'LCA has made me more confident'

MY EDUCATION WEEK: Ashling St Sevin is a 17-year-old Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) student at Arklow Community College

MY EDUCATION WEEK:Ashling St Sevin is a 17-year-old Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) student at Arklow Community College


Work experience day! In the LCA, we have four days of schoolwork and one day of work experience every week. We have four sessions of work experience over the two years so I’ve worked in a leisure centre, a local shop, and at the moment Im working in a Lawless’s Hotel in Aughrim. I actually opted to do two work experience sessions in the hotel because I really like it. I’ve worked on reception, waitressing, all sorts of stuff.

At the moment I’m waitressing. I really enjoy it. I love working with people. I’m used to doing my own thing there, so I go in at 11am and set the tables, sort out the menus and serve anyone that comes in. It’s made me more confident. I used to be shy and it’s really brought me out of myself.


My bosses in the hotel seem to appreciate the work because I’ve got a job out of it. Whenever they need me they give me a call. It’s nice to know they think I’m doing a good job.

I think that’s where the LCA really helped me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I started in fifth year. I hadn’t a clue, really, and now I know that I’d love to work in the hotel and leisure industry. Ideally, I’d like to travel as well and it’s an area that will hopefully let me do that.


I spent some time with my nanny, she’s not well at the moment.

Apart from that, I didn’t do too much other than relax and a bit of study. The social life has taken a bit of a back seat for now until the exams are over. We study English, Irish, maths and all that. I chose to do modules in hotel, catering and tourism as well as art, craft and design. They were pretty natural options for me to pick. I also study German and we have subjects like computers and social education as well.


It seems like a long time since I was making the decision to do the LCA in the first place. We had a talk about it in school – I was a bit confused to begin with because most of my friends were doing the LCVP – but I know I made the right decision. I actually did okay in the Junior Cert. My marks were good, but I found it tough. I couldn’t sit down for a long time to study or to sit exams. I learn better by doing. The LCA is more practical so the style of learning just suited me. I’d recommend it to people who enjoy the practical subjects. It’s worth considering if you find you’re best at subjects like woodwork, art or home economics.

It hasn’t been all easy. I had some serious doubts back before Christmas. I started thinking about what I wanted to do and I got a bit worried that the LCA wouldn’t allow me to go on to college. I really wanted to do something in hotel management or tourism and I thought that if I didn’t have business, I wouldn’t be able to do that. I was seriously thinking about switching to the LCVP but my teachers sat me down and explained that I could go to college and they explained how. It turns out they were right.


Maths first thing. Not my favourite subject. After that, we have social education. That’s about day-to-day life, really – we learn about everything, from drugs to elections. Then there’s English and after that, we have art, craft and design. I’m working on a lino print at the moment.

I’m nervous about the exams but the continuous assessment takes the pressure off. I’ve got 43 per cent in the bag already, so having passed, the final practicals and exams are all about building up the marks. It’s good to have the continuous tasks and assessments. You have to be dedicated to the course because even things like your attendance go towards your marks.


I was sick today so I wasn’t in school, but normally on a Tuesday, we cook. It’s part of the hotel, catering and tourism module. We cook foods from different cultures but at the moment, we’re practising for our practical exam. That’s happening next week. We all have different tasks and mine is to cook a two-course meal for people on a low budget. I’ll do bruschetta to start and then macaroni and cheese.


I have a busy couple of weeks coming up. As well as the cookery task next week, I’ll have my English interview, my German oral and my Irish oral the week after that. They’re all happening over a couple of days. I’m nervous for those. I love English, but I find Irish and German pretty tough going. I should be okay – I hope so. I’ve put the work in.

I’m staying after school to practise for the cookery task today. I’ll practise at home as well, so hopefully I’ll do well. Later on this evening, I’m going to an exhibition that some of the lads doing the agriculture and horticulture LCA module are involved in. It should be good fun.


Computers today. I often use the time to type up assignments. We also have vocational preparation on a Thursday. It’s quite useful, we get help with college and career choices and things like that. The day is quite packed with maths, English, Irish, German and double hotel, catering and tourism.

A big advantage to the LCA is that I was able to apply for college outside of the regular CAO process. I was offered a place on a course in travel and tourism industry training in Sallynoggin College of Further Education back in February. I did an interview with them and I was just delighted when I got in. Coming up to the final exams, it’s just amazing to have my college place in the bag.

This week I was

Listening toI love Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, David Guetta and Bruno Mars

WatchingMainly Xposé and Eastenders

BrowsingI'm on Facebook but I mainly use the internet for research so I'd say Google is the page I'd use most.

ReadingThe Driver Theory Test book. I really want to learn how to drive!