Supporting Further Education and Training (FET) Students

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FET Student Support Officer Sarah Webster

In 2023, almost 16,000 people participated in a course with our Further Education and Training (FET) Service. They did so on a full-time, part-time, online, daytime, evening time, in centre and out in the community basis, ranging in ages from 16-86. But did you know that we provide a support service for our FET students? What exactly does this involve and how do students avail of the service? In this blog, FET Student Support Officer Sarah Webster tells us more about it.

The primary goal of the FET Student Support service is to offer accessible and inclusive educational support for FET students across all centres and programmes. Along with my colleague Clare Gallagher, I provide support throughout the FET centres in Donegal.  In this blog, I will highlight various aspects of our student support service to help students thrive during their time with us in Donegal ETB. Whether you’re embarking on a new academic journey or navigating the challenges of your current term, we understand that being a Further Education and Training student comes with unique challenges and opportunities. When supporting students, I promote a growth mindset – a mindset that embraces challenges, persists through obstacles, learns from mistakes and finds inspiration to keep improving, which builds resilience.

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Clare Gallagher.

One of the key pillars of student support is academic assistance. FET programmes can be demanding due to work and family commitments, so it’s crucial to seek help when needed. Student support offers one-to-one learning support and educational testing to assist with reasonable exam accommodations. We also provide group sessions on academic writing, referencing, study skills, time management and assistive technology. If you feel you need support, talk to your tutor, who will organise a referral to the service. The service is confidential and free. Students who have availed of this have told us:

“The service helped me to understand my assignments better, also helped me to summarise and keep to the point when writing an essay. I was a Microsoft user so I was not used to Google, so I received help with this which was good. I have already told my classmates that I use the service and have recommended the service to them. As the course is getting more difficult it is good to know there is help.” Michael, Healthcare and Social Skills

“I would recommend Donegal ETB’s Student Support service to any student thinking of getting that little bit of extra support.  Sarah was very kind, accommodating and understanding with me.  Without help in how to layout my assignments and a bit of encouragement, I could safely say I wouldn’t have got my assignment done.” Rosemary, Intellectual Disability Studies

Further education is about lifelong learning, and we encourage this. Study groups within classes encourage collaboration, and sharing knowledge can enhance your understanding of the coursework.

FET is not just about academic growth; it’s also an opportunity for personal development. As FET students, you have a wealth of resources at your disposal to enhance your academic, personal, and emotional well-being. Remember, seeking support is a sign of strength, and by taking advantage of the services available, you’re setting yourself up for success. Your journey through FET is a transformative experience, and with the right support, you can navigate it with confidence, achieve your goals and reach your full potential:

“The service has helped me organise myself and prioritise my work – being out of school for a long time you develop bad habits with grammar. I also learnt the importance of answering the question you are being asked. I would recommend the service. My advice is to make sure you use the service at the start of your course don’t leave it to the end.”  Emmanuel, Nursing

Do not hesitate to reach out and access the service through your tutor – we are here to help!