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Career Clinic - Week 4

Friday, 13 November 2009

Today we meet Annmarie Wolohan, who has ventured back into the classroom to give herself some new skills and qualifications! We also meet Aoife Coonagh, a career development expert, who will be giving us tips and advice on up-skilling!

The live register in September of this year stood at 429,400 people, an increase of 183,422 people or 76.4% in just one year according to the Central Statistic Office's figures. The standardised unemployment rate in September was 12.6%.

Annmarie Wolohan - Career Clinic participant

Has worked part-time or full time in offices all her life, doing accounts, office manager work, general admin. Has never liked big companies, only likes small ones, small friendly offices etc. Has been unemployed since end of 2008. Really feels her age is the barrier, she thinks maybe people don't want to hire her because of it. Honestly can't understand why she's not getting jobs, always feels interviews went well and then doesn't get them. Hasn't formally trained in accounts so feels this might be a slight factor. Loves the radio and is currently directing a play, one of a few she has directed.

Aoife Coonagh - Career Development Expert:

Aoife heads up the career development service in Carr Communications. She provides clients with individual and group interview preparation sessions, as well as recruitment interviewing skills at all levels. She also delivers training and development programmes, ranging from individual skills development to company-wide training and development programmes such as customer service, quality process improvement and management development. Aoife's clients include the departments of Education, and Environment, Heritage & Local Government, DPP, OPW, Valuation Office, Comptroller and Auditor General, as well as South Tipperary county council. Private clients include Merrill Lynch and AIB. She has a background of 20 years' HR, recruitment and training experience with Aer Lingus and in the financial services sector.

Aoife has written a book called Find That Job, a guide to CV tips, interview tips and much more. For more details and to order, visit

Career Clinic breakdown:

Week 1
On our first week we met our three Career Clinic participants, Eimear Farrell who was looking to move into PR, Martin Malone our brick layer who was looking to change career direction and Annmarie Wolohan who was aiming to re-enter work as an office manager.

Week 2
On our second week we re-visited Eimear and found out how she got on at her networking event, plus we found out some good news from her, she's managed to find a job in Geneva!

Week 3 (LAST WEEK)
Last week we found out how our unemployed bricklayer Martin Malone got on with our career direction expert John Fitzgerald as we try to find the best path for him to re-enter the workforce!

Week 4 ( THIS WEEK)
This week we catch up with our out of work office manager Annmarie Wolohan who had no formal qualifications in accounting. We've set her up in a class in an IPASS course in Payroll in Plunkett College and get Annmarie back into the classroom!

Week 5 (NEXT WEEK)
Next week we catch up with our unemployed bricklayer Martin as we find out how he got on doing a day's work experience in his new chosen profession!
Now, you might have noticed that Annmarie isn't here with us today, and that's because she is the second of our Career Clinic participants to have got a job!

Aoife Coonagh - Career Development Expert:

I head up the career development service in Carr Communications. I provide clients with individual and group interview preparation sessions, as well as recruitment interviewing skills at all levels

You've put together the top seven questions people ask about up-skilling for us haven't you?

1. How do I decide what course or development to do:

. Assess
. Review CV - a) skills; b) experience; c) qualifications;
. Decide how to bridge the gap

2. How do I know which skills or experience I'm missing?

Look at job descriptions.

3. What type of skills will I need?

2 categories of skills
. Technical, professional, specific business or trade skills
. Non-technical

4. Where do I go to get those skills?

Formal courses
Research range of training courses
Find a mentor to learn from - bounce ideas
Read business magazines and use the internet

If in a job
Talk to HR or your team leader

5. Is up-skilling or training ever a bad idea?
You need to have the
. Interest and Aptitude
. Research and talk to previous students
. Life decision, big commitment in time / €

6. What if I want to do training / qualification and my organisation is not supporting me? The Education policy is closed at the moment.

. Outline the longer term benefits
. Look for alternatives - maybe the company will give you an interest free l oan to cover the cost of the course

7. If I'm not working or can't afford it, what are my options?

. Consolidate your experience - get formal recognition for your skills
. Do something different - try a short course, check your interest and aptitude
. Volunteer - to keep experience current, try out new areas, make contacts
. Recognise skills gained outside of work