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Employee's Story - Ian Fitzgerald

Ian Fitzgerald was a learner with National Learning Network’s Employer Based Training course in Portlaoise before getting full-time employment with Liam McGrath’s professional firm.

“I started with National Learning Network in January 2008 when I enrolled in the Employer Based Training (EBT) programme at the centre in Portlaoise. Prior to that, I had spent six months trying to get job, but it was very difficult to get on the career ladder. Employers wanted to employ people with experience, but how could I get experience unless somebody gave me a chance? It was a catch 22 situation.

The EBT programme was the answer to my problem. The EBT Instructor, Peter McDermott, approached Liam McGrath and he agreed to take me on. I spent a year on work experience with Liam’s firm. In January 2009, Liam employed me full-time and I’ve been with his firm ever since.

With EBT you spend four days a week working with an employer, getting experience of the workplace. You attend the National Learning Network centre on the fifth day getting training in areas such as career planning, job-seeking skills, manual handling and health and safety.

The great thing with National Learning Network’s EBT programme is that you know the support is there if you ever need it. I settled into my new job very well and my colleagues were really welcoming, but some people may find it hard to adapt and it’s great to know that National Learning Network is there to sort out any teething problems that you may have. My EBT Instructor rang and visited me on a regular basis and I knew that if I needed help, I only had to ask.

The EBT programme really helped my confidence and I’ve learned such an awful lot. I’m very happy in my job. I guess you could say that my foot is very firmly on the career ladder now!