A change of career after the move overseas of the Aetna insurance processing office on the Tralee Road Industrial Estate has led Cordal native, James O’Donoghue to an honours degree in professional social care.
“I worked in Aetna until it relocated to India in the summer of 2011. In October of that year I was lucky to get a position as a care assistant. However, changing from a business sector to a care environment was a big challenge,” said James.
“A major part of both jobs is still coping with human interactions and varying behavioral patterns.
As time went by, with some family encouragement, I decided to check out courses to gain a relevant qualification in the care sector.
Social Care Course
“In 2014, I became aware of the Open Training College, Social Care Course and went for an interview in the summer of that year.
“I was accepted for the social care three year course and started in September 2014.
The course consists of blended learning which entails: online modules; examinations; assessments; presentations and research.
The course has been upgraded this year and is recognised by the state agency Quality and Qualifications Ireland which was established under a 2012 act in the area of education and training.
It offers people an opportunity to study and work at the same time.
“All the students were already working in the area but needed a qualification to advance their careers which is a requirement now.
“In October, along with 20 other students, we finished the final year and graduated in Dublin.
“All of the graduates were people who had generally a full time job in a challenging work environment with long unsocial hours. Many had family or children who had a disability of some kind.
“All were motivated to advance their knowledge to improve their lives and the lives of the people they will work with.
“The course is a big commitment and, in the last few years, family support is especially needed and thankfully, Mary was a very understanding wife, especially when Maeve and the twins Alison and Eamonn arrived as well in the last four years.
Exams and Assignment
“Life continues around exams and assignment deadlines so being able to cope with these pressures were not easy at times. I got great support from friends like Connie and Denis who helped out always and Peggy and my own family who helped when needs be in every way possible, especially all the free accommodation and taxi service in Dublin from Nora and Shaun and my aunt Helen and uncle James.
Four Years of Ups and Downs
“Finally, I would like to thank Mike, Joanne and Allison who were there with me on the course for the four years of ups and downs.
“I am now working as a social care worker in all areas of care such as Day Service; Community and Residential settings and gaining valuable experience.
“The importance of gaining a qualification helps increase job possibilities and also helped me gain the knowledge to work in a different career sector,” said James in conclusion.
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