A team of talented young content-creators from Nagle Community College, Mahon, Co. Cork enjoyed a fun-filled trip to the Office of Public Works (OPW) Heritage Site Ilnacullin on Garinish Island this week as reward for winning publicjobs.ie’s The Pitch Schools Advertising Challenge.

Transition year students Nadia Owczarek, Lucy O' Sullivan, Oliver O' Sullivan, Lyniesha Gaule, Madita Baca and Elena Hadyn took home one of three top prizes for their short video showcasing the scope and breadth of the exciting career opportunities on offer across the public sector.

In recognition of their hard work the group was awarded a trip to OPW Heritage site, Ilnacullin on Garinish Island for their whole class, plus an annual Family Heritage Card for each student.

The class received an expert guided tour across the island, getting to experience the unique horticulture and architectural gems that have been wonderfully cultivated and maintained by the OPW. The group also spent time discovering the history of the Martello tower and the development of the gardens which owe their existence to the early twentieth-century creative partnership of Annan and Violet Bryce, the island’s owners, and Harold Peto, an architect and garden designer. The area enjoys a mild and humid micro-climate that makes for spectacular and flourishing plant life all year round.

Speaking about their island getaway, Nadia Owczarek said:

“It's been really fun, I'm really glad that we can be here. Garinish island is beautiful. It was an incredible experience to film the video for publicjobs.ie, I learnt so much and would highly recommend other students get involved.”

Lucy O' Sullivan said about the prize day:

“The prize day is fantastic, I would recommend for other schools to do it because the prize is definitely worth it!”

Brid Hurley from the OPW said:

“Garinish Island is an island here in Glengarriff in West Cork run by the OPW. It hosts over 60,000 visitors every season. It started off as a barren rock and thanks to the family that purchased it in the early 1900s it ended up as a gorgeous tropical garden because of the microclimate that's here on the island. The students got to take in the Italian Garden, the Walled Garden, the Grecian Temple and the Martello Tower which was built in the early 1800s.”

Commenting on the publicjobs.ie school’s resource kit, Dawn Aston, Nagle Community College guidance counsellor said:

“I felt very passionate about our students getting involved... The notion that you could have hundreds of thousands of people all working for the one "company" so to speak, that idea that you can safely move from one career to another, you can progress, and you're all part of that family, I think for these students after covid, that whole idea of belonging to something bigger than you, I think is a very positive thing and that's why these kids are attracted to it now.”

The Pitch competition is organised by publicjobs.ie and is a key part of its educational programme for post-primary students aimed at informing and sparking interest in the wide variety of career opportunities available in the public sector. This is the second year of the competition, with entries received from schools across Ireland.

Other winners included students from Kildare Town Community School, Co. Kildare and Fingal Community College, Swords, Co. Dublin. Last week the students from Kildare experienced a behind the scenes all access studio tour of TG4. The Dublin students will enjoy an action-packed visit to the Defence Forces at Curragh Camp DFTC.