During my leaving cert, social care was what suited me best as a career choice and it was a dream of mine to pursue it in a degree course. My guidance counsellor advised me to look at Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses as a backup if it didn’t work out with a college offer.
I thought this was a great idea and knew local students who did PLC courses and got on very well. For my PLC applications, I had to go through an interview which asked about everything from my understanding of the course content, to why I chose the course.
On the morning of my CAO offers, I was offered a place in social care in Mayo. At the time I was quite sick with my mental health so decided to stay at home, take my PLC spot, commute and hopefully earn my place in my preferred spot.
I started my journey in a PLC college studying Applied Social Studies. This has been my favourite educational experience to date. The modules and subjects were taught practically, making it easier to understand what was being taught. The course was delivered with the students in mind.
It was only a one-year commitment and gave me great insight into the area. Every module uses a variety of teaching methods with videos, discussions, trips, and activities. In the PLC college, we transitioned from the secondary level form of assessment to the third level style of continuous assessments consisting of essays, presentations, practice research projects, exams, and placements.
The community and supportive environment of the college is what I loved so much. Everyone was there to help and it was a fun environment in general. As we started college there was an induction fun day held that consisted of a talent show, sports day, and Supermacs pizza. At Christmas, there was a Christmas Carol. All of these activities made up the great buzz of the college. The best thing was it was so much fun.
Prep for third level
There was loads of prep work done for third level such as basics of Harvard referencing, assignments, and modules. A lot of the modules in the PLC were introductions that would be explored in more detail in a degree course, such as psychology care skills, and social care. We even did a mini-thesis.
Carrying on from my issues with learning disabilities, I registered with the disability service who provided me with a Special Needs Assistant (SNA). They helped me with organisational skills, one-on-one class support and learning support classes. I was also given adequate accommodation for my exams, which helped me transition into the world of further education.
In the social care class, we had to arrange an African cultural day for our intercultural studies module and mix it with a bake sale. We made decorations, food, and had African dancing, clothes and music; it was great fun.
The money raised from the bake sale was donated to other class’s efforts in making shoe boxes and sending them to developing countries. We got to go on a team-building day in Cavan where we did activities in the woods with time to get to know our classmates and to see community service in action. The place we stayed in was set up to do work with families in inner-city Dublin.
In this particular course, I also got a chance to do certified first aid, manual handling, people moving, infection control, and children first courses. These were a great extra on top of the mandatory course and were great for my CV.
We had two weeks of placement to carry out in a social care area. I went to a special needs unit in a secondary school, which was a great introduction to the area of intellectual disabilities. As part of our assessment, we had to facilitate an intervention activity and be supervised by a lecturer from the college.
After completing my PLC I achieved a great result and managed to secure a place on my dream course at AIT. A bonus was that I made a great bunch of friends who were all starting the same course as me, which was a huge advantage.
To wrap up this fantastic year, we celebrated in style at our graduation ceremony. It was a lovely ceremony organised by the college which made the course that bit more worth it and enjoyable.
When I was that leaving cert student, I saw a PLC as the last option. However, now in my last year of the degree, I can say it was my best experience with education. If you ask me, it is well worth it for everyone to consider a PLC.