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A terrible learning experience

I’ve just completed the worst learning experience of my life with FÁS.

It is an organisation that doesn’t care and Irish people who are out of work deserve better. This is not a comment on any Individuals and I am sure there are plenty of caring individuals within FÁS — I am talking about the organisation as a whole.

Leading up to the course I was warned, by everybody I spoke to, to approach with caution and my first comment is that this is sad in itself. Irish people should be able to take pride in their National Training and Employment Authority and it is very obvious that confidence has completely been lost in this organisation.

I soon realised some of the issues for myself when I tried to apply for a course, which firstly had incorrect dates quoted on the FÁS website, which was very misleading and then, after going to Galway and doing an introduction day, the course was cancelled altogether.

I then applied for a FÁS online computer course. It quickly became apparent that the learning material provided was sketchy, badly structured, confusing, misleading and with several misleading typos. A lack of care and interest was the impression I was left with.

Considering this course was intended to be suitable for people with basic computer skills, learning remotely without classroom support, the very least you should be provided with is very comprehensive learning material. This also has the benefit of the student knowing exactly what is in the syllabus and not learning outside of the syllabus.

In my particular case, a course that I had allowed six months for, ended up taking nine months and it was nothing but sheer frustration throughout. I started out with the best of intentions going over all the learning material twice, while continuously having to refer to other sources of learning material and I spent six months doing this. Before I could sit the exam I then had to achieve 90% in four mock exams and, at this point, I then realised how much I did not know. This was principally thanks to bad learning material, and I had then to spend an additional three months learning more.

In the exams, there was another 10% of questions, that after all this, I still could not answer simply because I had not covered the required theory.

The pass mark was 75%, so this 10% or so was very significant. I also realised in the last three months I had spent much of my time learning the wrong information, which would never appear in the exam. I was furious.

Thankfully I passed these exams, but I suspect many other students are either not reaching the exam stage, or are failing.

I hope I have contributed to help future students, and that finally something might improve within FÁS.

Tom Meagher

Ennis

Co Clare


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