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'I dropped out of my top CAO choice and then did a PLC, and that led me to the right college course a year later'

Bryan Drury, Sligo College of FE...to TU Dublin

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Bryan Drury, outside Sligo College of Further Education, Ballinode, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Bryan Drury, outside Sligo College of Further Education, Ballinode, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Bryan Drury, outside Sligo College of Further Education, Ballinode, Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Bryan Drury recalls selecting a college course "without thinking it through properly".

It was in the area of recreation and leisure and it was his top CAO choice, but he had been heavily influenced by friends a year ahead of him "saying it was a great course".

He took the place but, into his second year, "I realised it wasn't for me." He left and took some time out "to gather myself".

Bryan listened a lot to his very supportive mother who told him there were lots of ways to pursue what he might want to do.

"I took a step back and looked back at what I enjoyed in school and found construction was probably my strongest subject," says Bryan (23) Gurteen, Co Sligo.

He dipped his toes into this area of interest via the Building Technology & Design Level 5 post-Leaving Cert (PLC) course at Sligo College of FE, Ballinode.

At that stage, Bryan didn't have any particular ambitions about returning to higher education: "I just wanted to be a brickie or a blocklayer." But that soon changed. "There were a lot of detailed drawing of floor plans and I found that that is what I really enjoyed doing," he says.

Career guidance is an important feature of the course and opened his mind to all his options. "They were always telling us to research courses we might like to do after the PLC. It was very beneficial as it helped me to discover what I wanted to go on and study in college."

That is how Bryan ended up entering the Level 8 (honours) BSc Architectural Technology course in TU Dublin. He would not have had the Leaving Cert points required for entry to programme, but doing the PLC opened up a different pathway, and his results assured him an offer of one of a small number of places reserved for further education students.

The PLC experience "also gave me excellent preparation for the project-based nature of the Architectural Technology programme, which has been a great help", says Bryan.

Now entering third year of the four-year course, he's "delighted" with his choice and the career into which it will lead him.

He explains that the difference between an architect and an architectural technologist is that the former "meets the clients and designs the house and then they come to the technologists with their design and they draw it."


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