Just like thousands of students every year Alan Byrne from Ballyfermot (19) didn’t know what to do to get the skills he needed to get a job after finishing his Leaving Certificate. He found himself isolated at home until he discovered NLN and now he is achieving his goals.
I finished my Leaving Certificate last June and spent the next three months at home doing nothing but playing video games and watching movies, television shows and Youtube. I was far too nervous to go out and try to get a job and didn’t have a good enough CV. I also didn’t have use of a laptop or computer at the time to make one to give out to potential employers in Liffey Valley and Ballyfermot. One day I decided to bring some old school books back to my school when the receptionist told me I could see my old teacher, which I did. I let him know how I was doing and that I didn’t get accepted into Maynooth College and I had nothing to do at the time. He was the one who told me about National Learning Network (NLN) and that he would help me to try to get a place in there and try it out for the year.
I wanted to do some work and get out of the house for once, and I felt that NLN could help me get some experience and build my confidence and maybe eventually get me a work placement or some work experience in stores or shops. I also felt that I could make some new friends in NLN and be able to hang out with them outside of college. I also wanted to see if I could improve my typing skills as I tended to be very slow at typing on a keyboard or phone screen.
I am now doing a Vocational Skills Foundations or VSF in NLN since last November, they allowed me sample the course first to see if it was the right one for me.
I do work experience, computer literacy, communications and other subjects in NLN. I practice interview skills and setting up a computer. I also learn healthy facts from the instructor on what to eat on a daily basis and tips on sleeping patterns and what helps to go to sleep quicker. I like it because it helps with my confidence and I made new friends from going there.
My confidence has improved quite a bit since joining NLN and I have been able to talk with the instructor and other students in the class without getting shy or staying quiet and keeping to myself. I feel I can speak out more to others now and share my feelings and interests with them and get to know them more as we work alongside each other every day from Monday to Friday. I also feel more energetic and comfortable around the students in NLN since they’re very relaxed and friendly towards me and the instructors, and I like to hang out with them outside of NLN at Liffey Valley watching a movie or getting McDonalds.
My plan now is to go on to Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE) in September and finish the VSF course later this month. I have really enjoyed my time with NLN, it has opened a lot of doors for me and I would recommend it to anyone who has finished up school this year and needs a little support to achieve their goals.
If you are finishing school and unsure what to do next or need a little support to get back to education and to get a job, NLN has more than 50 centres around the country and a range of free courses to suit you, just go to NLN.ie or phone 1890 283 000