FROM dusting fingerprints to visiting the Garda College in Templemore, 11 Transition Year (TY) students recently got to swap their classrooms for Bandon Garda Station.
In a first for the Cork West Garda Division, the students from Hamilton High School, St Brogan’s College, Bandon Grammar School, Coláiste na Toirbhirte and Kinsale Community School got to spend a full week at the Divisional HQ in Bandon where they got a good taste of what An Garda Siochána has to offer in career terms.
The week of work experience was co-ordinated by Garda Damian White, the community garda in Bandon, under the direction of Chief Supt Con Cadogan, of Cork West Garda Division.
‘The aim of the week was to give the students a sense of the range of jobs available within An Garda Siochána. There was great interest from the schools when we came up with this initiative,’ Gda Damian White told The Southern Star.
‘Over the course of the week the students met with various speakers, including Chief Supt Cadogan, who welcomed all of them and emphasised that good practice and ethics are at the core of our work in the community.
‘They were also addressed by Gda James O’Mahony, juvenile liaison officer and were also given a talk by the Roads Policing Unit as well as meeting newly qualified probationer gardaí.’
The students also had visits from crime prevention officer Sgt Ian O’Callaghan, as well as members of the Drugs Unit and the Armed Support Unit.
They spent a day in Templemore where they got a guided tour of the Garda College and its museum.
‘The students also got a detailed tour of the garda station here and they received a presentation from civilian staff who outlined their role within the station.
‘They met with Niall Keane of the Divisional Scenes of Crime Unit and they visited Bandon District Court where they were addressed by the Judge Olann Kelleher about how the justice system operated in real life,’ Gda White explained.
Victoria Ptak from Coláiste na Toirbhirte found the week very interesting and, as she hopes to join the gardaí in the future, it gave her an insight into what the job entails.
‘The highlight of the week was going up to Templemore Training College to see where they train and it’s something that I really want to do,’ said Victoria.
Olan Corcoran from Hamilton High School said it was very interesting meeting the Drugs Unit.
‘Most of us wouldn’t have seen drugs before and we saw the likes of cocaine and heroin, which was interesting. The week was fantastic overall,’ said Olan. Therese Forbes, also from Coláiste na Toirbhirte, said the best part of the week was either the drugs unit or meeting with those in the Garda Reserve.
‘Before this week I didn’t really think I had any interest in joining An Garda Siochána but now definitely I’d be interested in joining the Garda Reserve. I’m glad I was selected to take part in the week,’ said Therese.
The overall feedback from the students was very enthusiastic, according to Gda White, who said the seeds of recruitment to a career in the gardaí may well have been planted.