GameCraft Event, Cork Central College

GameCraft CorkWith so many computer programmers and graphic designers expressing interest and gaining employment in the field of electronic gaming, there is a huge appetite for events which offer information and collaboration possibilities in this area. GameCraft is one such event and returns this year after success in previous years.

What is GameCraft?
GameCraft is a games collaboration event designed around building the gaming community. The aim is to create events which allow game-makers to meet, share ideas, have fun, compete for prizes and most importantly make games!

The first Dublin GameCraft which took place in February of 2012 in DIT had over 120 attendees and produced more than 35 games. Since then Dublin GameCraft has gone from strength to strength with events in GamesFlá Thurles, in Belfast, and a charity GameCraft for ISPCA.

This years event takes part in St. John’s Central College, Sawmill Street, Cork City on 22nd November. Sponsors for the event include Microsoft and the Evening Echo. The days breakdown is included below..

09:00 – 09.50 – Registration
09.50 – 10.00 – Intro and theme
10.00 – START
13:00 – Lunch
19:59 – STOP
20:00 – Start judging and playing games
21:00 – Judges deliberate (privately)
21:45 – Awards
22:00 – End and socialise

Anyone interested in attending this event can contact St. Johns Central College on 021 425 5500. The event webpage can also be viewed at

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A Career in Mentoring

a career in guidanceA competent and qualified Life Coach or Mentor is a professional who helps clients navigate through challenging times (professional life, business life or life in general). People choose to go to a Life Coach/Mentor for a number of different reasons: to find their true destination, to achieve personal or professional success – in essence to actualise.

Maslow’s theory on motivation places self-actualisation at the top of what he sees as the hierarchy of needs. As a Psychologist, Maslow believed that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfilment and change through personal growth.  Maslow outlined how self-actualised people were those who are fulfilled and doing all they were capable of doing. In order to self-actualise; a person must grow, develop, or progress forward; all issues a Life Coach/Mentor can assist you with.

A professional qualification in mentoring equips graduates with many excellent people and coaching skills. It is the ideal qualification for those wishing to set up their own business but it is also a skill that is thought of highly by any employer. Having a qualified mentor in a company is a valuable asset and can often be a source of inspiration and guidance to other employees.

If this is an area that you are interested in; there are a number of courses to choose from. The College of Management and IT (CMIT) run both a Certificate and a Diploma course in Professional Coaching & Mentoring which is accredited by Institute of Leadership and management (ILM). This is a Distance Learning course which means regardless of your geographical location you can do this course without it affecting your current job, location etc.

Their advanced coaching course is suitable for those who wish to take responsibility for organisational coaching and mentoring; it is also recommended for those who wish to operate as freelance/professional management coaches and mentors. Participants will learn the relevant skills and competencies to develop coaching programmes and conduct professional coaching sessions – along with developing the necessary communication and listening skills in order to ascertain the issues the client presents with. Rapport building is another valuable skill that this course addresses. Their Diploma course leads to Level 6 award from the National Framework of Qualifications in Ireland.

CMIT also offer students the chance to study and complete a Certificate in Life Coaching. This learning/training provider recognises that life coaching is a new and rapidly growing profession. The aim of this Life Coaching course is to ensure that the coach has all the necessary life coaching skills to guide the client in order for them to reach their full potential. This course is ideal for those who are considering a career as a Life Coach. It is also recommended for HR Specialists and those responsible for managing people who wish to develop their life coaching skills. If you are a counsellor, teacher or team coach you might wish to refresh or hone your skills in this area via this course.

Yes, the demand for life coaches will continue to increasing rapidly because of today’s demanding lifestyles and careers. In fact, the International Coaching Federation (ICF) forecasts that it will become more popular in the coming years. The International Career Institute recognises that there is and will be a shortage of qualified professionals in this area. Therefore, this is the ideal time to join and establish yourself in this exciting and rewarding industry.

ICI’s life coaching course is another example of a course which gives you the necessary competencies and skills to guide people as they search for personal fulfilment in the many different facets of their life. A career as a Life Coach can be very fulfilling because you accompany another in their journey as they improve as people and put goals into place to reach their personal and professional ambitions. Essentially, a Life Coach can bring out the best in a person by enabling them to reflect on their own issues in a safe and supportive space whilst enabling them to find their own solutions and establish their own goals.

PCI College runs a range of part time psychology and personal development courses. Many of these courses may be of interest to those interested in becoming a guidance professional. For more information view their page at

A helping career is an extremely rewarding area to be involved in. Career Coaching, Life Mentoring and Life Coaching are the perfect career matches for those people who wish to become involved in supporting and directing people to their appropriate life path; to set realistic goals; and to address obstacles that are preventing them from self-actualising. Unlike counselling (whilst counselling skills are required to ensure rapport is created and the client feels listened to), Mentors and Coaches, whilst paying attention to the client’s life story, remains solution focused in ascertaining the best way to overcome obstacles to move forward and help clients to become self-actualised.

Catriona Lowry

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Learn Irish this Autumn with Conradh Na Gaeilge

Dubliners and Galwegians will have a chance to kick-start their language skills again this autumn with Conradh na Gaeilge’s 10-week Irish courses for adults starting for only €180, with further discounts available to former pupils, students, OAPs and the unemployed. The courses cater for all learner levels and run for two hours from 7.00 – 9.00pm,one night a week. The courses start on the 22nd September in Dublin and from 29th September in Galway.

Brenda Ní Ghairbhí, Conradh na Gaeilge’s Course Coordinator says: “Whether you’re a Leaving Cert student who needs to become a fluent conversationalist by April, or a parent with children in a Gaelscoil looking to practise your cúpla focal to use at home, Conradh na Gaeilge has an Irish course perfect for you this autumn!”

In light of the success of Leaving Cert classes launched in previous years, Conradh na Gaeilge is running a 10-week course for students looking for guidance on how best to prepare for the Irish leaving cert exam. The course is given by an experienced teacher who will help prepare students for the oral exam, worth 40% of the over-all marks for Irish.

For applicants to primary teaching postgrads needing to prepare for the Irish interview that forms part of the application process, Conradh na Gaeilge have a wide range of preparatory day courses to choose from. The Conradh courses give guidance and practice for the interview to applicants by means of group work, role-play and handouts, as well as a mock interview with feedback and pointers on the most common mistakes.

As Ní Ghairbhí explains: “Fluency in Irish can give prospective employees an extra edge when applying for positions, and the specific preparatory courses Conradh na Gaeilge offers for the primary teaching interview are hugely beneficial for building confidence in speaking Irish, as well as adding to your store of vocabulary.”

Conradh na Gaeilge evening courses for adults also comply with Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge syllabi, which means students have the opportunity to take exams, run by NUI Maynooth, to gain an internationally-recognised European qualification in Irish based on class material and complimented by Irish-language events.

A range of Sean Nós Dancing classes are also being offered by Conradh na Gaeilge in Galway this Autumn. Beginners, Improvers and Intermediate classes are all on offer for just 90 euros for 10 weeks. The classes are held once a week for one hour.

You can register for any Conradh na Gaeilge course online at or by contacting Máire Ní Dhuiginn at / +353 (0)1 4757401 for more information and to book your place. Additional Irish classes are also available through Conradh na Gaeilge in Ennis, Galway, Limerick, Mayo and across the country.

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Colaiste Ide, Late Vacancies

colaiste ide plc coursesColáiste Íde in Finglas, Dublin 11 is a further education college which offers a range of course options for post leaving certificate students and adult learners. The college has a number of late vacancies for students who may be interested in progression to higher education through QQI level 5 PLC courses. More details of these are outlined below..

Pre University Science Course This is a Preparatory Science Studies over one year including Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Laboratory Skills and Mathematics. In 2013 four students got in to Trinity and several others got into UCD and NUI Maynooth. This year three already have got places in Maynooth.

Accounting Technician This a professional qualification which gives exemptions from the major professional bodies. Graduates are also eligible to get onto the third year of an honours business degree in accounting at IT Tallaght. In 2013 two graduates came second and third in Ireland and in 2014 Ann Coates came first in Ireland in her final year.

Travel and Tourism Diploma This is a one year course run in conjunction with the Irish Association of Travel Agents (IATA) Students find employment in travel agencies, as cabin crew, ground crew and in car rental agencies.

Diploma in Leisure and Beauty This a one year full time course with FETAC and ITEC certifiication. Students find work in hotels, spas, leisure centres, beauticians and cruise ships.

Applicants should contact the college directly on 01 8342333

For more information on PLC Courses View PLC Feature on

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September 2014 E-News Update

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter September 2014 E-Bulletin
Education NewsAutumn Options for Part Time Learners
Education News
Autumn can only mean one thing – back to school. Even if your school days are behind you, September and October are still jam-packed with exciting opportunities to sign up to a new learning experience. Attending a part-time evening course is a great way to enhance a CV, to socialise and make friends, as well as learn something completely new. The abundance of courses available means that there is something to suit everyone.

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Featured Educator Communications and Management Institute
Featured Educator
CMI, Communications and Management Institute is a leading provider of part-time night courses offering Graduate Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Diploma and Certificate courses. Based in Dublin city centre, CMI provides nationally and internationally recongised FETAC, ICM, CIPS, CQI, NEBOSH and PMI courses in a range of key subject areas. All courses provide excellent career opportunities.

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Featured Courses
Cidesco Full Time Beauty Therapy Course

Cidesco Full Time Beauty Therapy Course, Dublin

The CIDESCO Diploma is a prestigious qualification in the field of Aesthetics and Beauty Therapy. There are over 240 CIDESCO Schools around the world teaching to the internationally acclaimed CIDESCO standards leading to the CIDESCO Diploma.

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French for Beginners

French for Beginners, Malahide, Dublin

Starts 23-9-14. This communicative course is designed to help students to progress rapidly and to learn the basics which are required in everyday situations The Tutor is Isobel Quinn-Thevenard and the cost of the course is €110

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Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy

Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy, Palmerstown, Dublin 20

Starting in October, the Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy is an international qualification awarded by ITEC. It is designed to meet the demand for highly trained therapists with skills suitable for dealing with all aspects of sports massage.

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Child Development, Fetac Level 6

Child Development, Fetac Level 6, Distance Learning

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence relevant to the theory and practice of child development when working autonomously and with others in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) settings. Course is 12 weeks in duration and is offered through distance learning.

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Category Focus Computers and ICT Training
Featured Category
From PC Basics for those unfamiliar with computing, to Microsoft training for those wishing to advance their IT skills, onto Web Design, Programming and E-Commerce for more advanced learners. Why not check out our Computers and IT Training course listings for a full list of courses available in this field or see some Computer Training articles in our resources section..
Featured Article CPD Courses
Featured Article
CPD or, Continuous Professional Development, refers to lifelong learning or continuing education. It is the means by which people advance their skills and knowledge related to their professions. In today’s competitive and rapidly changing world, taking part in a CPD course can be essential to ensure continued employment and career advancement.

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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

College Open Days ››

Upcoming Open Days
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Adapting to College Life

adapting to college life, a guide for studentsIn life and living, there is no avoiding change, and one of the biggest changes in a young person’s life is the transition made from secondary school to third level. It can be both exciting and overwhelming all at once. Like any change, it has to be managed well. If you are somebody who struggles with change; it helps to normalise it. Most people do find this change stressful and most students are feeling the very same anxiety and stress that you might be feeling as your college start date approaches.

In Ireland roughly 85 per cent of Irish students make it to second year in college, and according to Tom Boland, chief executive of the HEA: our higher institutions have done well to retain, and in some cases improve, high levels of retention of students over the past decade, even as the numbers have soared. There are many contributing factors that can predict whether a student will progress or not: money difficulties, difficulties coping with subjects and course work, whether third level education is part of their cultural background, friends, and actual choice of course.

In dealing with this change; it is good to know what to expect, so it won’t be daunting. It is also helpful if you follow certain guidelines when it comes to the following aspects of college life.

Living away from home: Yes, you have dreamed about this life for a long time: no curfews, no nagging, and no having to clean as you go! However, in reality, the familiarity of home life is often comforting when you are faced with living either by yourself or with strangers. If you do decide to go for bed-sit type accommodation, ensure you have activities and arrangements in place to ensure you do not become isolated. If you are moving into a house with strangers, this can be daunting in itself. You will often have to cope with bad habits and bad manners along with a host of other strange and endearing ways of being. Remember, we can’t change everyone but we can change how we react to their ways. Hopefully, your new home and living companions will eventually become one happy family. However, don’t get put off college life if your living arrangements don’t work out; move if you have to!

Work: If you are one of the 60% of students who have to hold down a job to help fund college; ensure that your study does not suffer. Balance study, social and working life well – it is possible. There is no point earning money to get by in college, only to go and fail first year exams. So, make a study plan and stick to it.

Social Life: Yes, college life can be like one big music festival if you want it to be just that. There will be something to go to every night: concerts, house parties, clubs and the college bar, amongst others. Learning to say ‘NO’ to the occasional night out will save on cramming, guilt and your pocket. Excess consumption of drink and drugs will only serve to reduce your ability to function in college and will have detrimental effects on your body and mind. Peer pressure should be left in the secondary school yard! You are an adult now – make the sensible choices.

College Societies/Activities: This part of college life is important and more so if your friends are no longer by your side. Find a society or activity that you can become part of or take part in. The first day/evening you attend will be difficult if you are on the shy side – but being a member of any group gives us a sense of identity and belonging. It will be worth it when you make new friends along with filling out those dreaded ‘interest/hobbies’ parts of application forms one day.

Stress: Unfortunately, this is one of the main reasons students leave college. Stress often emanates from course of choice; not feeling a sense of belonging in this new environment, or money worries. Remember, you are not alone in these difficulties, and you do not have to face this stress alone. Colleges have excellent counselling services in place to support you as you navigate through a difficult period. However, to get help you have to ask for it. Stress can be manageable with support, techniques and solutions; don’t let stress build up to the point where you cannot function and the only option is to leave.

Managing Money: Learn to budget and shop as if Eddie Hobbs is by your side! A lot of the larger supermarket chains have discount sections. If people with no shortage of money are found browsing in this aisle, you should be too!! There is no shame in looking for a bargain; there is shame in wasting ‘hard to come by’ money! Work out a budget and endeavour to stick to it!

College life does bring a whole host of fears with it. In this case it is best to feel the fear(s) and do it anyway. There will be good days and yes, there will be days where you will feel challenged. Accept this part of life, accept the peaks and valleys of college life and remember that finding a balance between work and play can lead to both personal and academic success.

Sometimes admitting we need help is a sign of strength. No, we don’t always make the right choices when it comes to college or courses; that’s ok, do something about it. But try to ensure you have explored every avenue before you leave this course you worked so hard for. Lean on friends – whether your friends are a college or counties away – they are still there for you. If you have to, treat college life like a job that you have to get through until it gets easier. But know when enough is actually enough and move on to a new chapter if it is not for you. Remember 85% of students progress to second year of their college course. The other 15% most often find alternatives in other study routes or employment options.

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Postgraduate Course Choices

postgraduate course choicesThere are a lot of good reasons for choosing postgraduate study. Maybe you are working in a field that you currently enjoy but would like to broaden your career prospects. Maybe you would like to specialise and increase your knowledge in a particular field or perhaps even change direction and pursue a new career in a different field altogether. Whatever the reason you will be glad to hear that there are many different postgraduate options both in Ireland and overseas and study can be pursued on a full time or part time basis depending on circumstances.

Choosing between a research programme and a taught programme will usually depend on the area of study. Research Degrees are usually used in careers such as academia or science and demand a lot of initative, as you must do most of the work yourself. Taught programmes consist mostly of lectures and usually a dissertation is required in the final phase.

It is said that the average person will change their career six times in their lifetime. So whether you’re changing from an engineer to a journalist or a nurse to a designer, the option of doing a conversion course could suit you. Conversion Courses are taught postgraduate courses that help you to ‘convert’ to a new discipline – or a new career.

Postgraduate Courses Ireland

Distance Learning gives students the chance to study postgraduate courses from the comfort of your own home. The courses, which are studied via the Internet (and usually some class time also) are becoming more and more popular in Ireland. They are perfect for someone who may work full-time and does not have the time to go back to college. Time spent commuting to and from college can now be spent studying with this cheaper, more flexible option. ULearning offer a range of postgraduate study options by distance learning as do NUI Galway.

Almost half of all students studying postgraduate courses in Ireland are studying part-time. If you have just completed a four-year degree and want to get a full time job but still want to continue your education, then Part-Time postgraduate Study could be just for you. However, it can be time consuming and does require a lot of time and dedication. It could take up two evenings a week & may also involve weekend study.

Studying your postgraduate course in another country can be a very exciting option to consider. Nowadays, there is the option of studying in places as far away as Australia or if it’s a language your interested in then a trip to that country can be very appealing. One drawback is the expense that can be involved but the experience may be well worth considering if you can afford it.

Before deciding on a postgraduate course you should research what employers in your target sector look for – perhaps work experience rather than a postgraduate qualification would carry more weight. A postgraduate qualification can result in a higher starting salary and should ensure faster career progression.

Completing any postgraduate course can be a very good career boost and is an excellent networking opportunity. Your classmates are all interested in the same area, they often get work in related fields, you stay in touch and thus the beginnings of good work-related contacts are built.

For postgraduate course & college information, why not check out our postgraduate course listings. If you have any questions you can send enquiries directly to the colleges from these listings.

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Large Rise in Student Accomodation Rates

rents rise for studentsA recent report compiled by property website has shown that students are facing a massive rise in rental rates this year with the average rent for student accommodation in Dublin rising by 15%. The rest of the country fares little better with an average rise of more than 10% nationwide.

The website’s economist, Ronan Lyons has criticised government policies and is encouraging the government to relax the strict housing regulations and reduce the cost of construction for housing developers in order to get more housing and rental properties on the market for those entering the rental sector and seeking student accomodation.

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have published a guide for students advising on accommodation and finance during college years. The guide includes tips on finding accommodation, what to look for & avoid when renting, tenancy agreements, budgeting and more, the guide is available free of charge and cab be viewed or  downloaded at the following link –

Greg O’Donoghue, the USI Vice President for Welfare has expressed sympathy for students seeking accommodation in a highly competitive marketplace but has praised SUSI for a big improvement on the grant system this year with none of the delays so far that plagued last years student grant recipients.

Author: Shane Nicholsan

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August 2014 E-News

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter August 2014 E-Bulletin
Education NewsCollege Progression Rates Study
Education News
A recent study by the Higher Education Authority has found that 84% of full-time first year undergraduate new entrants in 2010/11 in Irish higher education institutions progressed to the following academic year 2011/12. This compares to 85% in a similar study of 2007/8 entrants. The rates of non-progression are broadly similar in both studies, even though this new piece of work looks at students who entered college as the recession began to seriously impact.
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Featured Educator Institute of Art, Design and Technology
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IADT is unique in Ireland. It is one of the 13 Institutes of Technology, but the only Institute of Art, Design and Technology. Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology specialises in creativity, entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital age set in an educational environment that values the whole student experience.
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Featured Courses
NEFPC Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Group Instructor Certificate

NEFPC Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Group Instructor Certificate , Nationwide locations
The NEFPC provide tools and strategies to get on the fast track to success as a Fitness instructor and Personal Trainer. The team of tutors are highly successful trainers in their chosen fields and are there to give more than just content from a manual. Participants will learn tried and tested advanced training techniques used by Ireland’s strongest Personal Trainers and Group instructors.
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Certificate (and Diploma) in Project Management

Certificate (and Diploma) in Project Management , Dublin
The Certificate in Project Management has given hundreds of project managers and project team members the core knowledge and skills required to deliver projects successfully. This programme covers best practice in project initiation, project planning and managing people in a project setting. Students will learn from experienced tutors, and from each other, how to manage their projects effectively and to meet the expectations of their stakeholders.

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Category Focus Languages
Featured Category
From Arabic to Vietnamese, our languages category page offers a wide range of courses from languages for beginners to more advanced course options for improvers.Check out our Languages Course Listings for more information and our Languages Articles for language learning tips and information.

Featured Article Higher Education Links Scheme
Featured Article
In 2013, FETAC introduced a wide range of major awards with new features, many of which provide links to higher education through the CAO. The new awards are part of a national awards system for further education and training known as the Common Awards System (CAS). These new awards use all the features of the NFQ.
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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
College Open Days ››
Upcoming Open Days
upcoming courses
distance learning courses
IPASS, BSM Building, Parkmore Business Park West, Galway
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College Progression Rates Study

college progression and drop-out ratesA recent study by the Higher Education Authority on college progression rates has found that 84% of full-time first year undergraduate new entrants in 2010/11 in Irish higher education institutions progressed to the following academic year 2011/12. This compares to 85% in a similar study of 2007/8 entrants. The rates of non-progression are broadly similar in both studies, even though this new piece of work looks at students who entered college as the recession began to seriously impact.

Non-progression rates vary across the higher education system. Among level 8 (honours degree) programmes, it ranges from 17% in an institute of technology (compared to 16% in 2007/08) to 9% in the universities and 4% in other colleges, (consistent with the last study). Regardless of the sector or level that a student enters, students with lower Leaving Certificate points are less likely to progress to the following academic year.

Computing non-progression rates are seen to have improved across all levels since 2007/08. Improving from 35% to 31% at level 6, 36% to 34% at level 7 and 25% to 23% at level 8.

Concern continues, however, about high levels of non-progression in construction related courses. At level 6, Engineering and Construction and Related have the highest non-progression rate at 39% and at level 7, Construction and Related has the highest rate at 40%.

The highest rates of progression continue to be amongst the profession-orientated courses such as Medicine, Veterinary and Teacher Education.

As was the case in the 2007/08 study, females continue to display higher rates of progression than males. The overall male non-progression rate is 19% compared to 13% for females. This compares to 17% and 13% in 2007/08. This shows a disimprovement in male progression.

The students are tracked using a student identification number unique to the institution. A student is deemed to have progressed if they are present in second year of the following academic year in their own institution. The study does not take account of students who transfer from one institution to another.

Commenting on the study, John Hennessy, Chair of the Higher Education Authority said,

“Internationally, we continue to perform well. We have one of the highest participation rates in higher education in the world and a very good progression rate to ensure that students complete their course. Improvements in progression in computing and science are welcome. That said, we need to understand why many students don’t make it through. There is increased emphasis by the colleges on support in first year but we need to ask are some students sufficiently prepared for college life? Do they pick the wrong course and therefore, need greater guidance at second level?”

“Behind these statistics, there are around 7,000 students who do not progress from first to second year. This has an impact on their lives but is also costly to the system.”

The National Forum on Teaching and Learning, established by the HEA, is currently examining good practice at improving progression rates.

Reproduced under licence from ©Higher Education Authority.
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CAO Offers and Acceptance Process

cao-formCAO offers and Acceptances: Things to know and consider before you say ‘I do’

Shortly after the Leaving Cert results are received, the CAO offer and acceptance stage begins. This stage of the CAO calendar of events is pretty straightforward; when guidelines, requirements, and important dates, should be kept in mind.

In relation to level 6/7 and level 8 courses; offers are issued independently. There are some applicants who may be successful in receiving two offers of places simultaneously. If you do receive more than one offer, you may make successive acceptances, but each acceptance automatically cancels and supersedes any previous acceptance(s). CAO will allow you to have only one current acceptance in the entire system at any one time. Also an offer will lapse unless accepted within a specified period. There are cases where students have lost out on courses by not adhering to the time-frames in place when it comes to accepting a CAO offer.

In terms of how courses are offered: each applicant will be offered a place in the highest of their course preferences to which they are entitled (if you are entitled to any offer in the first place). When you have been offered a place in one of you course choices, you are excluded from further consideration for any course which is lower in your order of preference than the one in which you have been offered a place. This means that while you may subsequently move upwards in your order of preference if places become available; you will not be considered for a place in a course which is a lower preference than that already offered. However, you could be offered a course which is not your first preference but you may subsequently be offered a place in a course of higher preference if such a place becomes available. This applies whether or not the earlier offer has been accepted. It is not necessary to accept an offer in order to be considered for a higher preference if it becomes available later.

As a new student about to enter higher education, it is worth serious consideration and attention. When being offered a place, the applicant will have more than likely won that place over somebody else. Essentially it is an investment in the future. This can be a three/four year commitment and that is how it should be approached; as a serious commitment.

Before you make up your mind about the course you accept; familiarise yourself with every aspect of the course you have been offered and the career prospects on completion. This can be done easily by accessing course details from the relevant college website. Look at the entire content of the course as some new students get a shock to discover they will be studying various subjects within their course that they abhor or don’t have any interest in. Ask yourself ‘am I genuinely interested in this course and the career that it will lead to’. Up to 33% of first years drop out before the end of first year from some faculties – often because they did not like some of their lectures.

It is often the case that students will automatically choose whatever they get offered from their honours degree course list and dismiss a course they might have a genuine interest (if given thought and reflection) in from the  level 6/7 higher certificate/ordinary degree programme list, just because it is not an honours degree. This is quite unfortunate for a number of reasons but more so because higher certificate/ordinary degree programmes offer students the options of progressing onwards to level 8, if they wish to do so.

There are graduates today who are very definite when they admit, that in not receiving their first choice through the CAO application process, but in accepting a lower preference, that they ended up in a course they loved and subsequently in their dream job. Therefore, sometimes what seems like a misfortune can be that ‘blessing in disguise’ – even when it comes to CAO offers and acceptances.

Important dates to keep in mind:

o      Mid-August

Leaving Certificate results issued

o      18 August (expected date)

Round 1 offers

o      25 August (expected date)

Round 1 Acceptances 5:15 pm.

o      28 August (expected date)

Round 2 offers

Useful Resources

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Going Green – Environmental Courses

environmental coursesThese days it is feared that human activity is causing a lot of problems with our environment. As a result, there is a great demand for graduates to fulfil the many job roles that have been created by environmental legislation. These roles are usually involved in minimisation & prevention of pollution, waste, climate change, resource depletion and other such issues. Some departments need environmental researchers, others need planners, whilst more legally focused minds will be needed in implementing the legislation as law. Such a rewarding and worthwhile course choice may well be worth investigating further by those aiming to enter environmental fields as a career.

Environmental graduates can go on to work in areas such as emergency planning, maintenance and preservation of national parks, research collaboration, waste prevention, sustainable energy management, town planning and a large number of other careers. A good environmental course will allow you to go into any of these fields, although more specialisation may then be required to steer students towards specific fields of study.

Enviromental Geology Courses Ireland

The length of an environmental course can vary depending on the level of the course. There are a number of higher certificate course options out there, the average length of those is two years. There are also degree courses in environmental engineering and sciences and they tend to last three to four years. However there are also short environmental courses offered at community colleges, these can give an idea of what is involved and also serve to supplement knowledge. In this way participants can test the waters before committing to a more lengthy study programme or can upgrade current skills & knowledge to further career prospects.

The following institutes have a selection of courses on offer for anyone looking to get into the areas of environmental study..

1. – Trinity College Dublin – Trinity College has a Centre for the Environment and thus has a vast array of courses. They are both undergraduate and postgraduate but the research that is conducted there may just give you the career edge.

2. – The School of Natural Sciences in NUI Galway offers a range of undergraduate, postgraduate and research options for environmental students.

3. – Environmental Institute at University College Dublin – UCD offers a general degree in the environmental sciences, and it is designed to give individuals an introduction to the elements involved in it!

4. – Waterford Institute of Technology – There is a two year National Certificate in environmental engineering on offer here, which is slightly different and offers a shorter term study option than the degree courses on offer elsewhere.

5. – Institute of Technology Carlow – This institution offers a range of courses, from the one year diploma to the two year National Certificate and includes a good range of work placement opportunities.

Further Resources
View the following link for Environmental Course Listings

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PLC and Further Education Options

plc coursesIf you have finished your secondary education in Ireland and would like to develop vocational or technological skills in order to get a job or to go into further education and training, a Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course may be what you are looking for. PLC’s are often seen as just an option for school-leavers. In fact, you will be also welcomed as an adult participant.

PLC courses take place in schools, colleges and community education centres around the country. The courses are full-time and last for one to two years. They offer a mixture of “hands-on” practical work, academic work and work experience. They are designed as a step towards skilled employment and, as such, they are closely linked to industry and its needs. Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Almost 50% of the time spent on these courses is devoted to knowledge and skill training related to employment, with a further 25% on relevant work-based experience.

Over 90% of PLC courses are delivered by ETBs (Educationing and Training Boards). A wide range of disciplines are covered including business, electronics, engineering, computing, catering, sport and leisure, theatre and stage, performance art, art craft and design, equestrian studies, multi-media studies, journalism, tourism, marketing, childcare and community care, hairdressing and beauty care, applied science, horticulture etc. The Department of Education carries a list of PLC courses by county.

The qualification you receive at the end of your training will depend on the type of course you have chosen. Many of the one-year PLC courses offer QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland – previously FETAC) accreditation at level 5, while other more advanced courses may offer QQI level 6, which can lead to further studies at third level. Other qualifications such as City and Guilds are also available. It is important to check out the qualification attached to a particular course before you decide to enrol.

In general, you should have finished your secondary education and taken your Leaving Certificate examination in order to be eligible for a PLC course. However, if you have work experience relevant to the course on offer or think you can demonstrate a particular ability in that area, you should write to the college where the course will take place. Explain your circumstances in the letter and ask to meet the co-ordinator of the course.

PLC Grants
A maintenance grant scheme for which PLC students are able to apply is available. The maintenance scheme is means tested, and grants are paid along the same lines as the current third level student support scheme. Grant applications are available through SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland –

How to apply
Find the course in which you are most interested and apply directly to the school or college offering that course. Because the courses are work-related, you will probably be called for an interview before a final selection is made. These interviews are often quite informal and offer you the opportunity to discuss your particular interest in the course.

Click to View PLC Courses listed on

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CAO Choices Trend Towards Business and IT

cao choices 2014The latest figures to be released by the CAO show the main trends in this year’s college applications. One of the main trends was an increase in demand for courses in business, IT and engineering.

The figures also show that 41,897 applicants availed of the Change of Mind facility, the deadline for which was July 1st, a figure that is more than half of the total amount of this year’s CAO applicants.

The majority of changes, 38, 364, were on the level 8, honours degree course lists, with 22,007 on the level 6 higher certificate and level 7 ordinary degree courses.

The overall demand for college places is at record levels this year, with 77,725 applications in total, up 1,600 from last year. This increase it due to an expanding student population and an increase in students finishing second level education.

Last year saw business courses bounce back and the continuing trend for technology related courses reflects the current growth in jobs in the sector. Areas that suffered during the recession, such as construction and law, have seen a decrease in demand.

For those applying for medicine, entry is based on both CAO points and the HPAT aptitude test results. The HPAT gives students a good idea of their prospects and so, after the results are released at the end of June, applications for a place in one of the medical schools declines.

Applications for science, while they have been steady for the past few years, have levelled off, as have applications for teaching.

Mature student applications continue to drop this year, with just 11,000 applicants compared to 15,000 in 2010, as Springboard and other back to college courses have catered for that demand.

Round A offers were made on July 4th, these consisted of offers to deferred applicants and mature students. 7,240 offers were made, 6,232 of which were to mature students. The main section of CAO offers are to be made on Monday August 18th.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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New Awards Policy for IT’s

new awards policyQuality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) have recently published a revised policy on delegation of authority to Institutes of Technology (ITs). The policy will establish the infrastructure needed to allow ITs to create joint awards as well as allow them to validate their own research degree programmes in any discipline area at NFQ level 9.

The overall approach of the ITs when establishing these joint awards will be consistent with QQI’s approach and with the standards of the NFQ. Before a joint award can be made by an institute, the education programme and training leading to the award has to be validated by the institute against one of the NFQ’s higher education awards. This means that the learning must meet the expectations of the NFQ’s standards for learning outcomes.

Creating joint awarding involves risk, due to the involvement of multiple institutions and so diligence is required by ITs to ensure that the awards are properly recognised. It is also important that the awards are recognised in other countries where a transnational programme is involved.

A joint award, according to the HETAC Awards Council, refers to a higher education qualification issued jointly by at least two or more higher education institutions or jointly, by one or more higher education institutions and other awarding bodies, on the basis of an education programme created and/or provided jointly by the higher education institutions.

In order for an IT to make awards at NFQ level 9, the QQI must be satisfied with the institute’s:

  • capacity for maintaining an institutional strategy for research
  • ability to execute the awarding body management, functions and operations concerned with awarding research master’s degrees
  • operations and management with respect to the provision of master’s level research degree programmes and training, including a research validation process to replace the QQI’s research validation process

As a result of this new policy, ITs will implement sectoral protocols concerning joint awarding and awarding research master’s degrees. These sectoral protocols will be two high level documents, concerning joint awarding and level 9 research degree programmes, and will replace existing protocols already in place in ITs .

Author: Fiona McBennett

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