VTOS Clonmel graduates with their teachers.
VTOS Clonmel coordinator Michael Corbett is “very proud” of his eight results recipients.
“I’m really delighted for them,” Michael tells The Nationalist.
“The Leaving Certificate is something that is required to better one’s career and my students got on really well. A couple have already secured jobs, others are looking for employment and some are considering further education,” he continues.
Michael highlights that VTOS Clonmel, which is a two year programme aimed at adults interested in returning to full-time education, has been playing an important role at CTI Senior College for the last 25 years.
“Some students may have left school early, worked for a while, lost jobs or reared a family. The core programme here provides them with the opportunity to experience Leaving Certificate subjects along QQI Level 4 modules,” Michael explains.
Cashel’s Chloe Doherty left school in 5th year before graduating with the VTOS Class of 2017. “I was 16 and didn’t feel that education was important. For a few years I looked for jobs but I couldn’t decide what to do,” Chloe tells The Nationalist.
Chloe decided to apply to VTOS two years ago because she wanted a future with more opportunities and she has never looked back since.
“I really enjoyed the experience as I was older and I took it seriously this time. I was prepared to put my head down to try to achieve good results.
“Maths was a challenge but I enjoyed learning new stuff, and I even enjoyed the homework. I realised that you are never too old to learn.
“I recently attended my first job interview since completing the course and I felt more confident thanks to the course. I would really recommend taking the step back to education as I found it really rewarding. In the future I may apply to take a third level course to achieve a degree or diploma,” Chloe adds.
Married to Davy, Fethard’s Diane Byrne left school without completing any exams at 15. “I come from a large family and I had to find work. I worked in the catering industry for most of my life,” Diane underlines.
It was only when her mother passed away that she decided to return to education. “I wanted to prove to myself that I was capable of doing it. I loved learning and was interested in all the subjects on offer.
“I loved every day. I was delighted with the experience as it helped me to grow in confidence. I feel that I can now do anything that I want to do. The teachers at CTI were fantastic and very supportive.
“I now hope to continue in education for another year and after that the world is my oyster,” Diane smiles.
Clonmel’s Jamie Landers (24) left school at 16 after falling pregnant, before returning to study at VTOS Clonmel.
“I always wanted to get my Leaving Cert as a lot of people used to use it as a weapon - ‘Oh you’re thick you don't even have a Leaving Cert’ - and I wanted to prove to myself I could do it. It was difficult juggling a family, school and other difficulties which arose over the last two years but it was so worth it to be handed my results and getting better marks than I ever could have imagined.
“The overall experience for me was amazing. I met friends I will keep for life. I have a Leaving Cert now which I didn't think I would get the opportunity to get, but thanks to Michael Corbett and the VTOS programme I successfully completed it.
“I'm going to try get a job now but next September I want to return to education to study child psychology,” lone parent Jamie adds.
Clonmel’s Jason Fitzgerald left school at 15 after completing his Junior Cert with the intention of getting an apprenticeship.
“It didn’t work out. I began working in Dunnes Stores and in the Value Centre for a number of years,” Jason says.
After a spell unemployed, he decided to give education another go.
“I had regretted not sitting the Leaving Cert, so I enrolled in the VTOS Leaving Cert Programme at CTI Senior College. While on the programme I enjoyed studying various subjects, in particular History and French but I found Maths challenging.
“I really enjoyed the experience and I made some great new friends. I would advise anyone to give it a go.
“Currently I’m looking for full-time work and I know that having completed the VTOS programme will help me to achieve this goal,” the father of James and Killian adds.
Clonmel’s Stephen Roche left school after finishing his Junior Certificate in 2005.
“I left because a family friend asked me if I wanted to work over the summer and he then employed me for three years. After finishing the three years I started doing courses,” he recalls.
But Stephen decided to return to school to get a qualification. “The only difficulty I had was trying to get back into the hang of things, but the experience was amazing, mixing with new people and having fun.
“I believe my future has changed for the better now that I've completed the Leaving Certificate,” Stephen smiles.
Mitchelstown’s Vincent O’Brien wanted to complete the Leaving Certificate after initially doing the applied version when he was 18 years old.
“My teachers at the time didn’t have faith in me to do the proper Leaving Cert as apparently I wasn’t able for it,” he says.
Vincent then found it difficult to get a job because of his hearing disability, so decided to return to education to better himself.
“I was kind of stuck in a hole living on disability allowance,” he admits.
“Walking in the door was the hardest part. All the teachers, especially Michael Corbett, made us all feel so welcome which was a massive weight off our shoulders.
“The experience was absolutely brilliant. Any help we needed we got it. It certainly helped to get the better side out of me. Thanks to my teachers and the career guidance in there helping me with CVs and interview skills, I’m currently working in Aldi distribution centre,” an upbeat Vincent concludes.
Contact Michael Corbett at VTOS Clonmel by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call 052-6126269 to make your Leaving Certificate dreams become a reality.