Cork Lifelong Learning Festival – April 2017

Cork Lifelong Learning FestivalMonday April 3 to Sunday April 9, 2017
Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival promotes and celebrates learning of all kinds across all age groups, abilities and interests, from preschool to post retirement.

The festival’s motto is Investigate – Participate – Celebrate!
Its aims are:

  • to celebrate those already participating in learning of all kinds;
  • to raise awareness of the huge range of options there are all over the city for others to get involved in learning.

Through a huge number of events, all free, the festival demonstrates the many opportunities for learning there are throughout Cork City & surrounding areas. It promotes the idea that learning is fun and is not necessarily about gaining a qualification, although it can be, but is also about making life more fulfilling and enjoyable.

More than 600 events of all kinds and all free will be offered during festival week in 2017. They include workshops & talks, tours & walks, visits to factories, training centres, boat trips, exhibitions, performances, outdoor & indoor activities … the list goes on.
The festival is organised by a steering committee which brings together all the learning stakeholders in the city. It’s part of the City Council’s strategy of making Cork a City of Learning.

Its success was recognised by UNESCO when Cork was one of the first 12 cities in the world to receive a Learning City Award in 2015.
Cork has been chosen by UNESCO to host its 3rd International Conference of Learning Cities in September this year. Quite a coup for such a small city – as the previous conferences were held in Beijing & Mexico City.
Programmes for the 14th festival are available at www.corketb.ie

Daily Programme information:

National Framework of Qualifications NFQ

nfq progressionThe National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten level system that provides a way to compare qualifications and ensure that they are recognised nationally and abroad. Each of the ten levels are used to describe the Irish qualifications system and each level is based on national standards of skill, knowledge and ability ie. what a person is able to understand and do after completing a process of learning, with the higher numbers indicating a higher level of education.

The NFQ system places the Leaving Certificate at level 5 and the Leaving Cert Applied at level 4. From the Leaving Certificate, students are able to apply for courses from level 5 to level 8 (level 9 and 10 are Master’s and PHD courses for which a student needs a level 8 qualification). The NFQ allows students to use the system like a ladder; so whatever step you start on, you can move to a higher level and it can be done in a number of ways.

On entering the system at level 5, Post-Leaving Certificate students may use this qualification to move to higher education, mainly through the Higher Education Links Scheme. This scheme means that students are able to apply for places on CAO courses which includes level 8 courses. Applicants submit an application to the CAO by February 1st but there is no guarantee of a place. However, it does mean that students will have a chance to compete on the basis of their QQI qualification instead of their Leaving Cert results. At the moment, 642 CAO courses accept any QQI level 5 qualification for places. Some courses require the qualification to be in a specific area or that it contains certain subjects.

So students with a level 5 qualification have two ways in which to apply for a course; through the CAO, where their qualification is given a points score, or by applying for  a ‘linked’ course; where a number of places have been set aside for QQI (formerly FETAC) applicants.

Students who enter at level 6 in an IT frequently have the option of staying on in that institution to do a level 7 ‘add on year’ followed by a level 8 ‘add on year’. This means that a student can acquire a level 8 qualification in four years. As most level 8 (or honours degree courses) are four years in length, it is likely to take the student the same amount of time to reach level 8 as a student who enters on level 8. In many cases, a student will be required to achieve a certain grade in order to do the level 7 and 8 ‘add on years’.

Entering the system at level 7 and moving on to level 8 follows the same procedure as level 6 moving to level 7. A lot of the level 7 courses have an optional ’add on’ year to take them to level 8 and students need to enquire with the college or check the CAO handbook. The abbreviation DG in the handbook signifies that it is an Ordinary Degree course while HD signifies that the course has an option to add on a year to make it an Honours Degree. HC+DG+HD means that a course is a Higher Certificate with the option to do an Ordinary Degree and an Honours Degree.

For more information on the NFQ system check out the website www.nfq.ie or check below for an interactive fan diagram that clearly displays the different levels, award types and the awarding bodies.

nfq diagram

Author
Fiona Mcbennett

 

ICT Summer Camps on the Agenda for 2nd Level Students

computer courses and IT trainingAdditional funding of €2.25 Million to boost ICT Skills development has been announced, with additional summer camps for second level students being developed, as well as up to 700 additional places on ICT courses. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) will write to higher education institutions to seek proposals for three calls:

  • Additional ICT Summer Camps for second level students,
  • Additional undergraduate places on core level 8 full-time courses
  • A call for full-time level 9 MSc computing courses.

Making the announcement, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD said:
“A goal of the Action Plan for Education is to build stronger bridges between education and the wider community, support learners to make informed career choices and enhance our capacity to meet national and regional skills needs.
“We want to give student’s access to higher education people and spaces to help stimulate their interest and understanding of what computing and ICT is all about. Through summer camps students get hands-on experience of a variety of activities like programming, coding, app design, digital media, web design, gaming and robotics. This can help children develop the computational, and flexible and creative thinking skills that are the basis of computer science and coding.
In 2016, the HEA provided funding to support 29 computing camps for over 1,245 students. Camps typically target transition year students and typically run for a week. Last year, 40% of participants in these ICT summer camps were girls – which is a great achievement.
We also have a target of providing an additional 700 places on computing courses in 2017/18 through the calls issuing today.”

Also speaking about the announcement, Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said:
“Through the implementation of the ICT Skills Action Plan 2014-2018 we are seeking to increase the supply of ICT Professionals to meet the continuing increase in demand for people with these skills.
Data shows that of our 2015 graduates at Honours Bachelor Degree level, Computer Science/ICT graduates are the highest earners, with 57 per cent earning €29,000 or more with 93% in employment or further study 9 months after graduation.
€2.25 million was ring-fenced in Budget 2017 to support these initiatives. The HEA is notifying the higher education institutions and the closing date for receipt of proposals is 18th April 2017.”

– See more at: http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2017-Press-Releases/PR2017-03-20.html#sthash.6aNJf2v5.dpuf

Training for the Civil Service

civil service training optionsIn 2014, Pascal Donohoe, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, encouraged graduates to consider a career in the EU civil service as he launched the EU annual graduate recruitment competition. The minister described a civil service career in the EU as an exciting and challenging opportunity and encouraged graduates to apply, stating that Irish candidates are highly sought after.

An EU position is one of many options to consider when it comes to a career in the civil service. There is no typical career path as the diverse range of roles, jobs and departments means that there is the opportunity to pursue a career that is best suited to the person’s own interests and strengths. Jobs can be based in an office, outdoors with groups of visitors or involve lots of meetings with clients. There are also opportunities to move internally within the public service and this can lead to increased responsibilities and earning potential.

To work in the civil service a candidate must have a first or second class honours degree and for EU positions, good communicative competence in an additional European language is also essential.  Specific skills needed are dependent on each area but general skills, such as problem solving, teamwork and good written and verbal communication skills, are needed across the board.

The main types of civil service jobs include a Clerical Officer, Executive Officer, Administrative Officer, Third Secretary/ Diplomat, as well as other professional and specialist roles including engineers, nurses, gardaí, psychologists, legal staff and scientists.

A Clerical Officer is often the first step in a career in the civil service. Clerical Officers work in all departments and provide a range of office duties. For graduates seeking this position, an administration course may be a good option. An Executive Officer, follows on from a Clerical Officer position and is a management role that includes project management and staff management. You can view some administration courses on offer on Findacourse.ie at the following link – http://www.findacourse.ie/admin-secretarial-courses-c13.html

The next level is an Administrative Officer and this involves policy formation through research and critical analysis and can also involve drafting material for Ministers. This role is a great opportunity for honours graduates to begin working in the civil service. Another excellent position for graduates is the Third Secretary/ Junior Diplomat who initially work in the Department of Foreign affairs and before moving to an Irish Embassy or consulate.

The Public Appointments Service is the centralised recruitment provider for jobs in the civil service. The website www.publicjobs.ie is the main access route for those interested in a job in the public sector and candidates can access a list of positions available, the qualifications required and job details.

Author: Fiona McBennett

Oracle Certification

oracle coursesOracle has been leading the development of database software for over thirty years and has changed the face of business computing. Oracle certifications are highly regarded for their standards of excellence and expertise within the IT industry and at a time when the demand for IT professionals is high and the competition for jobs is strong; now is a perfect time to consider a certification that will provide an advantage.

Employers are looking for candidates with a strong skill set and knowledge of their field that will allow them to perform their best and benefit a company. With an Oracle certification, a candidate shows that they have a high standard of training that is industry recognised. The facts and figures speak for themselves; in an OCP survey of the thousands of certified members 97% reported that they had benefited from the certification, 96% said that they would recommend the programme to a colleague and 89% reported that they gained confidence in their expertise after their certification.

From an employer’s perspective the results are positive too; according to a study carried out by International Data Corporation, employees who had gained a certification handled 40% more calls than non-certified staff, companies who encouraged certification reported 49% less downtime and most of the companies surveyed reported that the savings from increased employee effectiveness paid for the certification fees in under 9 months.

Oracle offer a wide range of courses and in five different formats: classroom training, live virtual class, training on demand, self study courses and private events. Both Dorset College, Dublin and Griffin College, based nationwide, offer Oracle certifications in Ireland.

Dorset College offers classroom based courses such as an Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 6 course, covering the fundamentals of Java Programming Language, which is suitable for beginners to programming and taught on an evening part-time basis. An Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer course is also suitable for beginners to Java programming and taught on a part-time evening basis. For those with some basic knowledge and experience there is an Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer course and an Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Associate course available on a part-time evening basis.

Griffin College offers a distance learning Oracle 10g PL/ SQL Course which is delivered through 3 DVDs of instructor led sessions and includes printable course work and live mentoring. The course is designed to provide the student with tools to tackle real-life business problems and is suitable for those who want to study on their own time. It is important to note that in this course, a student does not receive an Oracle certification until they have successfully completed an online examination.

View oracle Courses on Findacourse.ie – http://www.findacourse.ie/searchResult.html?keyword=oracle

For more information about Oracle Certifications visit the website: www.education.oracle.com

Author
Fiona McBennett

Limerick Youth Service Training Centre Receives Award

Limerick Community Training CentreLimerick Youth Service Community Training Centre has received a specially-commissioned award from the Minister for Education for its achievements on behalf of young people.

For the past four decades, Community Training Centres nationwide have been providing second-chance education to early school leavers, with over 100,000 young people supported in making the transition to work or further education.

Fiona O’Grady, Chair of Limerick Youth Service Community Training Centre, said,”From the beginning, Community Training Centres had, in general, three significant characteristics which they still retain today. Firstly, we are firmly rooted in our local community. Secondly, programmes are based on experiential learning with recognised qualifications. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the programme is focused on individual learner needs.”

“For many young people, when they first came through our doors they had reached a point where life’s possibilities had seemed out of reach. Some had come to feel excluded from areas of life that give us all a sense of meaning and belonging, both in our communities and in the workplace. It has been our greatest honour to be able to support so many young people in developing their skills and nurturing their talents in order to reach their full potential.””

Commenting on the 40th anniversary celebrations of Community Training Centres across the country, the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, said: “Returning to education and supporting lifelong learning are a key priority for this Government and over the lifetime of the National Skills Strategy to 2025 we aim to more than double current participation rates. For an early school leaver, the decision to return to education in a Community Training Centre offers a life-changing opportunity to re-engage in learning, to develop personal and in-demand skills, and to progress to further and higher education and to rewarding career opportunities.”

Credit: Simon Bourke – www.limerickpost.ie

Nursing – The Routes and Requirements

nursing coursesThere are a number of different nursing routes available when becoming a registered nurse. These are: Children’s and General Nursing (Integrated), General Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing, Midwifery, and Psychiatric Nursing. An Bord Altranais (the Nursing Board) is the statutory regulatory body for the nursing/midwifery profession in Ireland and it is this board that is responsible for registration of those who have successfully completed a recognised educational nursing programme.

The World Health Organisation states: The mission of nursing in society is to help individuals, families and groups to determine and achieve physical, mental and social potential. An Bord Altranais considers that the following values should underpin nursing practice: respect towards the uniqueness and dignity of each client regardless of culture and religion, trust, understanding and compassion.

There are 44 nursing/midwifery programmes in total, with over 1500 places available at pre-registration level. A number of places are reserved for mature applications and further education applicants. Each nursing/midwifery programme has two identifying course codes: Standard Code (for applicants applying based on their examination results) and a Mature Code (for applicants who are 23 years of age or over, and who wish to be to be considered for a place on grounds of mature years rather than examination results). Application is made through the CAO for both Codes.

Throughout the nursing programme, the student receives a combination of theoretical and clinical instruction. The first clinical placement occurs early in the programme, usually within three months of commencement. The theoretical component of the honours degree programmes consists of: 67% focuses on the art and science of nursing care, and 33% of the theoretical content, is devoted to the applied biological and social sciences; which are the science subjects that are taught as they apply to and inform nursing care.
nursing places Ireland
Entry Requirements:
There are minimum entry requirements which usually include: C3 in two higher papers and a minimum grade of D3 in four other papers (honours or ordinary). A Laboratory Science subject must be one of these subjects, along with English or Irish and Maths. Individual Higher Education Institutes might have other specific requirements so it is important to consult with them.

Most of the HEIs offering degree programmes in nursing/midwifery consider specific QQI qualifications as an equivalent entry route for standard code applications. In other words, your QQI qualification is converted into points to compete with other examination students. The best 8 modules are considered for scoring purposes.

QQI Level 5 courses considered for entry include:
DCHSN Nursing Studies
DCHSX Community and Health Services
DHSXX Healthcare Support
(Please note that distinctions will be required in certain modules for entry purposes.)
Mature applicants who pass the written assessment (for mature applicants only) are placed on the list for each mature course code for which he/she has applied. The overall score for the written assessment determines their position on the order of merit list for the courses they have applied for. The written assessment has four separate sections: skills/experience questionnaire, a verbal test, numerical test, and a job simulation exercise.

Further Studies: After the completion of a pre-registered programme in nursing/midwifery, graduates might wish to pursue further education in the sector. Many such opportunities are available, and An Bord Altranais has approved a number of specialist programmes. They include: Children’s Nursing, Midwifery, Nurse Tutor, Public Health Nursing, Nurse Prescriber, Advanced Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Midwife Practitioner.

Sample Courses

Certificate in Nursing Studies from Portobello Institute. This course is designed as a programme of preparatory study to enter a degree programme in Nursing Studies. Students undertaking this course can apply for a training position in General Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing, Intellectual Disability Nursing and Children’s Nursing. The course introduces the Student to the caring role of the nurse and emphasises the importance of interpersonal communication. The course equips students with the skills and knowledge to care for patients in a safe and hygienic environment. Students learn the basic principles of infection control and are taught to apply standard precautions in relation to infection control. They learn the structure and function of the human body and gain an understanding of the interrelationship between the systems of the body. They study the levels of personal development to understand the concepts of mental age and chronological age in order to be able to relate to people at a level appropriate to their needs. This course qualifies students to work as a care assistant in the areas such as: Nursing homes and Hospitals.

For Mature Code applicants, the Written Assessment Test for nursing is competitive. Kilroy’s College offer a home study course to learn the skills you need to be successful in the competitive written test.

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology offer CAO applicants a General Nursing programme. This degree will help you understand the needs of people who are in the care of nurses. It will also give you a sense of how nursing works, as well as the personal and professional qualities that are associated with effective nursing practice. You will learn why people are nursed in particular ways and how to deliver the nursing care that is required. Your academic learning and practical learning will go hand in hand and you will be encouraged to reflect on your experiences as you progress through the course. First year Modules include: Biological and Related Sciences, Social Sciences, Fundamental Nursing Practice, Personal and Professional Development, Health Promotion & Research Studies, Clinical Practice Placement and Computer Applications.

The B.Sc. Nursing (General) is a full-time four year degree programme offered by the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Limerick in conjunction with the Health Service Executive West (Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary). On successful completion of the programme students will be able to present for registration with An Bord Altranais and practise as a Registered General Nurse (R.G.N.). The course is designed to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to become confident, analytical and reflective practitioners who are able to make maximum use of resources including research in their day to day practice. The overall aim of the programme is to facilitate the development of an individual who is able to practice nursing based on a sound knowledge and understanding of factors affecting the health and wellbeing of those who require care. This knowledge will be acquired through the study of nursing, biological sciences, social sciences and related disciplines.

Children’s and General Nursing (Integrated) from UCC is a four and a half year programme. The School of Nursing and Midwifery in Cork promotes personal, professional and academic development through the provision of college and practice-based learning. The aim of the programme is to foster the development of knowledge, skills, attitudes and professional values applicable to nursing children and adults. Like all relevant HEI courses, on successful completion, a graduate is eligible to apply for a professional registration in children‚ as well as general nursing (RGN, RCN) with An Bord Altranais along with being awarded an NUI degree (if applicable).

Many of the nursing course literature emphasises the need for future Nurses to be caring individuals, who feel that they can contribute to the well-being of others with intelligence and enthusiasm. Regardless of points, if you don’t have the essential human characteristics required to be a nurse, it is futile to apply. If you do have them, you will do well in nursing.
It is a profession that calls for both intelligence and empathy; the latter being the ability to understand what another person is going through, and the ability to respond appropriately. Being empathetic makes a patient feel cared for and understood; it essentially defines this profession.

Find more health care and nursing courses by searching our Medical and Healthcare Courses section

Computer Networking Courses

networking coursesThe number and range of opportunities for skilled graduates which exist in the Computing/IT sector in Ireland has been well documented. Employers in this sector are continually highlighting the difficulties they face in filling certain vacancies. Currently, in Ireland, opportunities are outgrowing supply. Most recruitment websites are testament to this.

If you wish to specialise in a specific area of Computing and IT, Networking is one viable option. In the world of computers, networking is the practice of linking two or more computing devices together for the purpose of sharing data. Networks are built with a mix of computer hardware and programming software.

Networks can be categorised in several different ways. One approach defines the type of network according to the geographic area it spans. Local area networks (LANs), for example, typically reach across a single home, whereas wide area networks (WANs), reach across cities, states, or even across the world. The Internet is the world’s largest public WAN.

Networks are a major component of ICT (Information & Communication Technology) communication. If Networking interests you, there are many courses of offer – both via private course providers and the CAO. Most courses provide learners with both the practical and theoretical knowledge of basic networks. Participants will learn about the different components used to create a network including hardware, software and topologies.

In terms of career prospects in this specialised area; many view computer networking as one of the best and ‘hottest’ career fields available today. Some claim that a serious shortage of qualified people to fill these networking jobs exists, and these claims are luring some people into the fray hoping for an easy position with a fast-growing company.
networking courses
Courses on offer:

Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) with CMIT – this is a Distance Learning course, so it is therefore ideal for somebody already working in the sector and who wishes to up-skill.

Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) validates the ability to install, operate and troubleshoot a small enterprise branch network, including basic network security. The curriculum covers networking fundamentals, WAN technologies, basic security and wireless concepts, routing and switching fundamentals, and configuring simple networks. CCENT is the first step toward achieving CCNA, which covers medium size enterprise branch networks with more complex connections. This comprehensive e-learning course prepares students for the Cisco CCENT Certification. The course is completed online, at your own time, at a location that suits you. You progress through the course materials and complete the online lessons and tests.

Once you successfully pass the programme, you will receive a Diploma in Networking from CMIT. You may optionally take an exam to receive Cisco certification. This is assessed through a computer-based multiple choice exam (642-822).

Kilroys College run a Network+ – IT Skills Preparation course for the CompTIA A+ certification. This is also a Distance Learning course. If you are interested in becoming a Network administrator or PC Support Specialist, then this CompTIA sponsored Network+ course could be for you. It will help you prepare for the Network+ exam which will give any prospective employer proof that you possess the required technical knowledge and skills to support a network. It also gives you the perfect foundation to build on towards other IT qualifications. Leading technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Intel have identified Network+ as the perfect entry point into a networking career.

CMIT also run Windows Server Networking (MCTS) course. This is the official Microsoft Certification for Windows Server Networking 2008. This series will prepare you for the MCTS: Windows Networking exam. This exam is the only requirement to apply for the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Networking certification, and will also count toward the Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP): Enterprise Administrator or Server Administrator. .

This comprehensive e-learning course prepares students for the Windows Server Networking 2008. This course will prepare you to monitor a Windows Server 2008 system, as well as configure IP addressing, name resolution, network access, and file and print services.

To receive full Microsoft Certification you must complete the Microsoft exam. This course is assessed through a computer-based multiple choice exam (MCTS 70-642) which may be sat when students have completed the course.

Cork Institute of Technology run a Computer – Networking & Security Postgraduate course (Level 9 NFQ). This course is designed to provide the graduate student with the advanced theoretical knowledge and skills in the interrelated areas of Computer Networking and Computer Security.

Mallow College of Further Education offer a Computer Networking & Maintenance course (Level 5). This full time course is ideal for students interested in computers and how they work. It is designed to give students the opportunity to acquire the skills necessary to implement and support PC systems and networks. This course specifically prepares participants for careers in computer and network support.

Career prospects:

Several types of positions exist in Networking. The basic job titles one sees for computer networking and networking-related positions include:

• Network Administrator
• Network (Systems) Engineer
• Network (Service) Technician
• Network Programmer/Analyst
• Network/Information Systems Manager

Network administrators and managers in particular have grown fond of networking-based certifications like Microsoft MCSE and Cisco CCNA. Therefore, it is important to keep this in mind when pursuing a course in order to attain a particular position in a company or as a self-employed person in this growing industry.

View IT Training and Networking Courses on our Findacourse.ie Computer Courses Page

Montessori Childcare Courses

montessori Childcare CoursesThe Montessori childcare method applies an educational approach to children based on the research and experiences of Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori (1870–1952). It arose essentially from Dr. Montessori’s discovery of what she referred to as “the child’s true normal nature”. The teacher’s role of observation sometimes includes experimental interactions with children, commonly referred to as “lessons,” to resolve misbehavior or to show how to use the various self-teaching materials that are provided in the environment for the children’s free use. The method is primarily applied with young children (2–6), due to the young child’s unique instincts and sensitivity to conditions in the environment.

The founder of this method of teaching was a lady called Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to graduate in medicine from the University of Rome. Maria worked with disabled and mentally challenged children in the early 1900s. In 1907, she opened the Casa dei Bambini, where she taught children of normal intelligence using her methods from her research in philosophy, child development and education. She spent most of her remaining life writing, lecturing and teaching about her methods.

montessori courses in Ireland

The benefits of a Montessori education are numerous. The main goal of Montessori is to provide a stimulating, child oriented environment that children can explore, touch, and learn without fear. Each child learns at his or her own pace. Teachers are understanding and encouraging, so that the child can enjoy learning, and feel happy about her path and purpose in life. Here are some of the benefits:-

• Montessori schools teach independence from an early age. The children take an active part in running their school, like preparing and serving at the drinks break, and putting learning equipment away after they have used it. Practical tasks like sweeping, polishing, making sandwiches and tying shoe laces, are all available for children to learn on a daily basis.

• Children are not expected to conform to set standards of achievement as in conventional schools. The Montessori method takes account of the needs, talents, gifts, and special individuality of each child. The children learn at their own pace, so they are not being constrained nor criticised for what they do. There is a total freedom to learn which makes the learning fun.

• All children, whatever their abilities or interests, reach their full potential. All children fit in, including children with learning disabilities. Many children learn best in different ways, and the equipment is designed for this. For example, one piece of equipment is the sand alphabet – the letters of the alphabet in sand on card. The child traces over the sand letter with his/her finger, and then writes the letter on paper. For all subjects there are items of interest to the child. For example, for geography, not only are there books, but globes, map puzzles, pictures, and animal figures (sensory items). There are also regular visits from people, pets, animals, and different activities depending on the topic being taught.

• In a Montessori environment children are encouraged to respect and help each other. If they choose, they will work with other children, and help each other, or ‘teach’ each other, and they enjoy doing so.

• The environment of a Montessori school is peaceful and facilitates learning. Because children are happy and learning at their own pace, discipline is usually not an issue.

To find Montessori and Childcare courses in Ireland, view our Montessori Course Listings on Findacourse.ie

Pre Nursing Courses

pre nursing courses in IrelandPre-nursing programmes are designed to give a solid foundation in the theory and practice of Health Care and Nursing Care for those who intend entering the nursing, paramedical or community care service.

Pre-nursing courses have a number of different aims. Firstly, they provide foundation skills and entry requirements to access degree courses in Nursing. They develop and foster a range of personal and interpersonal qualities necessary for work in a range of care environments. They teach and emphasise the importance of creating and maintaining appropriate relationships with the client, their family, and other professionals involved in their care. On completion, graduates will have acquired specialist knowledge, skills and competence in the role of the care assistant.

Principal Areas of Study:

Nursing Studies Course Modules
Introduction to Nursing
Anatomy and Physiology
Human Growth and Development
Care Skills
Work Experience
Communications
Health and Safety at Work
Social Studies

Irish based pre-nursing programmes are designed to prepare students for academic programmes in the nursing sector and/or employment in the health sector as a care assistant.

Holders of a QQI Level 5 pre-nursing award may be in a position to apply to UL, NUI, UCC, NUI Galway, and the Institutes of Technology for entry to the first year of Nursing Studies Degree Programmes (through the Higher Education Links Scheme). A distinction in 5 modules in the  Level 5 course, is required, which must include a Distinction in: D20001 (Anatomy and Physiology), D20012 (Introduction to Nursing), and D20032 (Human Growth and Development) or C20006 (Biology).  A reserved number of places are allocated to applicants presenting with QQI qualifications. Places are allocated on a competitive basis. The best eight modules, at a single sitting, are considered for scoring purposes. Of course, there is also the option of applying for other related Health Studies degrees in Universities and Institutes of Technology in Ireland and various colleges in Britain, like Social Care and Health Promotion.

Most course providers require a Leaving Certificate standard or equivalent and an English language proficiency test where deemed appropriate.  The College Registrar for the Nursing Studies course will discuss and advise you on the course details and career options. Mature students with relevant prior experience may be exempt from the above requirements.

Most Nursing Studies programs are delivered over one academic year and work experience is usually a mandatory part – where students are given a chance to blend classroom theory with hands-on practical experience.

A number of PLC course providers and private colleges offer pre-nursing courses, the courses are usually named Nursing Studies courses and are at level 5 on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), some of these are listed below:

Dunboyne College, Meath

Moate Business College

St Louis Community School, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo

Dorset College Dublin

Portobello Institute, Dublin

In an age where some people are reluctant to commit to a four year program, (especially if they are unsure of their suitability or the future employment prospects) a pre-nursing course is an ideal way to sample a course and a work environment to ascertain your compatibility. At the end of the academic year, even if you do not wish to pursue a nursing career, you have a certificate, that entails many valuable transferable skills, that you can take into other career areas related to health care and community work.

View the following link for some Pre-Nursing course listings on Findacourse.ie – www.findacourse.ie/nursing-courses-s19-28.html

PLC Courses as a Route to Third Level

plc coursesThere was a time, not too long ago, when your Leaving Certificate grades and the points that they translated into determined whether you would become a third level student, go directly into employment or head for distant shores. Thanks to the Further Education system, more options have become available for those leaving secondary education or those wishing to return to education.

Today many view the PLC (Post Leaving Cert) route as their alternative stepping stone into Higher Education Institutes. At the end of your studies it doesn’t really matter the method of entry, but the qualification and experience gained in the process.

Who is the PLC route for? Many argue it is for those who are more practical than academic. Not necessarily so anymore! As year after year, many entrants into the PLC sector of education also have the offer of CAO courses. Some PLC students don’t want to commit to a 3 or 4 year course in a third level institution until they have actually experienced or studied a similar Level 5 or 6 certificate course. PLC courses can assist students in making a more informed decision prior to further commitment.

There are PLC courses that prepare you for specific further study as well. Courses such as Nursing Studies, Art-portfolio preparation and Pre-Engineering courses are some of the examples. Some students attend a PLC college in order to have a second opportunity to score higher points than they got in their leaving cert.

plc courses in Ireland

Whatever the reason for doing a PLC course, you will find over 1400 further education centres registered with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland – Formerly FETAC). The distinctive feature of further education is its diversity and breadth of provision, and its linkages with other services such as employment, training, area partnership, welfare and community and voluntary sector interests. Further education and training programmes typically have a vocational or work focus and reflect national, regional or sectoral economic needs. An element of work experience and job preparation is inbuilt into all programmes, which are essential components for students who wish to enter the employment market. PLC courses are not just aimed at the student leaving school but also at adults retuning to education.

The buzz word these days is ‘progression’. Many PLC/FE courses lead to QQI Level 5 and 6 awards, and in some cases you can progress with this award via The Higher Education Links Scheme or The Pilot Scheme to a third level course in a variety of higher education institutions including universities, institutes of technology and even private colleges. The Higher Education Links Scheme facilitates progression to specific third level programmes whilst the Pilot Scheme allows you to compete for CAO places alongside leaving certificate students. Most Higher Level Institutes now reserve a quota of places for QQI graduates. If you look at the National Framework of Qualifications you can place yourself according to your level of education on the framework (. From your starting point you can go from one level to the next should you wish to do so. One level becomes a ladder to the next.

The National Framework of Qualifications is now the single structure mechanism for recognising all education and training in Ireland. All framework awards have an NFQ Level (1-10) which tells you about the standard of learning and an NFQ Award-Type which tells you about the purpose, volume and progression opportunities associated with a particular award. A key element of the NFQ is to improve access (entry) to education and training, transfer within and between education and training and progression within and between education and training. (see www.nfq.ie for further information)

National Framework of Qualifications

NFQ Diagram – Fan diagram showing the 10 certification levels and overlaps within the National Framework of Qualifications – see www.nfq.ie for more details.

In order to progress with your QQI award – it is important to remember that applicants must have obtained a full QQI major award. Many students who complete a level 6 programme have been successful in gaining advanced entry to year 2 of a relevant programme in The Institutes of Technology. Some FE colleges even have individual progression agreements with their local IT, affording students access to a specific number of reserved places. Links with the UK have developed over the years between individual colleges and specific universities in the UK.

Further education courses are open to those with a Leaving Certificate or an equivalent qualification. It is recommended that students check individual course entry requirements. FE courses are also open to mature students subject to Leaving Certificate standard of education or suitable life/work experience. It is important to keep in mind that some of the most popular courses fill up by April each year. Some courses also require that you attend for an interview.

It is worth keeping in mind the fact that there has been a decrease in the numbers of mature students applying to third level colleges and an increase in those accessing further education at QQI Levels 5 and 6. Guidance Counsellors have also noted the increase in students making both PLC/FE and CAO applications each year.

The PLC/FE route may not be part of the third level system but it certainly has as much credibility as an education option and it continues to go from strength to strength.

To see more details on PLC courses and further education courses, check out the following link – www.findacourse.ie/further-education-plc-ireland.html

Accounting Courses

accounting and payroll trainingWhether you want to balance your own books or launch an international fraud investigation, accountancy is among the most practical skills for everyday life and can also be an important and rewarding career.

Generally, accounting is the process in which the financial information of any organisation is communicated. Management accounting reports financial information to people involved with the day to day running of businesses in order to make management or operating decisions. Financial accounting provides information to people outside the business including information to shareholders, banks, and government agencies. Financial accounting is heavily regulated by both local and international accounting standards and laws.

All accountancy courses, regardless of level, will develop the quantitative, computational, and analytical skills required within this discipline. Introductory courses in accounting concentrate on the basic managerial and financial accounting concepts. For example, those offered at Community Schools such as the Old Bawn Community School focus predominantly on bookkeeping for either individuals or small businesses and include tracking debits and credits, balancing accounts, and tax office returns such as VAT, PAYE, and PRSI returns. Many private colleges also offer introductory courses.

Kilroy’s College offers a distance education diploma course for beginners in accounting and bookkeeping that focuses on practicalities such as understanding ledger accounts and business planning. Kilroy’s College also offer several courses that focus on accountancy for specific employment groups such as the self-employed and farmers.
Accounting courses in Dublin and around Ireland

The Portobello Institute in Dublin offers the ACCA Accounting Technician Certificate course that spans full-time over two years, includes one year of work experience, and culminates in the CAT qualification. Graduates with this certification are typically employed as accounts or wages clerks, accounting assistants, sales ledger clerks, tax assistants, or accounts manager. CAT can be used as an introduction to the accountancy profession or as an accelerated route to the ACCA Professional Qualification.

Although it isn’t always necessary, many accountants have degrees. A three or four year programme in accounting will build upon the introductory concepts. Topics of study may include information systems; including information flow in electronic information systems, and electronic financial transactions. Differences between management and financial accounting concepts are investigated, and there is emphasis on, among other topics, financial transaction analysis, preparation of more complex financial statements, legal requirements, professional ethics, as well as tax concepts and tax planning strategies.

Some degree programs specialise in specific areas such as Griffith College in both Cork and Dublin, which offers a three year Accounting and Finance degree and in the later years concentrates on the impact of EU Law on accountancy. Each of the Universities offers degrees in accounting and offer opportunity for specialisation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

If you are more interested in the payroll aspect of accounting or if working in this field then Payroll training courses may be a more suitable option. The Irish Payroll Association (IPASS) is Ireland ‘s premier provider of Payroll Training, PAYE Training, PRSI Training, VAT Training, qualifications and is the only representative body for payroll professionals in Ireland. Courses are offered countrywide and take place at several intervals throughout the year.

While accounting graduates commonly work in financial services, marketing and administrative fields, career opportunities can be found in every corner of the globe, at every level of business, and in every specialty. Anywhere there is a business, institution, government body, or volunteer organisation there is a need for accountants. Students who successfully complete accounting courses can expect a wide range of opportunities in this field.

To see a wider list of accounting and payroll training courses, you can use the following link; www.findacourse.ie/business-accounting-courses-c3.html.

Getting into Java

java programming coursesMany of us associate the word ‘Java’ with coffee and coffee houses. However, if one was to scan through any number of job sites – Java is a frequently occurring word in the list of job vacancies.

So what is Java? Created in the early 90s for Sun Microsystems, it is the underlying technology that powers state-of-the-art programmes including utilities, games and business applications. You might not know this, but Java actually runs on more then 850 million personal computers worldwide, and on over a billion devices including mobile and TV devices. Java in essence is a programming language and computing platform. It provides more interactivity and security.

Why do we need Java? You might have learnt this the hard way as lots of applications and websites won’t work unless you have Java installed. So from the lap-top you are in front of right now, to your game console, to your Iphone, to the internet – yes like coffee it’s everywhere and we all need it at some stage!

Why else would you want to learn more about Java? Perhaps you question how computer programs work? Maybe you would like to write your own computer programs or design/develop websites. Would becoming proficient in Java help you gain a new skill or help you advance in your current career area? By learning the Java Programming Language – you are literally learning a new language and different sets of instructions that will tell a computer what to do. Just like you won’t be able to help that tourist speaking a language unfamiliar to you – a computer won’t recognise the instructions you give it unless you learn its language. Java is just one example of a computer language – one that can be read and written easily by people. Like any other language it has rules that determine how it is to be written in order for the computer to understand and execute the instructions.
IT Training and computer courses
Back to ‘Java’ jobs! Your job Java search will turn up titles like: Java Developer/Programmer, Web Service Developer, Technical Architect. All these jobs work on application development, design and coding.

So if you like what you have heard so far and are interested in learning more, the next step is to find a suitable course for you! Here are some examples of course providers:

Limerick Institute if Technology offer a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in software development. This programme has been widely endorsed by industry and focuses on software engineering and software development techniques (including Java). This degree programme produces highly skilled graduates who are ready to meet the needs of modern IT companies.

Pitman Training Ireland have a new Software Development Diploma which allows participants to choose between the MTA and Java paths.

IBM Education Ireland offer an on-line self-paced virtual course in Java Programming. This course is designed for people with little or no Java Programming experience.

Dorset College in Dublin has a range of Java programming courses catered towards part time and full time learners.

The Fitzwilliam Institute Group offer a Post-Graduate Diploma in Java Enterprise Web and Distributed Programming with Sun Certified Java exam preparation module. The aim of this course is to provide learners with skills, knowledge and competencies to be able to write and design sophisticated professional programs using JAVA. This particular area of JAVA is used world wide by large companies. This course will be of particular interest to anyone who wishes to develop a career in Internet & Web Programming.

Solas also offer various related courses – contact your local Solas office for further information.

So whether it is out of personal interest or for career reasons you can’t go wrong in learning and becoming competent in Java programming.

Find IT Training and Computer courses on Findacourse.ie >>

50,000 Apprenticeship and Trainee Registrations by 2020

Solas Apprenticeships IrelandThe Government’s Plan to expand apprenticeships and traineeships in Ireland  was recently launched in Piranha Bar, a creative digital studio producing commercials, films and animated content in Dublin City Centre. The plan aims to deliver 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship registrations by 2020. Piranha bar will be running one of these programmes – an exciting new traineeship in visual effects.

There are currently 27 apprenticeships in Ireland, in areas such as construction, engineering and the motor sector. Other countries have a much broader tradition of apprenticeship. For example, Germany has over 300 apprenticeships, across a wide range of sectors.

Under the Plan, Apprenticeships and Traineeships will give an alternative career path for many young people. Apprentices and trainees will be embedded in enterprises and will get the chance to learn skills and get hands on experience. It will give young people the opportunity to acquire applied, technical skills within a variety of sectors, and provide a very practical grounding which will stand to them as they move through their career and take advantage of promotional opportunities. For companies, the aptitudes which will be learned by these apprentices and trainees will be invaluable. It will help exporting companies based in Ireland to scale their business, to grow their exports and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a global economy.

The plan is based on the view that in order to have a properly functioning skills development system to support a growing economy, and in order to provide career paths for people of different types of interest and abilities, we must develop a stronger pipeline of apprenticeships and traineeships. Higher education institutions alone will supply a portion of our skills needs, but there is a need for stronger alternative routes and alternative sources of the different types of skills that a growing economy requires.

The Plan will accelerate the delivery of new apprenticeships and traineeships:

  • Roadmap with annual targets for the number of new Apprenticeship and Traineeships up to 2020
  • Clear 10 step path for the development of new apprenticeships and Traineeships
  • 2017 call for new Apprenticeship and Traineeship proposals to refresh the existing pipeline
  • Details of how state agencies, education and training providers and employers will work together
  • Enhance collaboration between the three education agencies SOLAS, HEA and QQI, in liaison with the Department of Education and Skills
  • Proactively engage with employers and enterprise to secure buy in and engagement with the apprenticeship and traineeship routes
  • Strategically build capacity within the education and training system, in the areas that include curriculum design, quality assurance and enterprise engagement; and mechanisms to underpin expansion with robust, ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
  • Launch an apprenticeship web portal; Enhance national IT systems and supports for apprenticeship underway to support connections with employers and apprentices nationally
  • Run a Promotional campaign, to target SMEs and FDI, guided by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the regional skills fora.
  • Review patterns of participation in apprenticeship and traineeship by groups in apprenticeship, including female participation; identify any barriers existing, and makes recommendations for the future.

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, the first of the new programmes developed through the Apprenticeship Council’s first call for proposals, launched in September 2016 and an Industrial Engineer Apprenticeship commenced in November 2016. 13 further new apprenticeships are due to launch later this year in various sectors including medical devices, polymer processing and financial services.

A campaign to promote apprenticeship is currently being developed by SOLAS in consultation with key partners, including the Apprenticeship Council. The campaign will raise awareness and promote the value of apprenticeship for individual apprentices and for employers and it will cover both existing apprenticeships and the new apprenticeships now coming on stream.

For more information visit the SOLAS website at www.solas.ie

Paper Versus Computer Screens

books versus computer screens for learningComputers and the internet play a huge part in learning nowadays. Online courses, online lecture notes for students and research material for essays are just some of the reasons behind the rise of computers in education.

But is our increased use of computers affecting our quality of learning? Would we be better sticking to traditional books and paper? Researchers at the Children’s Digital Media Centre in LA set out to answer these questions in a series of studies and the results were interesting.

The studies, based on sixty six students, examined three questions; what medium the students preferred to work with, if their memory and reading comprehension was better on paper or screen and which medium was better for critical thinking when essay writing.

Sixty of the sixty six students said that they preferred to study with paper than on the computer but when scientists tested this, the results showed that there was no difference in reading comprehension skills or memory after reading on paper or on screen, even when the students were allowed to multitask. Multitasking, however, did mean that the students took longer to read.

The scientists also found that there was no difference between reading source materials for essay writing online or on page. Even though the students felt that their essays would be better when they had researched on paper instead of the internet, the quality was the same for both paper and online research.

These results were only applicable to when the students did not have access to the internet, once the students went online and multitasked, the results went down. However, when students took notes from the internet using a pen and paper, results improved again.

While the internet and computer screens do not appear to hamper our learning dramatically, the way we read on the internet could be affecting our quality of reading. Cognitive neuroscientists have warned that humans are beginning to develop ‘digital’ style brains that skim through information and are unable to read slowly.

In the US, at the time of the study, time spent online was expected to be around five hours per day for the average adult; a three hour increase from the previous year. It is this time spent on the internet and on social media that has trained our brains to skim sentences for buzz words and has left us unable to read long pieces of writing as we are scrolling and scanning through pieces instead of reading.

This habit of jumping through text is bad news for studying, as we need to be able to absorb what we are reading in order to be able to learn. Maryanne Wolf, a cognitive neuroscientist at Tufts University, recommends having a balance between reading from books and on screen and advocates taking breaks from the computer to have time to read a book slowly.

So, when it comes to absorbing what we read, it appears that having a balance of both the computer and books is advisable.The old fashioned method of jotting down key points onto paper from online or digital sources is a good way of merging old and new, and try to stay away from social media when studying as this encourages the skimming style of reading mentioned above (feel free to use it to share this article though).

Author: Fiona McBennett