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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.

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How to have the best skincare routine at home

By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day. Step […]




By Jill O’Donoghue from Killarney Toning and Beauty Studio

Home care is essential for glowing, youthful skin. It’s like brushing your teeth, it must be done twice a day.

Step one: Cleanse to remove sweat, oil, dirt and other pollutants that your skin naturally collects throughout the day and night. It’s the first step in your skincare routine and shouldn’t be rushed.

How to do it; Cleanse your skin in the morning and in the evening to keep your pores clear and your face fresh. Your cleanser may vary based on skin type, but with all cleansers, the general consensus is to apply them using an upward, circular motion so as to prevent wrinkles from forming. Make sure your hands are clean in order to prevent excess dirt from entering your pores.

Step two: There is a lot of confusion around toner, and when you’re first establishing a daily skincare routine, it may even seem unnecessary. But most experts agree that toning is an important addition to your skin care routine with beneficial effects for your skin. After you cleanse your skin of impurities, toner removes any residue left behind by the cleanser as well as any make-up or oils your cleanser might have missed. The added cleansing effects help prepare your skin to absorb moisturiser and minimise the appearance of pores. Some toners may have PH balancing and antiseptic effects as well. Apply toner right after you have cleansed your skin while it is still damp. The best way to apply it is with a cotton pad or cotton ball, simply soaking cotton pad with toner and wiping upward and out, starting at your neck.

Step 3: Exfoliate. Our skin is constantly shedding millions of skin cells every day, but sometimes those cells can build up on the surface of our skin and need some extra help to be removed. Exfoliating removes these dead skin cells that have accumulated in our pores. If you struggle with blackheads, acne or breakouts, you’re not going to want to miss this step.

It’s best to exfoliate after toning and before moisturising. You should exfoliate one to three times a week, but this depends on your skin type and how it reacts to exfoliation. Experiment and find what works best for you. There are chemical exfoliators and granule exfoliators such as your traditional sugar or salt scrub. Both can be effective tools for removing dead skin cells, but chemical exfoliating ingredients like AHA and BHA are often more effective in getting deep into your pores and removing buildup.

Properly cleansed skin will allow your next steps e.g. serums and moisturisers get to the right layers of the skin where they will be most effective.

For a skincare consultation or more advice just ask Jill on 064 6632966.

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Annual Christmas motorbike charity road run launched

The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18. The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in […]




The Kerry Bikers are hosting their annual Christmas Bike Run on December 18.

The event will raise funds for St Francis’ Special School at St Mary of the Angels in Beaufort and Eagle Lodge in Tralee.

Now in its sixth year, the run, which is organised by an amalgamation of several Kerry motorcycle clubs under the banner of Kerry Bikers, will visit Killarney.

The run gets underway at 10.30am from Tralee. The first stop off is in Sheahan’s Centra on the Muckross Road where the Tralee group will be joined by local motorcyclists before setting off on a yet to be decided route.

“We will announce the route in Killarney. Last year we went to Killorglin, Farranfore and Castleisland. This year Abbeyfeale and Listowel may be in reach and if so we will make donations to Nano Nagle Special School too,” organiser Dave Foley said.

Over one hundred motorcycles are expected to take part in the run. Last year the full convoy measured 1.6km from start to finish.

“We hope to exceed that this year,” added Foley


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