’I really believe that apprenticeships are for everyone’
My education journey: ’I’m a mature student with a background in marketing, communications and PR’
Fionnuala Byrne, auctioneering apprentice
My apprenticeship journey - Fionnuala Byrne, auctioneering apprentice:
“I’m a mature student with a background in marketing, communications and PR. I got a job doing admin work in O’Gorman [Property Services] in Greystones, Co Wicklow, and decided I wanted to get my property services regulatory authority (PSRA) license so I could sell houses.
“I know that apprenticeships are usually thought of as something for school-leavers or young people, but they’re also great for people like me who want to change careers. I’m on a two-year programme which involves working four full days a week and one day – usually Wednesday – of classes in Ballsbridge College. The Cork College of Commerce also offers this apprenticeship.
“It’s a very practical course that backs up what we learn on the job: how to promote a property, how to write a brochure, measure a property and describe its internal area, learning about the law, what is happening in the property market and the impact of Central Bank lending rules. We have modules on economics, estate agency skills, ICT and more, and I’ve developed a good network of other estate agents, which is really valuable for checking prices. Assignments and exams are the main assessment methods. We’re also all assigned a mentor, giving one-on-one support that you may not find in other courses.
“There’s a designated minimum wage for apprentices, with some companies going beyond it. I really believe that apprenticeships are for everyone, including school-leavers who may have dropped out of college, people looking for a career change and, of course, those who have just completed their Leaving Cert. I know it’s the right fit for me – and my classmates.”