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Supporting students through the decision making process

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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.

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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!

DOING THE RESEARCH

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 www.careersportal.ie, www.qualifax.ie, www.cao.ie, www.fetchcourses.ie, www.apprenticeships.ie, www.classroomguidance.ie, www.accesscollege.ie, and www.susi.ie, all of which have lots of information and resources.

WEBINAR

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, www.edcentretralee.ie.

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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New free local fitness group to motivate people back to health

By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness  Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a […]

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By Brian Foley from Activate Fitness
 

Our mission at Activate is to extend and enhance the lifespan of 7,000 people in Killarney which is why we have set up a free health and fitness group. 

Our primary vehicle is our gym but we do a lot of other stuff, too, like:

* Train kids how to exercise in schools
* Helping frontline workers with their mindset
* Supporting local fitness events and teams
* Running fun social events in the community
* Raise funds for local charities

We’ve won awards for this stuff, but the real reward is moving the Killarney community back towards health. So today, I’m thrilled to share a free Facebook group: ‘Fitness, Nutrition & Health in Killarney’ with you.
Visit this link to join: www.facebook.com/groups/fitnessinkillarney.

In that group, we’ll share helpful posts, tips, and support for everyone, whether you exercise at Activate or not. We’re also welcoming other health and fitness practitioners to join the group and help people find valuable and sensible advice around health and fitness.

When you join, Facebook will ask you a few questions, then my team will be around to support you and give you stuff to help.

If you have questions about fitness, health, longevity, nutrition, or exercise, go ahead and ask! If you have answers, please share! Let’s get some positive momentum going in Killarney!

What’s the deal with motivation?

I was having a discussion with a new client the other day and it came up that they sometimes feel a lack of motivation to keep working out. I know many of you feel like this sometimes, so I thought I would write about it today.

I really believe in discipline, as motivation is fleeting – but we’ll address this anyway. There are a few things that you can do to fool-proof the system. Here’s five ways.

1. Find an accountability partner:

When it comes to working out, having someone to hold you accountable can be a huge motivator. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or even a fitness coach, knowing that someone is counting on you to show up for your workout can help you stay on track.

2. Set realistic goals:

Setting goals is a great way to stay motivated, but it’s important to make sure they are realistic. If your goal is too lofty, you may find yourself getting discouraged when you don’t see results as quickly as you’d like. However, if your goals are achievable and realistic, you’ll be more likely to stick with your workout plan and see the results you want.

3. Find a workout routine you enjoy:

If you dread your workouts, it’s going to be very difficult to stay motivated. However, if you find an exercise routine that you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. There are so many different types of workouts out there, so take some time to experiment and find one that fits your needs and interests. I feel a key facet many of us in the health and fitness industry miss regularly is making sure people are always engaged and challenged, so it remains fun to work out!

4. Reward yourself:

This one sounds a little weird, but for some, it can really work. One way to stay motivated is to reward yourself after setting a goal and reaching it. Whether it’s your favourite snack or a new piece of workout gear, treating yourself to something special can help keep you on track.

5. Get enough sleep:

This is the one thing we all hear that’s drilled into our brains – but for good reason! It’s important to get enough sleep when you’re trying to stay fit and healthy. When you’re well-rested, you’ll have more energy for your workouts and you’ll be less likely to skip them. So make sure to get plenty of rest each night!

Following these tips can help you stay motivated to workout, even when it feels like a struggle. Just remember to be patient, set realistic goals, and find an exercise routine that you enjoy. With a little effort, you can reach your fitness goals in no time!
 

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Irish food only for Lisa’s September challenge

Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself. Artist and food activist […]

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Could you survive on a diet of food grown only in Ireland for one month – well that’s the challenge one Kerry woman has set herself.

Artist and food activist Lisa Fingleton plans the unusual action as she will eat only food grown in Ireland for the entire month.

That means no sugar, lemons, olive oil, or coffee with the challenge designed to highlight issues with Irish food security.

In the seven years since Lisa founded the 30-Day Local Food Challenge, food supply chains have been hit by a succession of market shocks highlighting Lisa’s concerns with increasing urgency.

From seed shortages caused by Brexit to the global market shock of COVID-19 to potential shortages caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine, to the recent conversation about the need to reduce the Irish National Herd in line with carbon emissions targets, Lisa says there has never been a more important time to talk about Irish food security.

“This year in particular in Europe we are seeing the impact of war on food and the global reliance on Ukraine as an important wheat producer,” said the former Kerry County Council Artist in Residence who lives in Ballybunion.

“This has shown us more than ever just how fragile our food systems are. We need to focus on building sustainable and resilient food systems on the island of Ireland. This year we are encouraging people to do one local meal a day so they can make it really simple and have Irish porridge for breakfast or really elaborate with a meal grown in your own garden.”

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