Antaine Ó hÉimhín is a self-employed technical advisor who has to travel a lot as part of his work. He was thrilled when he found a course that he didn’t have to physically attend. “It’s a really great approach”, he says: “this course can be done from anywhere – even a carpark.” Antaine knows this well, as he explains that he was able to attend classes regardless of where his work took him – he mentions places like Gaoth Dobhair, Belfast, Co Meath and Dublin as a few examples. Antaine also travels a lot in his own time, and he even managed to attend classes from a campsite in Nice, France and even a quiet Starbucks in New York!
In some ways, Antaine is not a typical TGG student, in that he isn’t a civil servant and he already uses Irish as part of his job. That didn’t cause him any problems, though: “I’d recommend this course to anyone; self-employed, civil servant or other. The course itself and the feedback on homework is of a very high standard, and the teacher was great.” Antaine also enjoyed the social side of the course: the TGG courses emphasise conversation, especially at higher levels, and students get to know one another as they grow more confident.
So what prompted Antaine to take the course in the first place? “I had attended an Irish-medium secondary school, but I hadn’t studied the language since and I didn’t even do that well in the Leaving Cert. I suppose I wanted to improve my Irish, find out where my weaknesses were, and measure what level of Irish I really had.” Now that he has completed the highest level of the TGG, Antaine would love to find more courses based on this model – and he hopes that Level 7 will be available sometime too.
What was the high point of the course for him? “That it gives you both accuracy and confidence when you’re using your Irish, whether at work or as part of ordinary life”. Antaine had a great example of both those contexts: “It just so happened that I needed to contact An Post while I was doing the course, and I asked for service in Irish. It’s really important to do that – if there is a demand for it, they’ll employ people to cater to it. Anyway, normally they say they’ll get someone to call you back – and the person who called me was on the course with me! That goes to show that the TGG is helping companies to provide services through Irish, and that it opens up opportunities for those who take on the course which are also beneficial for the public.”
No matter what job you have or where you’re based, if you would like to use Irish in the workplace, you might like to undertake this friendly, interesting course online, beginning on the following dates:
Additional information about these online courses is available here.