Sunday, 25 February 2018

Work Experience: Diary Entries

Student 1
Week One- Mater Hospital Dublin
For my first week of Work Experience I went to the Mater Hospital in Dublin. As I have been interested in a career in medicine for a while this course was very beneficial for me. We mostly spent the week listening to talks from different workers in the hospital. For example, we got to hear the realities of studying medicine and working after college from a Junior Doctor in the hospital. The highlights for me were visiting the blood labs and the mortuary. In the blood labs we saw bags of different blood cells and learned how blood is analysed. The hospital had tubes that could send vials of blood to different parts of the hospital instantly which I found amazing. In the mortuary we saw a brain which had been preserved in a bucket, I was surprised that nobody fainted. Overall, the week was very enjoyable and gave me a much better insight into working in a hospital. 
Week Two- Paz de Ziganda Ikastola, Pamplona, Spain
My second week of work experience was at an Ikastola in Spain. An Ikastola is a primary/secondary school where classes are taught through Basque, a minority language in Northern Spain, like a Gaelscoil in Ireland. The students learned English as a third language there and I helped out in their classes for the week. At the start of the week, I was in the playschool and primary school part of the school. I read stories like The Three Little Pigs to those children and made them do actions and sound effects with certain words to keep them engaged and help them to understand. I also helped older primary school children who were practising dramas they would be performing for their parents in English. I read scripts with them so they could hear how a native speaker pronounced different words. With one class who were studying the ocean, I told them the story of The Giant's Causeway. They loved hearing about Irish culture and laughed at my accent every chance they got.

Later in the week, I spent time in the secondary school section of the school. I spoke to them about differences between Ireland and Spain and answered questions they had about Ireland. They were especially shocked by the different foods we ate in Ireland. Nobody there had ever eaten or even heard of turnips or parsnips. They were also surprised by how different our school was to theirs. I told them that we couldn't wear nail varnish, makeup, or big earrings and they all looked horrified. They were also surprised when I showed them pictures of our school uniform and told the that most schools in Ireland had uniforms. Based on the information I told them, they assumed my school was a private school, as it sounded similar to private schools in Spain. None of them could believe that my school was not private and that most non-private schools in Ireland were similar to my school. We also talked about books, celebrities, and TV shows. Their standard of English was amazing so it was easy to have conversations with them. I even got to help out in a 6th Year English class who were preparing for the Spanish Leaving Cert. I read the ending of the novel they were studying aloud for them so they could hear my accent. Then I got to hear about the different college courses they wanted to do and what the Spanish Leaving Cert was like.

That week was an amazing and unique opportunity to see what teaching English as a foreign language is like. It really was one of the highlights of Transition Year for me and helped me to decide my career path. 
Week Three- Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Cork. 
I spent my final week of work experience at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Cork. Pfizer manufacture different medicines like Paracetamol, and at the plant I visited, they made the raw materials for the medication rather than the actual medication. We had guided tours of the labs, plant, and warehouses from workers in the different areas. The highlights of the course for me were working in the labs and engineering talks we heard. In the labs, we got to analyse different substances and use advanced technology to create graphs to help us identify the substances. This was a fun way of seeing what working as a scientist in a lab is like. During the engineering talks, we did different challenges which made the talks really engaging. We had to build a tower and a bridge out of straws and balance different things on them. This week was very interesting as I learned a lot about different careers in STEM subjects. I got to see where different STEM degrees could lead which I found beneficial. 

Student 2

Week One- Speech and Language Clinic 
My mum works as a receptionist in a speech and language clinic, so I decided to go there for my first week of work experience. I was also interested to discover more about the occupation of a speech and language therapist. On the first day, I was nervous as I arrived at the clinic, because I was unsure of what it would be like. However, the three therapists were very welcoming and I soon settled in. I was given the opportunity to sit in on several therapy sessions everyday. I was very lucky to get to do this and most of the parents were open to me being there. I liked interacting with the different kids and watching how the therapists worked with them. Each child had different issues and the therapists adapted the sessions to suits them, changing every week. I realised that speech and language therapy covers a wide variety of topics, not just stammering and pronunciation. I really enjoyed my week and got the chance to work with lots of different children. I would now consider a career with children or/and with speech therapy in the future.

Week Two- Primary School 
For my second week of work experience, I decided to return to my primary school. I didn’t really have an interest in teaching, but I wanted to experience work with children and see how it suited me. On the Monday, I attended the I Wish conference in the RDS instead of work experience. This was interesting and gave a good insight into the various opportunities the STEM subjects can give to girls. On the Tuesday I began work in the school. I split each day between a junior infant and senior infant class. This was slightly overwhelming at first, as there were so many small children, but it became easier as the week progressed. I helped out with art, writing and reading. It was fun and interactive. On the Wednesday I talked to the 6th class about secondary school and gave them some tips. I also went to the 5th class and helped them with the foreign languages they were learning. Overall I enjoyed the week, but I’m not sure if I’d like to work with kids all the time.

Week Three- Vintage Clothing Shop 
My third week was spent in a vintage clothing shop in Temple Bar in town. This was quite different to my previous weeks as it did not involve children and I was doing completely different tasks. I got great experience working in a shop and I also learned a lot about vintage clothes. I have an interest in fashion and sewing so I really enjoyed this week. My jobs involved helping customers, steaming, sorting and colour coding clothes and dressing up mannequins for display. I loved seeing the different eras of fashion while I was organising the clothes by style and colour. I would possibly like to work with fashion in the future, as I am interested in an artistic or creative career. However, I don’t think my strengths would lie in a career like managing a shop.

Student 3 

Week One
I decided to work in a St. Vincent de Paul charity shop for two weeks. I found my experience great and it has totally changed my expectations towards the local charity shop. I started at 10:00 and I would sign my name in the sign in booklet, then I would put my jacket and bag in a locker. The jobs varied from day-to-day, sometimes it would be a busy day full of work or a day that their would be repetitive work. The work that I had to do included recycling products that were over ten days old which included, books, clothing, house decorations, toys, CDs & DVDs. I also had to click size cubes on clothing hangers for each of the clothes, write the date and price of the products and bring in donations to the back to discard what we would not want to put onto the shelves. Colour coordinating was one of my favourite things to do along with attending customers.

We would have a 15 minute break by 11:00. During that time I would have something to eat, fill in my Work Experience Journal, talk with my colleagues and rest. We get back to work whenever we are ready and continue with our work until 12:30. Then we would have a break and we got to go out and buy our lunch, walk around the town and get some fresh air. Thirty minutes later we get back to work until 14:00 which is when I finish. Skills I developed: Sensitivity to others, Initiative, Motivation, Communication, Team Membership and Independence.

Week Two

I worked in Vila, a retail clothes shop. My experience there was good. I learned a lot of "retail skills" such as folding trousers and jumpers in a particular way, unpacking new in clothing,  steaming new in clothing, polishing the shelves and clothing rails, putting price stickers on sales clothing and tucking tags into the clothing. My day began at 9:30 I would put my bag and jacket down in the staff room, start polishing and continue from the previous day. My favourite memory from that experience was when I got complimented by a local customer of how professional I seemed to be. That made me be confident throughout the whole week. At 12:30 I had lunch and got back to lunch at 13:00, continued working and finished at 15:00.
Skills developed: Adaptability, Learning Skills, Customer Focus and Active Listening.

Student 4
Week One
Taking advice from teachers and coordinators I decided to spend one of my weeks in a career sector that interested me and I had considered for my own future. So off I headed to Hayes McGrath Solicitors on Baggot street in Dublin city. Being completely honest, I was terrified. I got an extremely early train, I got lost on my way from the train station and I still arrived far too early at the office. All was well in the end though. I learned a lot in my first day let alone the entire week. Everything was smooth sailing, except for a silly mistake that landed me on a train to Newbridge instead of Rush. I got to read case file about things I had heard in the news for example the stabbings at the Swedish House Mafia concert in 2012. It was all so overwhelming to see the real life work behind the scenes of the most famous criminal cases in Ireland. I was so impressed with my week there, hopefully I will be able to return when I’m in college for a summer job.

Week two
My second week was probably the best out of the three. I spent it in Shannon, Co. Clare in The  Irish Aviation Authority. I was in the air traffic control section and I was able to witness, in my opinion, the most crucial element of flying. The air traffic controllers speak to pilots, airports, runway staff, and other air traffic controllers all over the world. They control every single plane that flies over Irelands airspace, which is more that just the country itself. I absolutely loved every second of it. I was also lucky enough to get to visit the air traffic control tower, which is at the runway of Shannon Airport and see a few planes taking off. It really opened my eyes to another possible career.
Week three
For my third week I returned to one of my old primary schools, St. Brendans NS in Loughshinny. It was so nice to return to a place filled with such wonderful memories and to be remembered by all of the staff. I had a timetable for everyday so I was always busy and never wandering around. I spent time in every class and was lucky enough to go on some outings with a few classes. I went to the beach with 6th class to help them do a litter collection, and I went on a hike with 4th class along the cliffs from Rush to Loughshinny. I also happened to be there when a few 6th class kids were preparing for a debating competition so I helped them practice

Student 5 

On the week commencing the 9th of April, I spent Monday to Friday in Rotunda Hospital shadowing midwives and nurses. For this course I had to apply really early to secure a place, February 2017. Every day I started at 9:30am except on Friday, when I started at 10:30am. On Monday and Tuesday, I spent the days on the General Postnatal Ward, were mums and their new born babies stay until they go home. On Wednesday and Thursday, I was on the Lillie Suite, which is were the private rooms are for mums and their new born babies. 

Then on Friday, I spent the day in the Paediatric Outpatient Unit, where babies would come back for their 6-8 week checkups, if they had any problems with jaundice or weight loss etc. From Monday to Thursday, the jobs were very similar, although I did prefer being on the Public Ward rather than the Private Suites. I went around with the healthcare assistants to ask the mums how they were getting on and how their pain was etc, I got to watch all the 2-3 day old babies get their hearing tests on the day they were going home, I helped out with baby baths, brought babies down to another part of the hospital to get their antibiotics, helped out with changing linens and observe tests for the babies' breathing and heart. 

All the staff in the hospital were extremely welcoming and took me under their wings throughout the week. They answered any questions I had and would also explain whatever they were doing during the day. I learnt a huge amount about different postnatal illnesses and medication. The parents were also really lovely and I was glad they didn't mind me being there; many of them invited me in to chat and watch their checkups being completed. On Friday, on the Paediatric Outpatient Unit, I shadowed 2 midwives who did the checkups for the 1-2 month old babies. These included weighing the babies, taking blood tests, using a bilimeter to measure the babies jaundice levels and asking about the general wellbeing of the babies.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Rotunda Hospital and gained a whole lot of valuable information and experience that I will take with me for the future. After this placement, I would definitely consider working as a midwife, as I've found I'm really passionate about this area of work and found myself adjusting to the environment of the hospital and the wards really easily.

Junk Kouture 2018

Congratulations to all twelve teams from the school that reached the semi finals of the Junk Kouture competition


Transition year students in the JPIC group attended a presentation and workshop on homelessness. Mary Kilgarriff from the Dublin Central Mission in Abbey St. Dublin, gave the group an inspiring insight into the life of rough sleepers , the limitations of services available  and the causes of homelessness. The group also packed toiletry bags for homeless girls and women and presented the charity with 200 euro they had raised and supplies of sanitary ware that they had collected over the past weeks. The workshop was hugely informative and motivating and it has inspired the students to maintain links with the homeless charity and continue to work towards understanding & changing the homeless crisis.

Fashion Focus Workshop

The 4E form class took part in a ‘Fashion Focus’ workshop on Wednesday morning facilitated by Eco-UNESCO. They engaged in activities which discussed and challenged their ideas on fashion, the ‘fashion life cycle’ and the environmental impact of the textile industry. They finished off the workshop by learning some upcycling skills. The students made some throw bags from old t-shirts and also created some other new fashion items from old shirts and t-shirts they had in their wardrobe.