest 24 will take place at the Barraduff Community Field next week.
There will be a fully licensed bar in the Fest Marquee, some amazing live music on The Big Stage, food trucks and much more.
Glenflesk GAA club’s biggest fundraiser of the year includes a new-for-2024 Texas Holdem Poker Tournament on Thursday night.
Weekend highlights include old-time waltzing, jiving and polka sets with Paudie McAuliffe and Paudie Coffey Band on Friday,
On Saturday, the new Well Flesk event will take place.
“A morning of self-care and wellness at Flesk Fest featuring masterclasses in yoga, pilates, mindfulness, spinning, fitness sessions, workouts, firewood sauna and ice pods with a range of experienced and qualified instructors,” added Daly.
Leading local musician Johnny Courtney and Friends, Sam and Ina, The O’Donoghue Sisters, Reigning All Ireland Champions Glenflesk Ballad Group, and The Border Boys will take to the Big Stage over the weekend.
Sunday is Family Fun Day with children’s entertainment and disco and the All-Ireland Hurling Final Live on the Big screen followed by music with Thingamajig.
The festival will finish with a Sunday evening session with the Meadhbh Walsh Band.

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