In the final episode of the eight-part podcast series 'OMG! What a Complete Education!', Minister Simon Harris spoke about his educational journey, from enjoying school to leaving college early to take his seat in the Dáil.
He also outlined his aims as Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science; prioritising flexible learning, increasing the number of available apprenticeships and improving the buildings used by the further education and training sector, as well as improving access to education by increasing grants and reducing fees.
This is the final episode of the eight-part series, created by Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI).
It features learners and voices from across the education sector with a range of programmes and initiatives within further education and training (FET).
The podcast is co-hosted by ‘Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling’ authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen, who met at Ballyfermot College of Further Education.
During this episode they also speak with CEO of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB Caitríona Murphy and ETBI general secretary Paddy Lavelle about how FET has changed over the years.
Director of further education and training at ETBI Dr Fiona Maloney said: “We initially had the idea for this podcast as we were aware, through our work with ETBs across the country, that there were thousands of learners and people involved in education who had really interesting and inspiring stories to tell about their education journey.
"Through this podcast, we hope that people of all ages and backgrounds can see that there are education options available to suit everyone – no matter what your age, background or interests are."
Throughout the series, learners of all ages and backgrounds have shared their experiences of post-Leaving Cert courses, apprenticeships, outdoor education and returning to education as adult learners.
Commenting on the series, co-host Emer McLysaght said: “The wonderful thing about co-hosting this podcast has been hearing so many different people’s stories and experiences from colleges and training centres right across the country.
"There are so many people, like us, who didn’t know for sure where they wanted to go or how to get there and found a way through an FET course and with the support of the staff behind those courses.”
Co-host Sarah Breen added: “It may sound cliché to say, but the people on this podcast are inspirational because they are regular people who have found a way to change their lives and get where they want to be through education.
"We all know someone who didn’t have a great experience in school or didn’t get the points they needed for a particular course or who never got any qualifications at all. The podcast shows listeners just how many opportunities there are out there!”
'OMG! What a Complete Education!' was created by ETBI in partnership with SOLAS. The podcast is available on Spotify, Apple and all other podcast platforms.