Fast Track Academy - Making a Difference!

Our latest blog series sees our FTA alumni spill all on the ins and outs of college, graduation included! We got in touch with some former FTA members and wanted to hear their story; from their struggles to victories, as they journeyed through college. Although they all set off on different paths, they all stemmed from the one programme!


To start us off, Jenessa tells us how she ‘engineered’ her college journey.

“I studied Mechanical Engineering in TUD: Tallaght. I’ve always wanted to help animals and people from a very young age. Initially, I wanted to be a vet but then realised I couldn’t see an animal in pain so I started to think about alternative paths. During my school years, I did Business Studies and Engineering / Metalwork and I enjoyed both, but I didn’t know which one I wanted to do. When I looked at the TUD Prospectus, I saw there was a nice mix of business and engineering modules and that really intrigued me. I started to look at job opportunities as well and depending on which avenue you wanted to go down, you could become an engineering consultant. Now, that’s what I do, and I help design buildings and equipment for high profile Pharmacy Company’s and Animal care facilities. This way, I still get to help people and animals, although in a roundabout way.” Jenessa had two big passions and found the perfect career which caters to both!


“College was a crazy experience. I enjoyed my course overall, although some modules I struggled in. I got to learn so many interesting things that I knew I would use in any capacity. I can’t believe that even when I’m walking around in my everyday life, I notice the amazing engineering that went into even the everyday ordinaries. I got to investigate various disasters and understand what could have been done differently to avoid such a disaster and find the main issues that caused it.”

“I graduated in 2019 and now work for PM Group, an Engineering consultancy firm. Since graduating, I have already been involved in a Food Tech project and now a high-profile confidential Pharma Company, but I also got to travel. At the beginning of 2020, I was asked to move out of Dublin and down to Cork for a job. Once I finish the project I’m currently working on, I may have the opportunity to go abroad for another project! This is ideal for me as my main plans for the future are to travel to as many places as I can, for as long as I can. This job allows me the capacity to do so.” Jenessa has shown us just how hard work can pay off and open so many doors to achieving your goals.


“What I have learned is that it is so important to do what makes you happy. During my time in PMG, I have spoken to many people and learned many things. The one point a colleague had said that stuck with me was, “If you really wanted to do something, you would do it.” I can’t emphasise enough how, upon leaving school, that you are too young to know what you want to do, so look at what interests you and see if there is a course that fits. You will just make yourself miserable if you go to college doing something you hate because you think it will make you the most money. Your mental health is more important than a job, so find what you love to do and simply do it.” FTA Mentoring is a prime example of how Citywise can aid a young person in their journey through school and onto college. This programme allows students the opportunity to talk through their options and interests with staff, finding what route is suitable to them.

“Education is really important to me. I plan on going back to college and doing either a Masters or PHD, or both if I can, in something relating to Engineering with Business and Leadership of Managers. I don’t only want to do it because it could possibly advance my career, I want to to do it because I have a passion for learning!”


“If I could go back in time and give 6th year Jenessa advice on how to make the most of her time in school and college, I would tell her firstly that exams test your memory, not your intelligence. When we are doing the Junior Cert and the Leaving Cert, we are programmed to remember everything we have learned in years’ worth of study, which I think isn’t a fair way to test people. However, when you get into college it’s a completely different set up! Your course set up is vastly different to that of a school timetable and as a result you will be tested on a variety of different things! Do your best, it’s all you can do!” FTA encourages students to strive to do their best in all aspects of their school life, incorporating mentoring and social development into their studies, while also providing a core academic support for the students.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Jenessa is a role model for our FTA students and is a perfect example of the vast number of routes you can take to get to where you want to go! Since completing FTA, she has been back on several occasions as a mentor, tutor and volunteer in our programmes. She has seen the benefit of our programmes and is always willing to help Citywise whenever she can. Jenessa is a great role model for our young members.


Check back next week for the next instalment of this segment.

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