Rory Duffy is a teacher in Colaiste Naomh Cormac in Kilcormac, Co.Offaly who runs a special course for adults who wish to return to education to study Science. We caught up with Rory to find out more about this course and its success to date…..
What is the name of the course you currently run for adults Rory and how long has it been in existence?
The course is called Applied Science/Laboratory Techniques (FETAC Level 5) and this is its fifth year of running.
Tell us a little bit about the types of people who take this course? Can anyone sign up to it?
The people who take this course come to us from a very varied background and age group. We have had people just out of school and people in their fifties. Some are students that didn’t quite get enough points to do what they wanted in college while others thought that they were too long out of education to go back. Some students have started studying third level then discovered they were on the wrong course for them and wanted to change. Others are challenged by a confidence issue rather than a question of ability. Everyone is able to with the right supports.
Do some of the students move on to other academic institutions after the course?
Everyone who completes the course can gain access to third level. We have links into AIT and past pupils from this course have become some of the best performers in AIT. Some students start off thinking that they will do the course to learn about science without plans to go to third level. Again, they soon realise that they have the ability to cope with third level. We also have students in Maynooth and other colleges.
Have you had many success stories and what types of jobs opportunities can people avail of after completing the course?
Every pupil that completes the course is a success story. No matter what field the students move on to, whether work or further education, the learning and experiences of studying applied science will add value to them. Critical and Scientific thinking are essential to problem solving strategies and that is more and more evident in today’s world.
What would you say to encourage more people back into education and particularly back into a science career?
As someone who only went to college aged twenty nine and who did his HDip at forty five, I would tell everyone that they might not believe it but they are no different to me. We all have the ability to achieve in some field but we may lack the belief to see it through. Come along to Applied Science Lab Techniques and try it. You might start to believe!
Why are events such as the Midlands Science Festival important do you think?
For me it makes complete sense to get people thinking in a scientific way as soon as possible. The science fair is an opportunity for pupils and schools to show science as being important in our lives. This exposure is important to normalise science study in our society and it helps encourage science as being fun. Because it is fun!