I did not know what direction or job I wanted to do
In 2016 my girlfriend suggested that I take part in the Experience Success Training Programme with Access 2000 Wexford. The name of it immediately appealed to me: ‘Experience Success’, what a positive name for a training programme. Having worked for four years prior to the course, I had no expectations of what the course could do for me. At that stage in my life I did not know what direction or job I wanted to do. In school, I didn’t do so well, particularly when it came to exams. I usually got D grades and very rarely achieved anything higher.
Every day I looked forward to going to class and learning something new
However, I soon discovered that this was not the case with ACCESS 2000. Every day I looked forward to going to class and learning something new and whenever I got stuck the tutors took their time with me and answered any and every question I had….and I had a lot of questions!
The programme involved completing the QQI Level 4 Major Award in Employment Skills Training, a QQI Level 5 Workplace Safety and Level 4 Occupational First Aid, and ECDL. The modules that I completed included: Communications, Work Experience, Career Planning, Personal Effectiveness, Personal and Interpersonal Development, Customer Service, Functional Mathematics, Information Technology, Workplace Safety, ECDL, Leadership & Teambuilding Skills, Motivational Programme/Activities, Anger Management/Substance Abuse, Educational Visits, Individual Learning Plans.
Shane, our Workplace Safety facilitator was a great guy and an even better teacher. All the tutors were great, like our Healthy Options module which taught us how to prepare healthy meals and to differentiate from what is healthy and what is not. My favourite module was the Personal and Interpersonal skills. The coordinator Aoife had a way of getting things out of us and I soon realised that I was lacking in confidence in a lot of my ways and my communication and presentation skills needed a lot of work. But before the course ended I knew exactly what my capabilities were. I matured and became a dad, and was asked to share my experience by making a presentation at the AONTAS STAR Awards. That was something I never could have imagined happening before.
Another think I loved about the course was the constant fun and banter I had with everyone, including all the tutors
The beauty of this course was that there was something new to learn every day and it was not all academic. We had talks on Anger Management and Behavioural Problems and discussing these issues in class made us all aware of our own personal problems and challenges. These types of discussions helped us all to become a family; we were constantly making fun of each other, but knew that whatever the problem was, we would support each other. This never happened for me in the mainstream education system.
Not only did we exercise our minds; the courses included physical activities such as mountaineering, adventure sports, diving, and canoeing run through the Shielbaggan Outdoor pursuits training Centre. These helped with our leadership and team-building skills.
Another think I loved about the course was the constant fun and banter I had with everyone, including all the tutors. Without the great atmosphere and amazing support from the tutors and the staff of ACCESS, I would never have stayed or even completed the course. Now, I feel that I am in a better place. I had a personal tragedy in my life during the course and they were there to help, to listen and allowed space for me and my girlfriend to grieve over the death of our daughter.
It has given me confidence and belief in myself and opened doors
After I completed my work experience in the Book Centre in Wexford I was offered full-time employment. However, I soon got a promotion as a Lead Colleague in Home Store and More. I completed Level 2 Sign Language classes and I applied for an electrical apprenticeship with the ESB.
I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this course to any of my friends; it has given me confidence and belief in myself and opened doors that I would not have passed through otherwise.
Thank you ACCESS.
Find out about education and training options by visiting www.onestepup.ie or calling the One Step Up Freephone helpline at 1800 303 696 or contact Sam O’Brien-Olinger, AONTAS Information and Policy Officer via email: email@example.com.