‘Ultimately, the Leaving Certificate is but one of several significant steps on the young person’s journey through life. It is not a make-or-break event.
‘More than anything else, young people need to get themselves into courses and careers that match their aptitudes and interests, because simply aiming for prestigious courses and careers can leave young people marooned when the job market changes, as is currently the case, or they discover that they cannot cope with work that is not congenial to them.
‘Picking the winning career at 18 is a dangerous game, since, as the British educator Sir Christopher Ball notes, “We belong to the first generation that knows for certain that it doesn’t know what the future will be like.”
‘In this kind of world, the class of 2013 must have two priorities: selecting education paths that allow them to build on their aptitudes and interests, and acquiring the capacity to go on learning for the whole of their lives and the disposition to take personal responsibility for adapting to ever-changing circumstances. They also need to develop constructive interests and healthy lifestyles – as these are the key to happiness and fulfilment.
‘Notwithstanding the current doom and gloom,’ says Mr Moriarty, ‘the Leaving Certificate class of 2013 can look forward with optimism to the yet unimagined world of the 2020s and beyond.
‘In a few short years, the economy will again swing upwards and the Leaving Certificate class of 2013 will enter the workforce as prosperity re-emerges. This is the message that these young people should be hearing from all of us this week.
‘Whether young people are pleased or displeased with their results, today will not be hugely significant in the long term. It is what they do in the next phase of their life that matters. And every student receiving their results today can write the script for their lives in the decades ahead – provided they build their education and career on what they are good at.’