ISO Certification and Standards

iso certification coursesISO, the International Organisation for Standardisation, is an independent, non-governmental organisation, with 162 member countries. It is the world’s largest developer of voluntary international standards and facilitates world trade by providing common standards between nations. Over twenty thousand standards have been set covering everything from manufactured products and technology to food safety, agriculture and healthcare.

Use of the standards aids in the creation of products and services that are safe, reliable and of good quality. The standards help businesses increase productivity while minimising errors and waste. By enabling products from different markets to be directly compared, they facilitate companies in entering new markets and assist in the development of global trade on a fair basis. The standards also serve to safeguard consumers and the end-users of products and services, ensuring that certified products conform to the minimum standards set internationally.

The ISO develop International Standards, such as ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, but are not involved in their certification, and do not issue certificates. This is performed by external certification bodies.

What is ISO Certification?

The provision by an independent body of written assurance (a certificate) that the product, service or system in question meets specific requirements.

Why Choose ISO Certification?

Certification can be a useful tool to add credibility, by demonstrating that your product or service meets the expectations of your customers. For some industries, certification is a legal or contractual requirement.

Popular ISO Certificates

ISO 9000 – Quality management
The ISO 9000 family addresses various aspects of quality management and contains some of ISO’s best known standards. The standards provide guidance and tools for companies and organisations who want to ensure that their products and services consistently meet customer’s requirements, and that quality is consistently improved.

ISO 9001:2015
ISO 9001:2015 sets out the criteria for a quality management system and is the only standard in the family that can be certified to (although this is not a requirement). It can be used by any organisation, large or small, regardless of its field of activity. In fact, there are over one million companies and organisations in over 170 countries certified to ISO 9001.

This standard is based on a number of quality management principles including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach and continual improvement.

ISO 14000

The ISO 14000 family of standards provides practical tools for companies and organisations of all kinds looking to manage their environmental responsibilities.

ISO 14001:2015 and its supporting standards such as ISO 14006:2011 focus on environmental systems to achieve this. The other standards in the family focus on specific approaches such as audits, communications, labelling and life cycle analysis, as well as environmental challenges such as climate change.

The ISO 14000 family of standards are developed by ISO Technical Committee ISO/TC 207 and its various subcommittees.

ISO/IEC 27000 family – Information security management systems
The ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards helps organizations keep information assets secure.

Using this family of standards will help an organisation manage the security of assets such as financial information, intellectual property, employee details or information entrusted to you by third parties.

ISO/IEC 27001 is the best-known standard in the family providing requirements for an information security management system (ISMS).

There are more than a dozen standards in the 27000 family

Other ISO standards can be viewed at

View ISO Certification Courses on

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800 New Special Needs Assistant Allocations

sna assistantsMinister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, has announced the provision of 800 additional Special Needs Assistants which will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the next school year, with a further 140 expected to be allocated over the period September to December 2018, an over 7% increase on last year, in order to meet the level of assessed demand.

Following on from today’s allocation, there will be a total of 15,000 Special Needs Assistants working in schools in Ireland. This is a 42% increase on 2011, when the number of SNAs stood at 10,575. The Government now invests €524m in SNAs annually, as part of a total €1.75 billion investment in special educational needs overall. In 2011, 22,284 children had access to SNA support, with the addition, an estimated 36,000 pupils will receive such support.

In September 2016, the National Council for Special Education were requested to lead a comprehensive review of the Special Needs Assistant Scheme to identify and recommend how, in the future, additional care needs of students, over and above those needs that could be reasonable expected to be managed by teaching staff, should be met and to identify and recommend the most appropriate form of support options to provide better outcomes for students with Special Educational Needs who have additional care needs having regard to the significant amount of State investment in this area. The NCSE has submitted that full and final report of the SNA Comprehensive Review to the Department and its contents are currently under consideration.

Speaking from Leugh National School in Thurles, Tipperary Minister Bruton said:

“More children with Special Educational Needs are participating than ever before and we are investing more than ever before to support this. In 2018 the Department of Education will invest in the region of €1.75 billion in special education, almost one fifth of the entire education budget and 39% increase on 2011.

The NCSE will now proceed to notify schools of their SNA allocations for the coming 2018/19 school year and will publish details of these allocations on their website

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PLC Courses – Benefits and Application Procedures

plc courses early application benefitsWith much of the focus at this time of year being on CAO applications, it is easy to forget that there are other ways to access education after leaving secondary school. PLC (Post Leaving Cert) courses are a fantastic opportunity for those who may have an interest in a certain subject area but are concerned that CAO points may hold them back.

PLC courses are not applied for through the CAO system but instead the student applies directly to the college they wish to attend. It is free to apply and successful applicants are selected  by way of an interview. These interviews are often informal and give the student a chance to talk about their particular interest in the course they are applying for.

Many PLC courses are a great opportunity to sample a course before proceeding onto higher education. Most courses facilitate the student entering the work place on completion of study. The option will often be there for students to gain entry to Institutes of Technology and Universities with courses such as pre-nursing and pre-engineering now widely available.

PLCs are offered by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) & also private colleges. A wide range of subjects are on offer, such as theatre and stage, childcare, electronics engineering and many more. Students are charged €200 (Government Levy) a year to attend a PLC course but there are some exemptions to this such as having a full medical card or being eligible for a student grant.

The qualifications a student receives at the end of their training will be a QQI level 5 or level 6 Certificate on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications). Levels 5 and 6 are both usually one year in duration with students normally entering at level 5 and proceeding onto level 6. Many students with a level 5 qualification can take up a position of employment and may also meet the minimum requirements for some higher education courses.

A QQI level 6 course provides the student with more opportunities to continue their studies at third level. This level 6 qualification allows the holder to continue to the next level of the NFQ framework. A level 7 NFQ is an ordinary bachelor degree and allows for progression to a level 8 honours bachelor degree or higher diploma.

More information on NFQ levels is available at

Click to View PLC Courses on

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IADT Summer Courses

summer courses iadtThe Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin are running a range of short term Summer courses starting in June. The courses are from 1 to three weeks in duration, depending on the subject.

Many of the courses are aimed at pre-college students who require a portfolio of work to apply for third level courses in the creative fields. Others are open to anyone interested in art, photography or creative writing.

More details of the courses on offer are outlined below..

iadt portfolio courses

iadt animation poortfolio courses

iadt summer courses

There is a canteen service available for the duration of these short courses which serves a wide selection of hot and cold food and drink.
A materials list will be sent to students on enrolment and students must provide their own materials, except where specified.

MINIMUM AGE to enroll in IADT summer courses is 16 years of age. Participants between 16 and 18 years of age require written parental consent to participate in all courses including Life Drawing classes.  IADT reserves the right to request proof of age documentation.

Fees must be paid in full when booking. Since all places are filled on a first come basis it is not possible to reserve places on any course. However, places can only be allocated on payment of the full course fee.

For more details about Summer courses on offer at IADT, visit the following link –

You can also view a range of courses on offer from IADT on at

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Dealing with Exam Stress

exam stressEveryone gets stressed around exam time but it’s important not to let it get out of hand. A small amount of stress can be helpful in terms of motivating us to study but too much stress can stop us from performing our best. Stress symptoms include sleeplessness, poor appetite, headaches, dizziness, forgetfulness and increased irritability.

There are many ways to cope with stress:

If you recognise that you are suffering from stress it can really help to talk to someone about how you are feeling. A chat with someone who will understand the pressure you are under, like a parent, sibling or teacher, can help put things into perspective.

Try not to compare study habits with your friends. Everyone revises in a different way and it’s best to simply focus on the way that best suits you and forget about what everyone else is doing.

Making a study timetable can be a great way of making study time more productive. Instead of being faced with an overwhelming amount of work to revise, not knowing where to start, setting out clear and manageable tasks will make studying feel less daunting.

Try to eat healthily. A well fuelled brain and body will help you to study and perform better during exam time. It’s important to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit and to eat three meals a day. Have a healthy breakfast that will set you up for the day. Swap sugary cereal for a bowl of porridge for longer lasting energy.

A good sleep routine is essential when studying. Your brain cannot function at its best when it is sleep deprived. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Don’t bring your revision books to bed, give your brain a chance to switch off and get your eight hours of well deserved rest.

Exercise is a great way of coping with stress. A simple walk in the park or a run around the block will help to clear the mind and boost your energy levels. Relaxing exercises such as yoga will have the added benefit of helping you to unwind and sleep.

Simple breathing techniques can help to relax a stressed mind. Taking time out to sit and breathe in and out through the nose counting to seven each way and holding for 5 after each inhalation and exhalation, can help to calm the nervous system.

When the exam is over, steer clear of any exam ‘post-mortems’. Once an exam is done, it’s best to try and forget about it and move on.

Ultimately it is important to remember not to lose sight of life after the exams. It may feel like the end of the world if an exam doesn’t go well but there are always other routes to get you where you want to go if things don’t go to plan.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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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 or check below for an interactive fan diagram that clearly displays the different levels, award types and the awarding bodies.

nfq diagram

Fiona Mcbennett


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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

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Hair and Beauty Courses

hair and beauty courses in Dublin and IrelandHave you wanted to find a new career path, learn new skills or simply need a change? If so hair and beauty courses are a great way to not only teach you how best to take care of yourself but could also lead to supplementing your income, or embarking on a new career. One thing to bear in mind is that a lot of beauty treatments require specialist training, and if you are looking for employment in this area you may need to check that the course offers relevant certification.

The courses on offer range from beginners to advanced. Whether you’re interested in make-up and beauty, beauty therapy, nail technician courses, hair dressing, make-up artistry, massage, facials or waxing, hair and beauty courses are widely varied and you will usually be able to find one to suit your schedule and requirements. More detailed courses will delve into elements of nutrition which impact personal well being and how diet and nutrition affects beauty. You will gain an understanding of cosmetic chemistry so your services can be customized for your clients based on skin type and colouring.

Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School in Blackrock, Dublin 4, provides many beauty, make-up and Advanced courses in Dublin and is recognised throughout the Beauty Industry for superb standards, obtained through the teaching methods used as well as and adherence to standards of excellence.

St. Louis Community School in Kiltimagh, County Mayo offer a range of QQI accredited beauty therapy and hairdressing courses. They also offer part time courses on subjects such as ear piercing, tanning techniques and hair extensions.

Beauty Board College in Churchtown, Co. Dublin, has been at the forefront of innovation and excellence in Irish Professional Beauty training for over 10 years. Beauty Board were the first in Europe to launch Brows Extensions, Brows Stem Cell and Scalp Pigmentation Training. The college provides accessible, engaging training programmes, which lead to nationally and internationally recognised qualifications.

Deane Hair Academy is based in Claregate St. in Kildare. The academy started up in September 2008 and has seen many successful graduates since that time. Students on the Hairdressing Diploma Course learn the many different hair styling, colouring and cutting techniques as well as the practical side of working in a busy hair salon.

Kilroys College offers distance learning courses such as the ‘Beauty Therapy Specialist Diploma course’ and the ‘Nail Technician Specialist Diploma training course’, which would allow you to attain the skills you desire from your own home.

Colour and Image Academy in Cork and Limerick offers more in depth training with courses such as ‘Make-up Artistry Course’ and ‘Make-up Training Techniques’.

For more information on beauty courses in Ireland view where you can view a range of course providers and course information.

There are also a range of hair and beauty courses at

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University Access Courses

access or foundation courses for mature studentsAccess Courses are specially designed courses which help adult learners prepare for university. Sometimes called Return to Learning, or Foundation courses, University Access Courses equip mature students with the skills and confidence required to take the next step to selected degree courses.

Trinity College Dublin runs a Foundation Course for Mature Students. This is an access course that prepares mature students, both personally and academically, to go on and study for a degree. The course was set up in 1997 to tackle educational disadvantage. It offers another way to third-level education for mature students whose social, economic and cultural experiences have prevented them from going to college. More information about the Trinity College Foundation Course can be viewed at

University College Dublin (UCD) Access & Lifelong Learning offer Access to Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law and Access to Science, Engineering and Agriculture courses to mature students. These are Special Purpose Awards, Level 6, which equip mature students with the skills and confidence required to take the next step to a Third Level course in UCD. The UCD access courses guarantee entry to a number of degree programmes in UCD once course assessment criteria are met. More information available at

NUI Galway offers a Diploma in Foundation Studies. This Access Course is a 1 year course that aims to provide mature students with the opportunity to prepare personally and academically, for an undergraduate course of full-time study of at least 3 years duration at NUI Galway. The course is designed to meet the learning needs of the adult student and provide individual attention and assistance where appropriate. Participants who successfully complete the Access Course receive a Diploma in Foundation Studies (Level 6 30 ECTs) from NUI Galway and are eligible to apply for direct entry via the CAO to full-time University degree courses in the Colleges of Arts, Business, Public Policy and Law, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies, Science, Engineering and Informatics. In certain instances, interviews with the Department Head or School Head may also be required. More information is available at

Maynooth University runs a Certificate in Return to Learning.
This Certificate level course is designed as a stepping stone for those who wish to return to study but have not studied in any formal way for a number of years. Participants are given an opportunity to sample a number of academic subjects so that they can make a more informed choice when selecting subjects later. More information available at

Other third level colleges also run access programmes so it is worth while contacting a college of interest and enquiring if they run these programmes or other return to learning courses for mature students. A mature student is usually classified as being at least 23 years of age on January 1 of the year of entry to a course.

Access courses are usually offered on a part time basis a couple of evenings a week, and in some cases on Saturday mornings over two semesters. Students must achieve a minimum attendance rate and achieve a certain grade to proceed further. The access guarantee usually refers to the year of completion, though deferrals may be arranged in some circumstances.

Students attending access or foundation courses that are on the Department of Education’s approved list of post-leaving certificate courses may be eligible for funding under the Student Grant Scheme. However, students attending a foundation or access course in any other college or university will not be eligible for funding. An access or foundation course is considered to be a second-level course for the Back to Education Allowance. For more specific details or options regarding access courses, students should contact the university of choice or local Education and Training Board.

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STEM Post Primary Conference at TCD

npcpp stem conferenceEach year NPCpp (National Parents Council post primary) organises a Spring Conference on topics that are of interest amongst parents of Secondary Schools students.

The NPCpp 2018 Spring Conference will take place at Trinity College on 21st April from 10am to 1pm. The conference is free to the public and aims at equipping parents with the knowledge to assist students on choosing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)

Speakers at the conference are listed below..

Theresa Heffernan, Science Coordinator for the School of Education TCD will address best teaching of science subjects in schools

Karen Murtagh, Curriculum and Assessment Policy Unit for the Department of Education and Skills

Peter Jackson, Chemistry and Biology Secondary School Teacher, Author will focus on informing parents as to how they can ensure their students achieve success in STEM subjects in LC

Emily Neenan, Seismologist in Education and Outreach for TCD School of Education will discuss how she was inspired on her pathway in becoming a Scientist

Registration for the event is available at the following link –

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Erasmus+ Discovery Days

erasmus plus discovery daysErasmus+ Discovery Days for Schools is on the road in April. If you would like to know how to get involved in Erasmus+, book your place today!
Talk to Léargas about Erasmus opportunities and find out about funding that may be available to your organisation or school. Information will be available on the many types of projects that can be funded under Erasmus+ and you can begin planning your next project!

  • 10 April Galway Education Centre
  • 18 April Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim
  • 25 April Limerick Youth Service

If you are interested in attending please email Deirdre O’ Brien ( or call 01 8871217. More information about Erasmus+ is available on the Léargas website –

Discovery Days are an excellent opportunity for generating project ideas and learning about funding opportunities involving school staff and pupils. These information workshops are tailored for those exploring Erasmus+.

Opportunities Include:

  • Professional development courses for school staff in some of the 28 programme countries
  • Improved teaching and learning methods through job shadowing in other countries
  • Expand pupils’ horizons through mobility, new cultures, languages and experiences
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Learning Italian

Italian classes in Dublin and GalwayThe Italian language conveys a whole lot of emotion as Italians do themselves. This melodic language – whether used to talk or argue still sounds bellisimo! The Italians are among the most expressive and romantic in the world. So it is little wonder that many choose to immerse themselves in this wonderful language.

If you want to learn Italian you will be joining over 70 million speakers. Many will want to learn the basics of the language to make an upcoming stay in this cultural destination more enjoyable. For this purpose an evening class in Italian or distance learning Italian class may suit best. There are also many career benefits that an Italian speaker will gain access to. For this purpose a more in-depth or advanced Italian course will probably be necessary.

So, whether you want to order in Italian in an authentic Italian restaurant, have an Italian summer romance with dialogue, understand Pavorotti when his voice pulls at your heart strings or put a language under your career belt – you can’t go too wrong with Italian. No matter what your motivation – the opportunity to work overseas, cultural exchange in a land steeped in history and culture – you will unveil new worlds when learning Italian. If you have made up your mind to learn Italian or improve on what lessons you’ve already taken – ensure that you pick the language course suitable for you.
Italian courses in Dublin and Galway
Is Italian easy to learn? Yes, when you take into consideration the following:
Italian words are written in such a way that you can immediately pronounce them. As a romance language it will help if you are already familiar with another romance language like French.

Intonation can be easily learned with audio. If you don’t get the intonation right people won’t understand you.

Italian is definitely fun to learn and relatively easy to pronounce with the exception of that dreaded ‘rolled r’. But remember out of 26 letters, one ain’t bad to get your head around!

To help you get up close and personal with Italian are many helpful courses like those offered in NUIG. Their diploma course is run in the evenings. On completion students acquire a very high level of oral and written communication skills in the Italian language for personal, travel or professional purposes.

Sandford Languages Institute offer part-time courses catering for all levels and Malahide Community School through their adult education programme also offer an evening course for those who wish to study Italian for beginners.

Now let’s look at specific career areas that require a knowledge of one or more foreign languages. Jobs such as translating, interpreting and language teaching require proficient language skills. For other jobs a combination of languages and other qualifications, knowledge or skills may be needed. For example, people with languages plus IT, law, finance or sales skills are much sought-after.

There are specialist language occupations. These include working as a translator, interpreter, language teacher or linguist. For the former three you’ll need an in-depth knowledge of one or more foreign languages. Linguists don’t necessarily need to speak foreign languages, but such knowledge can be useful for them.

Whether you wish, to travel through Italy or find a job where a pre-requisite is the Italian language – having a second language like Italian will enrich your life personally, culturally and professionally. Ciao!

Click Here to view Languages Courses on

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ECDL Courses

ecdl courses in IrelandThe European Computer Driving License (ECDL) is run as a selection of qualifications, with the aim of empowering individuals and companies by teaching essential skills in modern computer technology. The courses are designed to account for anybody and everybody, from those sitting down in front of a computer for the first time to those looking to lay the foundations for a career in web design, or working with digital images. The more advanced ECDL courses even allow you to train as an IT Instructor.

ECDL courses are internationally recognised, currently running in 148 countries and 41 languages worldwide, and therefore provide a highly transferrable skill set that’s well established amongst employers as a good demonstration of necessary modern IT skills. Each course features a regularly updated syllabus that takes into account the ever-changing world of computing (the syllabus is currently on it’s 5th revision), and so won’t leave you lagging behind the times, and is taught by a highly qualified instructor who’s able to give plenty of hands on assistance.

ecdl courses

Both individuals and employees can access ECDL courses, making them an affordable way for companies to enhance the skills of its workforce as well as an exercise in personal development. While the content at the easier end of the spectrum is fairly self explanatory (using the Internet, email and common programs), the complexities of web design and system usage are targeted skills for people aiming to develop a career in – or at least a strong understanding of – IT, and targeted at individuals with an undergraduate level of education.

ECDL Courses cover the following areas:

• Beginner: Computers for beginners; Internet and Email.

• Intermediate: Essential Computer Skills.

• Advanced: Advanced Computer Skills; 2D Computer Aided Design; Website Creation; Working with Digital Images; Health Informatics System Usage.

• Professional: The standard for IT professionals; IT Training Skills.

Courses are structured in a format that first teaches the material, and then requires students to demonstrate their understanding of it in a series of modular tests (or, for the shorter classes, with a single test). Completion of a course can take anything from 8 hours to hundreds of hours, depending on both the course and the candidate’s ability.

To give an example, the intermediate level ‘Essential Computer Skills’ course requires candidates (by the completion of the course) to have a good knowledge of the use of File Management, Word Processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Web Browsing and Presentations, and comes with plenty of online practice tests and training materials to get candidates started. A typical candidate might be expected to take a few hours to complete each of the seven modules.

To examine any one of these courses in more details, head over to the downloads section of the Irish EDCL website (, where you can get hold a series of syllabi and program brochures giving an extremely thorough overview of exactly what’s on offer. The Irish office also runs a series of free, helpful seminars in order to assist HR, Training and IT managers in finding the correct course for their staff, and identifying the areas in which their business’ technological outlook needs to improve.

For listings of ECDL Courses on view the following link; ECDL Courses & Computer Training courses in Ireland

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Technological Universities Get Green Light

technological universitiesThe Technological Universities Bill has now completed all stages, in both houses of the Oireachtas and will soon be signed into law.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said, “This is a transformative piece of legislation and I am delighted that we have got it over the line. The Technological Universities Bill is a high priority for Government and will radically change the higher education landscape.
“The legislation when enacted will underpin the development of a new type of higher education institution, building on the strengths and mission of institutes of technology to develop world class technological universities.”

She went on to say “The creation of technological universities provides the opportunity to drive regional development and provide more opportunities for individuals, enterprise and the community. These institutions will have significant impact and influence regionally, nationally and internationally.

The development is part of the 2018 Action plan for education which proposes the creation of several Technological Universities, linked to industry and with the capacity to create and retain jobs in regions. The plan features hundreds of actions, including the introduction of new subjects, reviews of existing initiatives & the creation of a teacher-supply steering group to support efforts to bridge shortfalls of teachers in certain second-level subjects, and the difficulty for primary schools in finding substitute teachers.

View the 2018 Action Plan for Education at

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Further Education and PLC Options

fe-collegesFurther Education provides a viable alternative to the CAO system, in terms of courses on offer, internationally recognisable qualifications and employment prospects. This sector comprises of education and training which occurs after second-level schooling but which is not part of the higher education system.

Further Education colleges offer Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) and are run by a wide range of public/private colleges and institutions – leading to awards validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), as well as other awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies. The courses are full-time and last for one or two years. Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Most qualifications are either NFQ Level 5 or 6 (On the National Framework of Qualifications). The next steps being, Level 7 or 8, (degree/honours degree, respectively) which are available in Higher Education Institutes, and which can be progressed to to via the Further Education sector.

The distinguishing features of FE colleges are their accessibility and links to the community, employers, higher education, schools, youth groups and other services. Their focus is on courses that are reflective of the needs of the community and where they view current/future skills shortage. Most courses have modules like work experience and communications built into them, to ensure that course participants are prepared and ready for work. The educational environment and atmosphere is also unique in the sense that it is conducive to the optimum learning experience, with small class sizes, and staff that have often vast personal work experience in the area they teach or lecture in.

The Further Education sector and the demand for course places continues to grow. Students regularly opt to apply for a college place in Further Education alongside their CAO application. Application is made directly to the individual college and there is no limit to the number of courses you can apply for.
further education and PLC colleges in Ireland
There are currently over 200 Further Education Providers in Ireland. The demand for places come from both secondary school leavers; who apply to enhance their employment prospects or to progress to higher education,  and adults returning to education who may not have completed their leaving certificate. There are any number of reasons why students choose Further Education Colleges; of course, the main reasons are that FE providers can offer you that stepping stone to further and higher education, via The Higher Education Links Scheme, where specific FE courses are linked to higher education courses or The Pilot Scheme, whereby FE applicants’ results are converted into a separate points scheme, and they may be eligible for offers of places on a wider variety of third level courses.

A FE qualification is industry/service specific – therefore enabling you to target employment in areas where you are competent and qualified in.  It is important to remember that some FE colleges have their own agreed progression agreements with their local ITs. Some students presenting with certain Level 6 awards can go straight into a Level 7 (degree course) related course in an IT. UK colleges have also established links with Further Education Colleges in Ireland. If you are considering using the FE route to gain access to a Higher Education course, research what links are in place, if further education applicants are considered, and if there are reserved places on offer.

The general entry requirement is with a Leaving Certificate or equivalent or work/life experience – depending on the course being applied for. Most courses require an interview and some courses will look for a portfolio if relevant to the course being applied for. In terms of financial support – students are entitled to apply for the means tested maintenance grant.

There are an extensive range of course on offer, from Business, Art, Sport and Leisure, Child Care, Horticulture to IT, to name but a few. New courses are continually being devised and ran to reflect our changing economic environment and to address areas with skills shortages. This sector of education have become leaders in delivering courses in childcare, community care, sport and leisure, tourism along with others. Employers know the educational attainments of employees they hire when they come through this standardised system of education.  Candidates must reach a certain standard of educational attainment in terms of modules completed in order to be accredited with their QQI award.

There are numerous Further Education Colleges in various locations around Ireland. Some examples of these are listed below;

Kinsale College in Cork offers a range of PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Childcare, Drama and Acting, Environmental, Fitness and Health, Hotel and Catering, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare and more.

Dunboyne College in Meath also offers a wide range of PLC courses. The specialist areas covered by Dunboyne college are listed below..
Animal Care, Arts and Humanities, Business and Accounting, Childcare, Computers and IT Training, Fitness and Health, Hair and Beauty, Hotel and Catering, Legal, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare, Music and Sound Engineering, Personal Development, Sales, Marketing and PR, Science, Social Studies, Travel and Tourism.

St Louis Community School in Mayo has an outstanding and long tradition of providing full and part-time courses for school leavers and adults. The college offers daytime courses in 5 fields (Sport, Childcare, Hairdressing and Beauty, Business and Nursing and Health) leading to 9 Awards at QQI level 5 or level 6.

Stillorgan College in Dublin caters for school leavers and adult learners offering a range of further education and PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Computers and IT Training, Literature and Journalism, Media, Art and Design, Travel and Tourism.

Blackrock Institute of Further Education offers further education and PLC courses in a wide array of subjects such as Arts and Humanities, Built Environment, Business and Accounting, Computers and IT Training, Financial, Fitness and Health, Hair and Beauty, Health and Safety, Horticulture and Landscaping, Legal, Media, Art and Design, Psychology, Sales, Marketing and PR, Social Studies.

Portobello Institute, one of Ireland’s leading private training colleges prides itself on offering intensive post leaving certificate training to students of all ages. Established in 1981, the Institute has successfully established itself within the market place as an exceptional college choice with notable success rates. The college offers a number of full time, part time and distant learning courses covering Montessori & Special Needs, Creative Studies, Beauty Therapy, Sports Therapy & Health related studies, Business and Travel & Tourism – all of which encompass the necessary educational and life skills necessary to succeed in any of these areas.

Moate Business College in the midlands offers a lot more than just business courses. Since opening in 1991 the college have developed a wide range of Further Education courses in response to demand both at local and national level.  The College is renowned throughout the midlands for the quality of its job related courses.

All FE colleges have services, supports and facilities that one would expect from a third level provider – just on a smaller scale. Further education providers are quite holistic in their approach to education – after all their aim is to ensure candidates reach their full potential and are prepared in every way for the world of work or to progress onwards to higher education.

Whether you want to test out a career area before committing to a degree programme with a Higher Education Provider or perhaps you want to gain key transferable skills to enhance your job prospects – further education could be your answer. There are many successful professionals in the work place today who got a second chance of fulfilling their career goals via the FE system when they couldn’t reach the minimum requirements or points for the CAO requirements. Yes, there are Physical Education teachers that have come through the FE system; there are nurses in hospitals that used FE colleges as a stepping stone to their Nursing Degree. There are also many students in Higher Education Institutes studying honours degree programme or for a masters, who have come from the classrooms of further education colleges.

Further Education providers are fulfilling their ultimate educational objectives. Surveys and statistics highlight this, many graduates go directly into employment, while many others go into higher education in Ireland or abroad.

View more Further Education Colleges at the following link;

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