Gavin Gilvarry speaking at Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters

Gavin Gilvarry speaking at Oireachtas Joint Committee on Disability Matters

02 March 2022

When I left school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It was hard to find options that suited me, and I felt a bit lost. From 2016 to 2018 I did some FETAC courses to try and develop my skills. For example, I did a course in Career Exploration, and courses in Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. I felt it was good to try and do these courses to continue my education and get started on the path to employment, but parts of the courses could be difficult. The courses did not always suit my learning needs. I also did some work experience placements, but I was still finding it hard to know which way to turn. My family have always been a great support to me, and outside of my family I was looking for support with my further education and getting into a career.

From September 2018 to July 2019, I took part in the WALKways Tallaght University Hospital Programme. I got to do work experience placements in 3 different departments in the hospital – medical records, facilities management, and in the warehouse. In September 2019 I moved on to the OWL Programme at Leinster House to continue with my skills development. During my time on the OWL Programme I did work experience placements in the Enquiries Office, HR Unit and remote working tasks for the Parliamentary Questions office.

While we were doing our work experience placements on these programmes, we did classes during the week with the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board and the City of Dublin Education and Training board (ETB). Each week we would have two class sessions. The classes we did were Work Experience and Career Preparation. The classes were made so that they were at the right level for everyone on the programme. This meant that all of us trainees could really learn the coursework and put it to practice. Our coursework was related to the work we were doing in the different departments and offices. We would take what we were learning in class and use it in our work experience. This was a really helpful way of learning and provided me with the employment skills I needed to grow in confidence and take the next steps.

I learned so much about the working world and I felt that I could learn at my own pace. It also helped me to progress to the next stage – updating my CV, applying for a job and going for an interview! In December 2021, I did my first big job interview for a job in the civil service and came first on the panel. I am hoping to start work in a clerical role soon. A really important part of my journey was the opportunity to learn at my own pace in a way that suited me. I am so proud of what I have achieved, and I always knew that I am not in this world to do nothing. I can’t wait to see what this new year brings."

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