QQI Launches National Student Engagement Programme

student engagement in decision makingThe launch of the National Student Engagement Programme was recently announced by Dr Padraig Walsh, CEO of Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). In doing so, he highlighted the value it can represent for enhancing student involvement in higher education institutions.  Dr Walsh also identified the corresponding benefits for higher education institutions themselves: “it can equally build their capacity to facilitate high quality student engagement”.

The National Student Engagement Programme is commencing immediately with a pilot project. The participants in the pilot were selected following a Call for Proposals issued by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), QQI and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The aim of the pilot is to develop tools and resources that can be more widely applied to improve student engagement practices. The call was open to all higher education institutions with students’ unions (affiliated to USI or otherwise) and a relationship with QQI and/or the HEA. The successful institutions were, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT), NUI Galway, the National College of Ireland (NCI) and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT). The institutions will participate in the pilot in partnership with their students’ unions.

Dr Walsh underlined the importance of the collaborative approach taken to the project to date: “QQI and the USI have been working together on the development of the National Student Engagement Programme since 2015. The HEA is co-financing the initiative and will actively support its implementation. A working group will be established to oversee the pilot project and will of course include representation from the higher education institutions participating in the pilot project. In addition, the working group will include representation from the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (NFETL) and the Project Manager of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE)”. He also identified that the breadth of involvement in the project reflected the national interest in the topic and the enthusiasm for the developmental and concrete nature of the initiative.

The National Student Engagement Programme will be further and greatly supported by the appointment of a National Student Engagement Coordinator. Ms Cat O’Driscoll has now taken up this role and her previous experience as VP Academic Affairs & Quality Assurance of the USI is expected to be very beneficial to the project. In addition, Student Partnerships in Quality Scotland, sparqs, has been engaged to advise and assist on the development of the programme and Ms Eve Lewis, Director, has provided input to the programme’s design.

QQI and USI worked with the HEA and the higher education institutions and representative bodies in the development of the report Enhancing Student Engagement in Decision-Making which was launched by Tom Boland, CEO of the HEA, on 14 April. The National Student Engagement Programme is referenced within that report and Dr Walsh emphasised that its implementation will be directly informed by the principles for effective student engagement that the report is seeking to embed.

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Engineering Your Future Event at IADT

IADT, caoThe Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin are hosting an engineering ‘taster’ event, primarily for transition year students who may wish to see what a future education in engineering may hold for them.

The course team for IADT’s BSc in Creative Media Technologies (CAO Code: DL835) is running a three day workshop under the STEPS to Engineering/Engineers Ireland programme ‘Engineer your Future’ from Wednesday 18th May to Friday 20th May 2016.

This three day workshop will suit students who have an interest in Physics, computing and electronics and an enthusiasm for music and video technology.

The cost for the workshop is €35.  You can book your place here: http://steps.ie/Students/Engineering-Your-Future/IADT-2016.aspx

The workshop is free of charge for students from DEIS schools local to IADT (please check with your guidance counsellor if you school is one of them). These studnets wuill not be required to complete their booking on the web link above, but will be required to complete a registration form. Please email elena.somoza@iadt.ie for this form.

 

Should you have any query on this workshop, please do not hesitate to contact Elena Somoza at elena.somoza@iadt.ie

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Further Education – Recent Trends and Statistics

plc statsQuality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has recently published details of QQI awards achieved by learners in 2015.

The information shows the popularity of Further Education (including PLC courses) in recent times and analyses details such as age-bands, gender, provider-locations, award types and levels.

The new infographics system in use by QQI is an impressive tool which displays the information in graphic formats which make for easy display and analysis. More can be seen at http://infographics.qqi.ie/

The data published shows that in the previous year;

  • 278,236 learners achieved QQI awards
  • Over 220,000 achieved minor awards*
  • Over 37,000 achieved major awards**
  • Almost 19,000 achieved Special Purpose awards***

*Major awards are the main class of award made at a level, for example the Leaving Certificate, the Advanced Certificate or the Honours Bachelor Degree. There are 16 major awards in the Framework which can be viewed on NFQ.ie.
**Minor awards provide recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific combination of learning outcomes required for a major award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace to meet their own needs.
***Special-purpose awards are made for very specific purposes. An example of a special-purpose award is Driving – Heavy Goods Rigid.
Supplemental awards are for learning which is additional to a previous award. They could, for example, relate to updating and refreshing knowledge or skills, or to continuing professional development.

Some more statistics are outlined below.

Gender

Gender participation was quite equal overall between male and female students, with females edging it at 51%. This varied in different locations (For example Cork had a greater imbalance with 61% female participation) and also varied by field of study (For example Health and Welfare courses had 87% female participation).

gender

Field Breakdown

The fields of study breakdown show that Services was the most popular field studied in 2015. This was largely swayed by the numbers studying the QQI level 5 minor award in Occupational First Aid. This course is required by many employers and there were over 26,000 awarded in this field of study in 2015. Other popular minor awards included agriculture courses such as Pesticide Application and more generic modules including Communications and Work Experience.

Popular major awards fell mostly in the Health and Welfare field, with the three most popular major awards being Healthcare Support level 5, Early Childhood Care and Education level 5 and Nursing Studies level 5.

Business and Administration was another popular field of study. The numbers here were largely distributed between many minor awards. Most popular of these were QQI level 5 Word Processing, level 3 Computer literacy and level 5 Payroll Manual and Computerised. The most popular Major awards in this field were level 5 Office Administration and Level 5 Business Administration.

qqi-field-study

Award Numbers

The numbers achieving further education awards in 2015 stood at 278,236. This was a 9% increase on the previous year. It was also the first increase in numbers since 2010 which saw record levels of over 340,000 entering further education, coinciding with the recessionary years post-2008.

further-ed-numbers

Award Type

By far the most popular award level was the Minor award with just under 80% of the total (221,632 awards). Major awards (mostly PLC courses) numbered 37,253 (just over 13%). Special purpose awards numbered 18,888.

further-ed-award-type

Age Group

The 20-24 age group continued to dominate as the most popular age-band achieving further education awards. However it is interesting to note that awards for this age-band dropped 16% from the previous year, whilst awards for the 15-19 age band jumped hugely by 154% from 11,157 awards in 2014 to 28,369 awards in 2015.

further-ed-age

Locations

Unsurprisingly, Dublin City with it’s high population ratio, achieved the highest number of further education awards with the numbers coming in at  68,555 awards. Cork City showed 16,271 awards and Limerick city 9,685 awards. The most surprising statistic perhaps was the high number of awards for North Tipperary which showed 11,364 awards for 2015.

plc-courses-county

Overall the Further Education sector shows healthy numbers. 55,577 students sat their Leaving Cert in 2013, 56,990 in 2014 and 57,929 in 2015.
26,756 PLC students received a QQI Level 5/6 Major award in 2015 so this is a significant portion of third level students entering the Further Education system and successfully completing a PLC course.

Higher Education is of course still the route of choice for most second level graduates with HEA statistics showing 42,264 first year entrants in 2015. This is almost 73% of school leavers entering the hgher education system. However the higher education system also has a higher dropout rate with an Irish Times article showing that one in six students did not progress to second year between 2012 and 2014 and up to 80 per cent of students in maths-related courses failed to progress beyond their first-year in college.

For more information on Further Education statistics view the QQI Infographics and statistics system on QQI.ie. More information on Higher Education can be viewed on the HEA statistics page on http://www.hea.ie/node/1557.

To view Further Education and PLC courses on Findacourse.ie, view our Further Education and PLC Courses Page.

 

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Sligo IT in New Pathways Collaboration

sligo collegeA new educational partnership, which aims to enhance the third level opportunities for Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) course students in the North West region has been established at IT Sligo.

The collaboration aims to identify and map the pathways from Further Education (FE) programmes in the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education Training Board (MSLETB) into IT Sligo programmes.

The initial partnership with Sligo College of Further Education strives to promote interaction between programme teams in IT Sligo and specific PLC programmes and is made easier by the colleges’ geographical proximity to one another in the Ballinode area of Sligo.

“We are neighbours so it makes sense that we give PLC students instant visibility of the third level programme they can progress to at IT Sligo,” said Professor Vincent Cunnane, President of IT Sligo. “It’s a win-win situation for both institutions, and especially for the students of this region.”

Several Further Education Colleges offer courses specifically designed to allow students to build skills and knowledge to prepare them for third level courses in institutes of technology and universities. These include pre-science, computer science, pre-nursing and liberal arts. There are currently approximately 700 courses on the CAO that will consider any further education courses for entry.

Welcoming the new agreement, David McGuinness, Principal of Sligo College of Further Education said: “The main benefit for our students will be the progression route to IT Sligo. It’s a natural fit. A lot of our students come do us to do post-leaving certificate courses because they want to progress to third level. This seems like a natural opportunity for us”.

Project co-ordinators from IT Sligo’s three main Schools of Learning – Engineering & Design, Science and Business & Social Sciences – are liaising with SCFE programme co-ordinators to identify specific PLC programmes around which the pathways project can be based.

While Phase 1 of the collaboration focuses on Sligo, work has already started on extending similar partnerships across the region’s Further Education colleges.

Resources

Sligo College of Further Education Website
Sligo IT Website

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Findacourse April 2016 E-News

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter April 2016 E-Bulletin
Education NewsTeaching Becoming Unattractive For Graduates
Education News
The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that reduced pay and low hour contracts are resulting in the teaching profession becoming increasingly less attractive to the country’s best young graduates. The union believes that due to more secure employment options in industry, it will become considerably more difficult for schools to attract teachers in an increasing number of subject areas unless salaries are equalised.

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Featured Educator Kinsale College of Further Education
Featured Educator
Kinsale College of Further Education provides a range of Post Leaving Cert courses. Courses provide exciting education options at QQI levels 5 and 6, opening new opportunities for training and work. The college has modern purpose built facilities to accommodate students across a range of study areas. Study topics include Art, Business, Childcare, Drama, Media, Fitness, Healthcare and more..

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Featured Courses
Event Management Diploma

Event Management Diploma, Tuesday 6th April

Ever thought about running your own Event Business part time or full time? CMI College offer an exceptionally good event management course which covers every aspect of how to run indoor and outdoor events, and creating a unique event from concept through to completion. The lecturers are industry experts and have worked on the Web Summit, and leading tourism events across Ireland. Join up today and complete this course in just 3 months, one night per week from Dublin city centre or online.

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Indian Head Massage

Indian Head Massage, Swords, Co. Dublin – 17th May

Indian Head Massage is a relaxing treatment applied to the head, neck, shoulders and arms. It reduces muscle tension, stimulates circulation and helps alleviate headaches and eye strain. This Course teaches a specific connect-in technique which is applied to the shoulder, neck and arms, mobility work on the scalp and acupressure points on the face and ears.Approximately 75% of the course time is devoted to practical techniques.

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BA in Creative Music Production

BA in Creative Music Production, IADT – CAO Course

This unique programme with IADT is run in collaboration with the Sound Training Centre, Temple Bar, Dublin, and will be taught in what are widely regarded as one of Ireland’s leading commercial recording studios. This course will help you develop the creative and technical skills for a successful career in the music or new media industries. The Sound Training Centre, its associated recording studios and its 800 capacity venue (the Button Factory) and graduates continuously work with some of the world’s most famous artists

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Best Practice in Risk Assessment and Safety Inspection

Best Practice in Risk Assessment and Safety Inspection, 1 Day Course – 11th April

Risk assessment is the keystone of the safety management process providing the foundation on which all effective health and safety performance is based. Risk assessments should be performed by competent personnel, involve the personnel whose work they apply to and legally must be written down. Best practice involves a five-step process the first of which involves identification of hazards posed by materials, equipment, chemicals and work activities.

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Category Focus Admin and Secretarial
Featured Category
Interested in becoming a Legal Secretary or Medical Secretary? or maybe you just want to pick up some skills such as Dictaphone Typing or to become more adept at Call Handling and Customer Care. If so then check out our Secretarial and Admin Course Category for courses in these areas. You can also check out our Office Skills Articles on our Articles Page.
Featured Article Fitness Instructor Courses
Featured Article
It has been said that if you can turn a hobby or passion into a career – you will never work a day in your life. With an increasing amount of Irish people becoming health conscious and more fitness focused, there is also a growing percentage of sports enthusiasts looking to leisure, sports and fitness as a potential career path.

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College Open Days
Open days can be a great way of evaluating a college and getting a flavour of what you can expect in term of facilities, location and class tutors. See a selection of upcoming open days and open evenings on Findacourse.ie

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Upcoming Open Days
upcoming courses
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Pitman Training Courses
Findacourse.ie, BSM Building, Parkmore Business Park West, Galway
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Teaching Becoming Unattractive For Graduates

tui-teachingThe Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) has warned that reduced pay and low hour contracts are resulting in the teaching profession becoming increasingly less attractive to the country’s best young graduates.

The union believes that due to more secure employment options in industry, it will become considerably more difficult for schools to attract teachers in an increasing number of subject areas unless salaries are equalised.

Ahead of its Annual Congress in Killarney, TUI is calling for salary equalisation over as short a timeframe as possible. The alternative will see a drain of the best young graduates away from the profession at a time when they are most needed.

Speaking recently, TUI President Gerry Quinn said:

‘We are hearing with increasing frequency that schools are struggling to attract new teachers in certain subject areas. Graduates who had intended to undertake a masters in teaching and, increasingly, qualified teachers across a range of subjects are routinely finding better paid and more secure employment in industry.

Currrently, the problem is particularly pronounced in subjects such as home economics, modern languages, the science subjects and Irish. However, with the recruitment of considerably more teachers required (around 3,500 new full-time positions) over the next ten years at second level due to rising student numbers, the situation will spread across all subject areas unless the profession is made more attractive.

This is a damaging legacy of discriminatory, reduced pay rates for new teachers and a rampant casualisation of the profession. While the salary scales of all new entrants to the public service were targeted, reductions in teachers’ pay were far greater than what applied to most public servants.

Those who entered the profession from February 2012 have been placed on a severely reduced starting salary which sees them generally earn 21.7% less than those appointed prior to 2011 (based on a contract of full hours).

As if this wasn’t bad enough, for several years now second level teachers have been applying for fractions of jobs with no guarantee of being retained from year to year. Such teachers experience income poverty, often struggling and sometimes failing to pay the rent. 30% or more of our second-level teachers are employed on a temporary, part-time basis, and that this proportion grows to 50% for those under 35.

It is little surprise that graduates who now qualify in certain disciplines/subjects are reluctant to undertake the required additional two year postgraduate masters in education (at a cost of around €10,000 in fees alone) when they can earn considerably more in industry, start work two years earlier and enjoy full hours, better job security and promotional prospects from the start of their career.

For a range of compelling educational, economic and social reasons, the quality of teachers entering the profession must be maintained. Key to this is a return to equal pay for equal work. TUI urges that salary equalisation occur in as short a timeframe as possible. The alternative will see a drain of the best young graduates away from the profession.

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ESB Apprenticeships

esb apprenticeshipsESB Networks Ltd carries out the construction, maintenance and operation of the distribution and transmission electricity network in the country. This includes sub stations and the overhead and underground infrastructure that bring electricity to Ireland’s 2.3 million domestic, commercial and industrial customers. In this mission ESB Network Technicians carry out diverse roles combining exceptional technical expertise and the ability to deliver results even in physically demanding outdoor environments.

ESB Networks Ltd also services and maintains a large fleet of light and heavy goods vehicles at various ESB locations throughout the country.

The majority of the apprenticeships this year will be electrical with a small number of HGV mechanic apprenticeships.

Candidates must be over 16 years of age on 1st June 2016. Training will commence in Autumn 2016.

Educational Qualifications
Candidates must have obtained the following minimum standards at the time of applying:

Junior Certificate (Ordinary Level)
Grade C or higher at Ordinary Level (or Grade D or higher at Higher Level) in the Junior Certificate (or equivalent) in the following subjects :
1) Irish or English 2) Mathematics 3) Science* 4) Any 2 other subjects

* If you have not obtained the required grade in Science, Grade C or higher at Ordinary Level in any one of the following subjects is acceptable: Technology, Art Craft and Design, Technical Graphics, Materials Technology (Wood), Home Economics or Metalwork

OR

Leaving Certificate
Grade D or higher at Ordinary Level in the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) in the following subjects
1) Irish or English 2) Mathematics 3) Science Subject** (Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physics & Chemistry) 4) Any 2 other subjects

**A Grade D or higher in any of the following Leaving Certificate subjects is acceptable: Art, Construction Studies, Design and Communication, Graphics, Engineering, Home Economics, Technical Drawing and Technology.

Closing date is April 4th.

View More Details and Application Form

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Getting into Advertising

advertising and marketing coursesHow many times have you watched a commercial and said: ‘I could do better than that’? How many times have you passed by a billboard and found yourself commenting on the use of colour, model or product. Advertising is an area that many people have an opinion on, but only a small percentage of these commentators follow on these opinions with study and specialisation in this area.

So, which group do you fall into? The couch commentator or the person who professionally wants to play a part in delivering promotions to the public. An advertiser usually hires an advertising agency or a professional freelancer to help them identify prospective customers, create the advertising, buy the broadcast (television, radio) time and print space (magazine, newspaper, and outdoor) to carry the advertising work that consumers see in order to sell their product.

First things first, you have to be creative, articulate, confident and have that ‘outside of the box thinking’ – depending on which section of the advertising business you want to specialise in. If the creative side of advertising is not you – and if you don’t see yourself as a copywriter, a creative director or art director; there are plenty of other types of people involved in a successful ad campaign that don’t actually create the ads. Account executives, traffic managers, media co-ordinators, media directors, researchers and other ‘non-creatives’ work in the advertising industry. These people are just as crucial to a client’s successful ad campaign as the creatives who develop the campaign’s concept. For example: as an account executive, your role is to liaise between the client and the creative department.

At the end of the day, advertising is salesmanship. It can make the difference between business success and failure. It is a cost-efficient way of telling buyers what is for sale and what the product’s features are. Advertising is art and science, show-business and just plain business, all rolled into one. And it employs some of the brightest and most creative economists, researchers, artists, producers, writers, and business people in the country today.

It is well known, that an advertising campaign can make or break a company/product. Think Hunky Dorys, some years ago they ran a serees of ads featuring scantily clad women in GAA colours – even those who weren’t into the product talked about an advertising campaign that captured attention, imagination and controversy. That campaign garnered phenomenal amount of free editorial and radio time for the product – what every advertising agency wants to ensure client satisfaction.

Breaking into the business isn’t easy. Most jobs in advertising require a college degree. Internships and related work experience can be helpful. Retail selling experience is also excellent preparation.

advertising courses

There are a number of colleges and course providers that you can turn to, in order to break into this competitive world:

The ICI Advertising program designed in conjunction with industry leaders helps you learn the skills you need to succeed in advertising/marketing quickly and conveniently. This is a Distance Learning course which will help you fast track your career into the Advertising Industry

The Communications and Management Institute run part-time diploma programmes offering nationally and internationally recognised awards. The Diploma in Marketing, Public Relations, Sales and Advertising is a highly rewarding course which is designed for individuals with no prior experience in these areas. It is also suited to marketing, public relations, sales or advertising executives who wish to upgrade their qualifications. It is an excellent choice for anybody interested in adding new skills and qualifications to their CV or who wish for a career change or to gain employment.  84% of graduates have gained employment or a promotion as a result of doing the course. Unlike standard courses, this course has double accreditation and successful graduates will receive an International  ICM Diploma in Marketing, PR, Advertising & Sales and a national Marketing Communications FETAC level 6 Component Award.

There are also a number of CAO courses, where Advertising forms part of the programme. One of these is the four year program on offer at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght. The BA (Honours) in Advertising and Marketing Communications is an Honours Degree (NFQ level 8). The content has been designed after in-depth consultation with industry leaders and academic advisors in Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Yes, it’s true, you can make a lot of money working in advertising but not everyone makes the cut! A majority of people working in the field started at the bottom rung of the ladder, interning for free, possibly even making minimum wage just to get their start in the industry. Remember, you might not get that office with a view, straight away.

Having a qualification in advertising could take you into many different fields and exciting careers apart from working for Advertising agencies. You could also gain employment in Public relations agencies, Marketing departments or perhaps work in-house for a magazine or retail chain.

The advertising Industry is one of the most exciting industries to work in – provided of course, that you stand the test of time to make it into your area of interest, and perhaps to a prestigious office with that all-important view!

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March 2016 E-News Update

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Education NewsThe Difficulties Of Choosing the Right Third Level Course
Education News
Recent research has shown a high dropout rate of one in six students within the first year of their third level course (HEA report). The reasons behind this attrition rate are not as clear cut as they seem with many students dropping out not due to lack of ability but due to dissatisfaction with their chosen course. While it is not unknown for students to switch courses mid-stream or decide that third level education is not for them, it appears that student’s discontent with their chosen course is the more pressing concern.

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Featured Educator Stillorgan College of Further Education
Featured Educator
Stillorgan College of Further Education is a specialist centre for Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) and Further Education courses. It has developed an enviable reputation for its delivery of Further Education and Adult Education programmes. The college is hosting an open day on 9th March for anyone considering PLC courses in South Dublin..

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Featured Courses
Supervision in Early Childhood Care QQI Level 6

Supervision in Early Childhood Care QQI Level 6, Distance Learning

This distance learning course teaches the key skills to effectively supervise and manage an early childhood education setting. The objective of this QQI accredited childcare course is to provide students with opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to effectively supervise an early childhood education and care facility. The course aims to promote good practice, equality and respect for diversity in early childhood education and care.

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Platinum Personal Trainer Course

Platinum Personal Trainer Course, Dublin, Cork, Galway – March 28th

The Platinum Personal Training package is designed for those who want a complete package to work in any gym or travel the world. The aim of this program is to give you all the tools needed to get the head start in interview and get you working as soon as possible. This course package takes 17 weeks + one week examinations. Two days per week. 10:00 – 4:30pm. (Evening options also available) 3 qualifications received.

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French Level 1

French Level 1, Dublin City, March 7th

For absolute beginners (students who have no previous knowledge of the language). The Sandford Language Institute has been running courses in French since 1989. The tutors are native speakers and qualified teachers, teaching the communicative use of the language and making it as relevant as possible to every day situations. All of the main language skills of Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of language (Grammar) are developed in class.

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Java Programming Certificate Part Time

Java Programming Certificate Part Time, Dublin City – 5th March

The Certificate in JAVA Programming Special Purpose Award is designed to produce graduates with detailed knowledge and understanding of intermediate and advanced concepts in procedural and object-oriented software development and Java programming. Upon successful completion the programme, students are awarded the QQI level 7 Award: Certificate in Java Programming. (Special Purpose Award)

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Category Focus Computers and IT Training
Featured Category
From PC Basics for those unfamiliar with computing, to typing skills and Microsoft training for those wishing to advance their IT skills, and Web Design & Programming for those interested in a specialist career in Information technology. Why not check out our IT Training Course Listings for a full list of courses available in this field or see some Computer Training Articles in our articles section.
Featured Article Higher Education Links Scheme
Featured Article
In 2013, FETAC (now QQI) introduced a wide range of major awards with new features, many of which provide links to higher education through the CAO. These awards are part of a national awards system for further education and training known as the Common Awards System (CAS). A major award reflects a significant amount of learning and creates an opportunity for progression to higher education.

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College Open Days
Open days can be a great way of evaluating a college and getting a flavour of what you can expect in term of facilities, location and class tutors. See a selection of upcoming open days and open evenings on Findacourse.ie

College Open Days ››

Upcoming Open Days
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Pitman Training Courses
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The Difficulties of Choosing The Right Third level Course

third level choicesRecent research has shown a high dropout rate of one in six students within the first year of their third level course (HEA report). The reasons behind this attrition rate are not as clear cut as they seem with many students dropping out not due to lack of ability but due to dissatisfaction with their chosen course. While it is not unknown for students to switch courses mid-stream or decide that third level education is not for them, it appears that student’s discontent with their chosen course is the more pressing concern.

Education at higher level is now viewed as necessary for a successful career. Aspirations have changed throughout the years and while it was once common place for education to cease at secondary school level or even before, participation in third level education is now available to most students completing secondary level. While many socio economic circumstances have contributed to secondary level attrition rates, non-completion of third level education has in the past, largely been ascribed to lack of ability and poor performance rather than to any deficits in the course suitability.

Third level education entry criteria were traditionally based on an elitist model that benefited some students to the exclusion of others. The CAO points system means that only the highest performing students on points allocation will achieve places in the most popular courses. This also allows colleges to be selective about the students they enrol. By selecting high performing students on sought after courses, there is a good probability that those students will succeed on that course as demonstrated by their grades and CAO points. This however fails to take into account the suitability of these courses for those high points scorers. Whilst it is important to demonstrate the ability to study and succeed in exams, it is also important to have a genuine interest and ‘leaning’ towards the course chosen for third level study.

For a universal system, individual aptitude as well as ability needs to be taken into account to direct the student to the right course that suits their skill set and is meaningful to them. Students who are following the course that suits them are far less likely to drop out as their satisfaction levels and motivation will be high. A framework that guides students towards the right course and evaluates the skills learned along the way is essential to directing the student toward completion of third level education. If a student does decide not to progress with a given course, the framework should assess and validate the skills learned to date and guide the student towards a more beneficial course within or between colleges.

The Further Education sector seems to achieve more than the Higher Education system in terms of suitability and progression options. Students are eligible for a wide range of level 5 courses on successful completion of their Leaving Cert. They can study this course for one year with progression routes then available to several similar level 6 courses. Work experience is usually included so that students can ‘test the water’ before progressing further with their chosen area of study. Students can then decide whether they wish to enter the labour market or progress onto Higher Education. Progress to third level from further education can be either through advanced entry into the second year or through the CAO system into first year. This alternative route to third level is helpful to students who may not achieve enough leaving cert points for their chosen course, or are returning to education as a mature student. However it may also be a good route for those who wish to try a particular area of study for a year before continuing with studies either in this area or switching to an alternative route.

For students choosing third level courses the plethora of options may lead to some rash decisions. The important thing to remember is that satisfaction with area of study should play a large part in any decision making. It will be more rewarding to succeed in studies that mean something rather than continuing the points race onto third level and beyond. If undecided where study interests may lie then perhaps consult a guidance counsellor or complete some online aptitude tests to help in deciding the direction of interests and abilities. Always place your favourite courses at the top of the list regardless of your predicted points tally, as Nelson Mandela once said ‘May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears’.

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February 2016 E-News

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Education NewsAdvancing Skills, New Apprenticeship Opportunities
Education News
Third level education is viewed as the conventional route towards a successful career, but there are other routes to fulfilling careers as defined by a recently launched report. The new National Skills Strategy brings a long overdue alternative path to career options by setting ambitious goals of 50,000 training and apprenticeship places before the decade’s end. Bringing the vocational and apprenticeship path into the 21st century will ensure Ireland is aligned with other countries who have established high status vocational options in education.

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Featured Educator Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Featured Educator
The Institute of Art, Design and technology in Dun Laoghaire offer a range of interesting and career focused programmes in a range of creative and technology based subject areas. The college offers a wide range of evening courses in addition to the large selection of third level and postgraduate options.

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Featured Courses
Medical Secretary Diploma

Medical Secretary Diploma, Nationwide Locations

The medical profession is a challenging sector where discretion, patience, sensitivity and an unwavering eye for detail are essential skills. This Medical Secretary Diploma is a comprehensive training course that will teach you all the vital skills you need to act as a link between patient and doctor. On the medical secretary training course you’ll learn to integrate the theory of highly technical medical terminology and complete a complex array of administrative and technical tasks.

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Health & Safety Legislation

Health & Safety Legislation,

Irrespective of the business of a company or organisation it has a statutory obligation under the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to organise its operations to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of its workforce.This one-day course will enable participants to identify the implications of the Act and the associated General Application regulations and understand the nature of their health and safety responsibilities.

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Part Time Beauty Therapy Diploma

Part Time Beauty Therapy Diploma, Galway City

This Part Time Beauty Therapy course starts on 6th February 2016. It will be held every Saturday from 9.30am – 4.30am. This course leads to qualifications with international examination bodies ITEC and CIBTAC. Georgina Price offers this course three times per year – February (Saturday) – May (Monday) – October (Monday, choice of full day or Monday and Tuesday evening).

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ITEC Kettlebell Instructors Course

ITEC Kettlebell Instructors Course, 12th January, Dublin, Galway

Litton Lane Training will host a Kettlebell Course in Dublin City University (DCU) Sports Complex and in Galway City in the upcoming weeks.The course is open to fitness enthusiasts and fitness professionals working in the industry.Course Content includes – Course introduction – History of kettlebell training – Safety and back care – Benefits of kettlebell training – Key concepts of kettlebell training technique…

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Category Focus Childcare
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The demand for high quality childcare continues to increase in Ireland and graduates in this sector are entering a flexible career with a wide range of placements to choose from. A level 5 Fetac award in Childcare could facilitate employment in creches, nurseries, playgroups and similar. For more details about Childcare courses view our Childcare Courses Category on Findacourse.ie or view our Childcare Articles Page at the following link – Childcare Articles
Featured Article Choosing a CAO College
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With 7 universities, 14 Institutes of Technology, 5 Colleges of Education and various Independent Colleges to choose from; the CAO list of colleges can be overwhelming when you are trying to make a decision. Let’s have a look at some things to remember when you are making your decision that will help make the process of choosing that bit easier.

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College Open Days
Open days can be a great way of evaluating a college and getting a flavour of what you can expect in term of facilities, location and class tutors. See a selection of upcoming open days and open evenings on Findacourse.ie

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Advancing Skills – New Apprenticeship Opportunities

new apprenticeships IrelandThird level education is viewed as the conventional route towards a successful career. However there are other routes to fulfilling careers as outlined by a recently launched report. The new National Skills Strategy brings a long overdue alternative path to career options by setting ambitious goals. These include 50,000 training and apprenticeship places before the decade’s end. Bringing the vocational and apprenticeship path into the 21st century will align Ireland with other countries who have established high status vocational options in education.

Historically, Irish apprenticeships have been mostly within the construction sector. During the Celtic Tiger boom times, there were almost 30,000 apprentices within this sector. Needless to say the ensuing crash caused a huge reduction in apprenticeship opportunities.

The overhaul of the system is timely considering that a recent Irish Times Report showed that one in six students are not progressing beyond the first year of third level education. Clearly, this contributes to the youth unemployment statistics of 20%. While there has always been a very high level of successful graduates from third level, over 40% of them are working in areas unrelated to their chosen college course.

At the same time, in an improving economy, there is a growing emphasis on skills to push the recovery onward. Widening the scope of the apprenticeship and vocational options will be one strand that can aid progress and provide attractive opportunities in areas such as IT, Science and Engineering.

Significant input and support from industry will be required and there must also be access routes back into education for the students following the apprenticeship options. One of the key points from the report is a recommendation for more alignment across further education and higher level education.

A new National Skills Council is aimed at bringing education and industry together. Directors will be appointed soon and this set up along with the other changes will align the worlds of education and industry more closely together.

The Further Education and Training Authority (SOLAS)) has reviewed the successful Swiss model of apprenticeship where the participation of 15 to 19 year old’s in apprentice schemes is 70%. However, this is a very different situation to Ireland, where a change of mind-set will be required. Traditionally, children from more affluent areas have progressed to third level courses regardless of whether they are suited to that level of education.

The decline in apprentice numbers from circa 30,000 in 2007 to just over 5,000 in 2013 shows that confidence has been lost in apprenticeships as a viable option. The message to be delivered is to demonstrate the clear cut progression of career development and academic achievement that can be attained with the new schemes. Apprenticeships are to be addressed not as internships or on-the-job training but as concentrated learning for specific occupations.

SOLAS are hoping that apprenticeships, by giving students learning and work experience, will result in a reduction of ‘dropouts’ from college. To support apprenticeships, there is a fund of €10 million, but there is also a need for sustained stakeholder investment which will include educators, central government and employers. Guidance counseling will be critical in schools to encourage the take up of the new opportunities. In the short term, an extra two hours per week per 100 students is to be implemented.

Apprenticeship Changes

Apprenticeships are associated with practical and technical careers in various areas: engineering, motoring, construction, electrical and printing. This year, new apprenticeships across 25 industry sectors will be launched. Software development, catering, travel, medical devices, warehousing, and plastics are just some of the options available. Apprenticeships will also be on offer at third-level as well as training and further education establishments.

Apprenticeship vs College

Many of the new apprenticeships will include college-based lectures. The higher education pathways will have intensive off job training, therefore the differences between apprenticeships and college courses will not be so marked.

Payment

Employers are responsible for paying apprentices and will set their own pay scales. Industry norms increase as the apprenticeship progresses and more details on some of the various industry norm rates can be viewed at – http://www.fas.ie/en/Allowances+and+Grants/Apprentice+Wages.htm

Application Process

This is currently a work in progress with the first apprenticeships under the new scheme due to come on stream in September 2016. Information will be rolled out to schools and guidance counselors alongside a proactive campaign.

The prospect of improving the available skill sets to industry via new types of apprenticeships is an exciting one and will broaden the options for those students who are not entirely suited to a purely academic education. The opportunities are ideal to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and a desirable skill set for the growing economy.

Author: Denise Colebrooke

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College Progression Rates Favourable But Low in Some Sectors

college progression ratesIn the fourth of a series, a new HEA report A Study of Progression in Irish Higher Education published in early January this year, focuses on the progression of students from their first year of study in 2012/13 to their second year of study in 2013/14.

The report shows that 84% of full-time undergraduate new entrants in 2012/13 progressed to their second year of study in 2013/14 – 16% did not progress.  This compares favourably internationally and it is also noteworthy that that this proportion has remained stable since 2007/08.  Overall, this is testament to the resilience of a sector which has accommodated rising student numbers while staff numbers and budgets have been cut substantially.  However, the fact remains that over 6,000 students did not progress.

Progression rates varied across the sector ranging from 26% and 28% at level 6 and 7 respectively compared to 11%, 17% and 6% at level 8 in universities, institutes of technology and colleges respectively.

Of particular concern are the above average non-progression rates in the fields of Construction and Related, Services, Computer Science and Engineering. Computer Science has the highest rate of non-progression at level 8 but this varies greatly between universities (15%) and institutes of technology (26%) as well as between institutions.

As was the case in previous reports, females have higher rates of progression than males across all levels and sectors.

The report confirms that there is a significant relationship between prior educational attainment (based on Leaving Certificate points) and progression rates.  While the overall non-progression rate is 16%, this rises to 34% for students who obtained between 255 and 300 points.  Only 7% of students who obtained between 555 and 600 points did not progress to the following year of study.

Mr Tom Boland, CEO of the HEA commented that ‘While the figures are stable over time and comparable with competitor countries, they are a source of concern. Further research into the issues surrounding student retention is necessary so that by understanding the causes we can deal with them. Issues of particular interest include the connection between academic preparedness of students and student engagement with college.  The impact and effectiveness of career guidance also merits attention as do the personal issues and experiences of students that contribute to drop out.  National policy already requires that a whole post second level approach is necessary, with a strong focus on the transition from school to college; more information to students and parents on the options available in further education as well as clear pathways from further to higher education’.

The full HEA report can be viewed at http://www.hea.ie/sites/default/files/hea-progression-irish-higher-education_final.pdf.

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January 2016 E-News Update

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter January 2016 E-Bulletin
Education NewsSpring Evening Classes
Education News
Why not get your Spring off to a good start in 2016 with an evening course? Evening classes can improve your lifestyle, boost your career, or help in discovering a new hobby. The main motivation for engaging in evening courses are personal interest, enhancement of job prospects and gaining qualifications. Trying something new is not only affordable but is easily accessible through a broad spectrum of educational establishments who all offer evening course programmes beginning in January and February.

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Featured Educator Malahide Community School
Featured Educator
Malahide Community School are offering some 50 Spring time courses to get 2016 off to a good start. All the courses that were popular last September are available once again. Upholstery and Pottery are re-appearing after an absence of a few years. Early booking is strongly advised for Woodcarving and Cookery classes as these courses are usually full well in advance of the walk-in enrolment night.

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Featured Courses
Management Graduate Diploma

Management Graduate Diploma, Distance Learning

85% of people in the workplace using business skills need to think strategically and coordinate resources to maximise the potential in every task. Are you interested in acquiring strategic skills to help improve the way you currently work?. The new Management Diploma part time course at CMI allows you to take the next step in your career and realise your full potential

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Jewellery Making Course

Jewellery Making Course, Dublin

Designed and delivered by Irelands most successful Jewellery Course provider, Stacey Kemp Neilson. This 10 week jewellery course is packed full of on trend jewellery pieces to create and take home.Learn all the tricks of the trade to make, beautiful accessories, earrings, necklaces and bracelets. Try your hand at Loom Work, Bead Embroidery, Wire Work, Fine Bead Work and much more.

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Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness

Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness, 1st February

This full time course is based in Energie Fitness, Clarendon St, Dublin 2.. It is one of the best fitness facilities in the City Centre and students get a unique educational, vocational and commercial experience in this venue. The course takes place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday each week from 9.30am to 4.00pm. The next course starts 1 February 2016, The full time course is 4 months in duration.

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IT Customer Support

IT Customer Support, 16th January

This City and Guilds IT Customer Support – Customer Care (7267-402) Course is designed to enable candidates provide routine customer support to a range of Computer users. Learning Objectives include: – Providing technical information and customer support and customer service in response to customer care requirements Identifying potential improvements in the customers use of resources…

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Medical Secretary Diploma

Medical Secretary Diploma, Nationwide Locations

The medical profession is a challenging sector where discretion, patience, sensitivity and an unwavering eye for detail are essential skills. Our Medical Secretary Diploma is a comprehensive training course that will teach you all the vital skills you need to act as a link between patient and doctor. On this course you’ll learn to integrate the theory of highly technical medical terminology and complete a complex array of administrative and technical tasks

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Waste Management & Resource Minimization

Waste Management & Resource Minimization, March 2016

Many companies are unaware of the true cost of waste to their business. Implementing a structured waste minimisation programme saves on costs, in terms of wasted raw materials, energy, effort, waste disposal and handling and potential fines, as poor management can land an organisation on the wrong side of the law. It also improves the quality of the environment and an organisation’s business and public profile and heightens competitiveness.

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Category Focus Business and Accounting
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Are you interested in becoming an Accounts Technician? Maybe you would like to learn more about Credit Control or pursue a career in Human Resources. If so then check out our Business and Accounting Category for courses in these and other Business and Accounting related areas. For more information on business and accounting courses view our Business articles on Findacourse.ie
Featured Article Online Degree Courses
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Distance learning has become increasingly popular in recent years, however, the idea of distance learning is not all that new; there have been distance education programmes available in Ireland for over 25 years. These courses were print-based at the beginning, however, today it is easy to enrol in an online course, with the selection of subjects, colleges and courses, including degrees, greater than ever.

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College Open Days
Open days can be a great way of evaluating a college and getting a flavour of what you can expect in term of facilities, location and class tutors. See a selection of upcoming open days and open evenings on Findacourse.ie

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Health and Safety Courses

health and safety coursesIt may come as a surprise how beneficial a health and safety course can be both to existing employees and job seekers. Every workplace has a legal requirement to provide qualified health and safety personnel, and if it comes down to you and another candidate for a job, the expense saved on that particular piece of training might well nudge the decision in your favour. Of course, it’s a logical thing to have under your belt, too: you never know when it may be of use.

There are several areas of safety that can be studied. Depending on the size and nature of a work place, there are legal requirement in place in Ireland governing first aid, stress management, manual handling and fire safety, so these are perhaps the primary ones to consider. First aid courses are readily available through organizations like the Irish Red Cross – www.redcross.ie or the Order of Malta – www.orderofmalta.ie. Depending on the course, you might spend an afternoon learning the basics of ABC first aid and the recovery position, or you might go into much more depth, qualifying to deal with a wide range of worst-case scenarios. Of course, the longer and stronger the course, the further it’s going to get you in the workplace, though it’s always worth checking the reputation of an institution and its certification, too.
health and safety courses
Manual handling is only necessary for jobs in which you’ll regularly be lifting, and teaches how to do so with a minimal risk to yourself and those around you. In fire safety, you’ll quickly learn how to identify the source of a fire, and so respond in an appropriate way, while ergonomics deals with issues relating to how your body is positioned, and how this may cause repetitive strain or joint problems, as well as how best to avoid them.

It’s even possible to train in these areas without leaving your home (or office), with plenty of online courses available in traditional safety issues like chemical awareness, manual handling and food safety as well as more diverse and specialist topics like office ergonomics and bullying. There are a number of good places to go for online options (which, while generally less respected and – inevitably – less practical, do teach the basics well, and are much more affordable), such as Phoenix Safety – (www.phoenixsafety.ie) or Safety Ireland (www.safetyireland.com).

Many workplaces have more obscure issues to deal with, too, and it’s possible to train (or even bring in a consultant such as occupational health and safety services in issues like noise pollution, chemical exposure and even how to build your entire office within the legal restrictions, should you need to.

Health and safety courses have developed largely off the back of legislation requiring companies to comply with regulations, but there’s no reason for individuals or companies not to make use of the necessary qualifications to self promote, push staff to think in a different way, or just to make their workplace a safer place. After all, if something goes wrong, first aid training could literally be a life saver!

Use the following link to view a wide range of Health and Safety and First Aid Courses on Findacourse.ie

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