The long awaited Slingshot Academy was launched on Sunday last in Filmbase Dublin, much to the delight of the scores of TY students in attendance.
Building upon the success of the flagship Student Slingshot Entrepreneurial event in November of last year, the team have been hard at work, furiously planning the Slingshot Academy.
The inspiration behind the Slingshot Academy is an innovative take on the current state of careers guidance within Ireland, and is a refreshing take on an area which is often stale and out dated.
Rather than being preached to on the value of using their points or covering both level 6 and 7 courses, the Slingshot Academy offers real life experience in various career paths. Mentors with first-hand experience were on hand to offer an invaluable insight into the workings of various courses and careers.
For the small fee of fifteen euro per person, TY students were welcomed into the Temple Bar location and afforded the chance of attending a variety of smaller seminars on various career options, as well as a larger panel discussion on ‘Not your typical student – my advice to you’ and a closing address from Arthur Cox’s energetic and charismatic head of recruitment Jane Babb.
A strategic lunch break encouraged interaction between the students and offered them a chance to talk to the mentors.
The opening group of seminars saw streams in marketing, languages and medicine. Each of which garnered a large audience.
Diarmuid Suigre, a fourth year medicine student in UCD, took an alternative approach to the typical career advice speeches as he covered some of the reasons that people choose medicine, and whether or not these are valid reasons.
In doing so he encouraged people to truly think about what they want from their degree rather than following the cajoling of others.
Ellen McKenna took yet another approach as she discussed the advantages of studying languages in college and advised the students on how to choose the right language for them.
Upon the conclusion of the opening seminars, students were given the options to interact with maths, computer programming and event management mentors.
Ryan Kane, a third year computer science student ran through the subject and the importance which it holds in Ireland right now, before giving them the chance to engage in some basic programming under his guidance.
The event management masterclass was an important one as Gretal Downey stressed the importance of experience above grades. Gretal also encouraged the students that there are more options than the traditional ‘prestigious’ courses which seem to be so popular.
As with any good panel session, food for thought was plentiful at the Patrick Guiney chaired ‘Not your typical student – my advice to you’.
Anne lowney of Eventbrite, TCDSU’s president Domhnall Glacken Byrne, Ian Fitzpatrick of SAP, and Eoin Heffernan each offered their own unique insight into the progression from second to third level education.
It soon became apparent to the TY students that the CAO needn’t determine the rest of their lives.
Jane Babb delivered a closing address worthy of the first ever Slingshot Academy. Her unique brand of enthusiasm and energy was applied to the message that young people have more to offer than they are often given credit for.
Jane also went to great lengths to dispel the myth that there is plenty of time to determine what you want to do. If there is one message which I gathered from her speech, it's start now.