Lorcan Gleeson

Lorcan Gleeson

Professional Social Care

Mature

Why did you decide to study with Carlow College?

I was abroad for several years and I returned to Ireland in 2010, I started to work on a security basis in the Social Care sector, and when that type of work disappeared from the sector, I was given the opportunity to train as a Social Care Practitioner. I chose to study at Carlow College to move from being a practitioner to a professional Social Care worker, because there is a significant difference between the two roles and I would also then qualify to register with CORU.  

With your experience in Social Care already, why did you return to formal education?

As a Social Care practitioner, the work I was doing was still very valid and there’s still great work being done. However, there are certain theories, concepts and approaches involved in social care that are fundamental to the industry and to the approach of social care that you only gain in-depth understanding of through formal education. When you gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of these approaches, that’s a game changer for how you approach your career.   

What Carlow College and the mentorship of the lecturers here has taught me about the theoretical values and how they connect with my own practice is invaluable.  

As a mature student were there any barriers or challenges you had to face returning to education?

 If you have a family, your time will be limited, and if like me you had a career while studying, it can become a juggling act. It takes a lot of time, patience and planning, but it’s possible to achieve with some creativity and the knowledge that the end goal is worth it.  

When first deciding to approach an employer about upskilling, it can be hard to say, I want to better myself, but Professional Social Care is a sector that is always going to want upskilled staff as it is always evolving. My own employers were very supportive when I spoke to them about returning to education.  

How did you find Practice Placement?

I was quite lucky that I was able to do several different types of services within the organisation I currently work with. You can’t do the same type of placement twice, so I tried something completely different in the third, working with positive behaviour support. I was taken aback by all the different types of Social Care happening in my organisation alone. It was like opening Pandora’s box, trying the different types of social care and finding out all the different routes I could take.  

What advice would you give someone thinking of returning to education?

My advice would be back yourself, decide to go back to college and see how that goes. There’s a world of possibilities waiting for those people who think they can’t or won’t be able to, yes you can. Find a reason to start.  

I would advise any unqualified practitioner to go back to college. Studying Social Care is a way to understand it as a professional industry. Carlow College provides a Social Care syllabus for a reason, the syllabus has been developed, designed, updated and amended all the time for the benefit of the students. Go for it! 

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