Win a Free Course

free courseImage Fitness Training are currently running a competition offering 3 free fitness training courses in Dublin, Cork and Galway.

These courses are worth €2400 and run for 17 weeks. The Course on offer is the NEFPC Certificate in Fitness Instruction, Group Instruction and Personal Training.

To be in with a chance to get your fitness career up and running with a top class qualification, click on the following link to send your details and enter the competition.


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Popular PLC Courses

popular plc coursesPost Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are full-time programmes available to students who have completed their Leaving Certificate as well as adults returning to full-time education. PLCs are typically run in vocational schools or in voluntary community, comprehensive and secondary schools. Aimed mainly at students who wish to develop technical or vocational skills in order to enter employment or continue to higher education, PLCs typically lead to QQI awards at NFQ level 5 and NFQ level 6.

There is a vast variety of courses to choose from and below are some of the most popular:

  • PLC courses in childcare are hugely popular and there is a generous selection to choose from, with childcare courses available in locations all over the country. Courses such as Childcare Supervision, Childcare Management, Childcare with Special Needs and Childcare with Montessori are just some of the courses that are offered in colleges such as Tralee Community College, Sallynoggin Community College and Cork College of Commerce. Most courses result in a NFQ level 5 or 6 on successful completion and provide the student with the skills to work in a range of different childcare settings such as crèche, Montessori, nanny or supervisors.
    View Childcare PLC Courses on
  • Pre-nursing PLCs are ideal for those wishing to pursue a career in nursing. In these courses, offered in locations such as Cavan Institute, Central College Limerick and Dun Laoghaire Further Institute of Education, students receive an introduction to all aspects of the nursing profession and most result in a level 5 NFQ, allowing for the continuation on to further studies. Dental Nursing PLCs are also available in Cavan Institute and Marino College of Further Education.
    View Pre-Nursing PLC Courses on
  • Hair and Beauty PLCs are a popular choice for many and there are plenty of courses to choose from, including Introduction to Hairdressing FETAC level 5 and Professional Hairdressing; both of which are taught at St. Louis Community School, Mayo. Other courses such as Beauty Therapy in Bray Institute of Further Education and Beauty and Holistic Therapies in Drogheda Institute of Further Education are also on offer. These courses are ideal for those looking for a career in the beauty industry and provide students with an NFQ level 4, 5 or 6 qualification on successful completion.
    View Hair and Beauty PLC Courses on
  • Engineering PLCs are ideal for preparing students for further studies in the field of engineering, including jobs such as an electrician, plumber, civil engineering, mechanical engineering and an electronic technician. The courses result in either a NFQ level 5 or 6 qualification and are available in St. Kevin’s College Crumlin, Wexford Vocational College and Listowel Community College to name a few.
  • There are plenty of PLCs in computers to choose from. The choice includes Business and Computers, Multimedia and Computers, Accounting and Computer applications and many more. Courses provide either a NFQ level 5 or 6 on completion and give students a solid foundation and skills to allow them to continue their education or, in some cases, enter employment. Castlerea Community School, Stillorgan College of Further Education and Sligo College of Further Education are just some of the providers.
    View Computer PLC courses on

With over 1,000 courses available in 229 centres nationwide, there is something to suit everyone when it comes to choosing a further education (PLC) course.

Fiona McBennett

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Education NewsPaper Versus Computer Screens
Education News
Computers and the internet play a huge part in learning nowadays. Online courses, online lecture notes for students and research material for essays are just some of the reasons behind the rise of computers in education. But is our increased use of computers affecting our quality of learning? Would we be better sticking to traditional books and paper? Researchers at the Children’s Digital Media Centre in LA set out to answer these questions in a recent series of studies and the results were interesting.

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Featured Educator Malahide Community School
Featured Educator
Malahide Community School is situated just outside the beautiful village of Malahide. The college caters for 1,200 second level students pupils. The school also offers adult education classes and has an extensive adult education programme which runs on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7.30 to 9.30p.m.

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Featured Courses
Business Management

Business Management, Nationwide

This distance learning course equips participants with comprehensive skills to improve their organisational and people management abilities. Students will learn how to: (1) organise company structures/teams, (2) complete internal and external organisation reviews, (3) effectively lead and manage staff, (4) manage their time more effectively, and (5) learn how to be more organised as Managers.

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Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness

Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness, Dublin City

This course is open to anybody who wants to attain a professional qualification in fitness instruction and personal training. The qualification is awarded by the University of Limerick and it is the only fitness qualification in Ireland that is university accredited. It is also recognised by the European Health and Fitness Association as well as being the only fitness qualification on the Irish National Qualification Framework.

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Category Focus Personal Development
Featured Category
A course in Personal Development can be of benefit in both personal and professional aspects of life and there are many topics included in this category. From assertiveness training to communications skills, from CBT skills to stress awareness and management. If you think you could benefit from learning more about any of these areas then check out our Personal Development Category Page for more details.
Featured Article Postgraduate Study Options
Featured Article
A postgraduate course is a qualification after a degree, such as a higher diploma or a masters. The Postgraduate Applications Centre ( website allows students to make applications for postgraduate programmes at higher level education institutions across Ireland. The website links to many third level institutions, including UCC, NUI Galway and DCU, and offers applications to courses such as Higher Diploma in Midwifery and Public Health Nursing.

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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
Pitman Training, BSM Building, Parkmore Business Park, Galway
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ITs Impress in New Education Ranking System

college rankingsStudents currently navigating their way through the vast array of third level options will be glad to know that a new online tool has been devised to help them through the process. After almost eight years of design and planning, the U-Multirank, was launched recently by the European Commission and will allow students and parents to compare the strengths and weaknesses of over 850 colleges and universities worldwide.

Sponsored by the EU, U-Multirank aims to overcome commercial rankings, which have been heavily criticised for producing selective information that in many cases has been doctored. Through this new ranking system the power will return to the students and allow them to make choices on the basis of what matters.

Ellen Hazelhorn, director of research at DIT, says that many rankings are misleading to students and that this new system will provide more useful information that will assist students in their choices. Although other evaluation tools have been introduced in recent years, the U-Multirank differs in that it allows for comparisons across areas of expertise and across borders.

The U-Multirank works by judging the institutions in 30 criteria with grades ranging from A (excellent) to E (poor). Data was taken from existing sources and combined with results from a further survey of the institutions that agreed to be a part of this first phase of the scheme.

Many universities around the world chose not to participate, including UCD and TCD. Four Irish universities (NUI Galway, UCC, DCU and University of Limerick) took part and five ITs (Dublin, Tallaght, Galway-Mayo, Letterkenny and Cork).

The findings of the system produced some interesting results. According to the U-Multirank, many of the ITs have outperformed the country’s universities. Under the categories of citation rate, number of publications, top-cited papers and international joint publications, TCD scored an A in all, UCD received two A’s and two B’s, DCU and A and three C’s and DIT two B’s and one C and D.

The ITs, however, have shown excellent marks in other categories. Cork IT received an A grade for co-publication research with industry partners and was the only third level institution in the country to achieve this grade. Tallaght IT received an A for interdisciplinary publications and was also the only institution to do so.

Not all of the results from the scheme are positive, however, while DCU scored well in links to industry and business studies among other areas, its lack of an arts department meant that it scored poorly on art related output, receiving only an E. Under the same category, Letterkenny IT, University of Limerick and DIT each received an A, with UCC receiving a B and GMIT a D.

Through the U-Multirank system, European institutes, on average, score better than American one. While this may be due to the system drawing more information from within the EU than anywhere else, the researchers behind the system say that it simply shows the imbalance in commercial rankings. Hazelhorn says that the system could be an important tool to help Europe sell education.

College Ranking Website:

Author: Fiona McBennett

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English Language School Closures

english language school closuresWith the closure of Allied Irish College in Cork, it became the fifth English language school to cease trading in six weeks. The college had sixty students registered and had only been open two months before its shock closure. The Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn has said that another two schools may also close soon.

The closures of English language schools, which mainly cater for international students requiring visas, have been as a result of a crackdown by education authorities and the government to improve regulations. Mr. Quinn said that the aim of the crackdown was to create a ‘quality education mark’ so that foreign students could be assured of the standard of these private schools.

Mr. Quinn said the problem was that the colleges attracted people outside of the European Economic Area who got visas allowing them to live in Ireland as a student as a result of attending the college but also had work opportunities. Speaking about the closures he said that there was clear evidence that the schools had been a “front to provide access to the labour market”.

Allied Irish College in Cork, the first college outside of Dublin to close, is believed to have been connected with Millennium College in Dublin, which shut down unexpectedly a week previously. Several students had transferred from Dublin to Cork after the closure. Three other English language schools in Dublin have also closed.

Hundreds of students have been affected by the closures, claiming that they have lost thousands of euros worth of fees. Many students arrived at Allied Irish Cork the morning of the closure, only to find the school had closed and the doors were shut. The Irish Council for International Students has been assisting the students by arranging support and information meetings for them. Director of ICOS, Sheila Power has said that the sudden closure of the colleges had shone a light on problems that had been known for many years.

Mr. Quinn said he and Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, have brought the matter to Cabinet and will now work on reforming the sector. He has said that a joint taskforce has been created and will meet to establish the number of students affected and to examine if alternative places can be found for them.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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GMIT and LIT Partnership

GMIT Galway and LIT Limerick allianceGalway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) and Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) have recently announced a strategic alliance that will result in improved educational opportunities for students. Dr. Maria Hinfelaar and Michael Carmody, the presidents of GMIT and LIT, signed the new agreement together with Des Mahon and Niall Green, the Chairmen, at a reception in GMIT.

The new alliance is based on the two IT’s strategic plans, regional and national skills & national policy and will connect the regional clusters of the West/North West and Mid-West into a multi-stakeholder regional cluster as visualised in the National Strategy for Higher Education to 2030. It will be jointly managed by the Institute’s Presidents.

Carmody, the GMIT President said the alliance meant that both Institutes have committed to a programme of enhanced co-operation and development as well as the development of academic programmes, research programmes and staff development programmes. Hinfelaar, President of LIT said the alliance will enhance the development of the West/ North West Regional Clusters and that it aims to respond to Government policy decisions regarding the development of interaction along the Atlantic Corridor.

Limerick IT is the fourth largest IT in Ireland and has 500 staff members and over 6,000 full-time students. The Institute has five campuses and a learning centre across Limerick City, Tipperary and Clare, with the main campus located at Moylish Park. LIT offers courses from level 6 up to level 10 as well as adult and continuing education courses. In 2008 and 2013, LIT was awarded ‘Institute of Technology of the Year’ by The Sunday Times University Guide, a guide to higher education in Ireland and the UK.

GMIT has five campuses, the Galway campus is the largest of the five and is the Institute’s administrative headquarters. The other four campuses are located in Galway city, Mayo, Letterfrack and Mountbellew. The Institute is comprised of a College of Tourism and Arts, a Centre for Creative Arts and Media, a School of Business, a School Engineering, a School of Science, GMIT Letterfrack and GMIT Mayo. GMIT also provides adult education and lifelong learning courses.

Author: Fiona Mcbennett

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College Lecture Methods Questioned

college lecture methodsAccording to a recent study from the University of Washington, Seattle, traditional lecturing methods are detrimental to students’ learning. The latest findings, published by the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, show that students in traditional lectures are 1.5 times more likely to fail than those who have been taught through active teaching methods such as group activities and questioning.

Since 1050, when Universities were founded in Western Europe, learning methods have been based on the simple concept of a lecturer standing on a stage and delivering a talk on their specialist topic, however, Scott Freeman, a biologist who led the study, says things have to change. Freeman says that methods of teaching that allow the students to become active rather than passive listeners are the key.

The study analysed 225 undergraduate STEM teaching methods and found that active teaching methods showed significant improvements in students’ grades. Individual’s exam results improved by about 6%; meaning a student could jump up a grade.

Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University and a campaigner against traditional lecturing techniques for the past 27 years, says that these results make it “almost unethical to be lecturing”. He says that the study proves that current lecture methods are “outdated and inefficient”.

Freeman advises using techniques such as PowerPoint slides, having students explain concepts to each other and random calling of students during a class, all help to engage students and improve their learning. He stated that this type of learning would help students who may otherwise fail or drop STEM courses.

This current study is not the first time traditional lecturing methods have been put under the spotlight; the introduction of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) over the past few years have changed the traditional structure by delivering classes to thousands of students online. Online learning has raised questions about whether there is a need for lecturers at all. According to a study carried out by the U.S. Department of Education, there is no difference between being lectured at online or in college.

Freeman says that while there are certain times when lectures are needed, the traditional mode of the ‘sage on the stage’ needs to be combined with more stimulating methods of teaching that will promote student learning and prepare future teachers.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Student Grant Application

applying for student grantThe student grant is the most common form of financial support for students going to college. There are two parts to the grant; a maintenance grant and a fee grant. A maintenance grant covers a portion of a student’s living costs and a fee grant can cover all or part of college tuition fees, all or part of the student contribution (a annual fee that covers student services and exams) and costs of essential field trips.

Grants are given on a means tested basis, meaning that household income for the previous year will be taken into account when a student is being assessed. If a student is eligible for a maintenance grant they will generally be eligible for a fee grant.

If you think that you qualify for a student grant then it’s best to apply as early as possible. Waiting until you have received your college offer could result in difficulties starting your course or a delay in receiving money. The application system opened on May 8th and runs until August 1st.

For the past two years, Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) have managed all first-time grant applications and some other categories. This year, they have launched a new website that is more user friendly, making it easier for students to apply.

When applying for a grant, you must state whether you are an independent or dependent applicant. An applicant who was living with their parents in October last year is considered dependent, regardless of what age they are. A dependent applicant is assessed on their parents’ income and their own. An independent applicant must be over 23 and not live with their parents. Independent applicants are assessed on their own income and, if relevant, their spouse or partner’s income.

Total income is assessed when testing for eligibility for a grant and income limits range between €22,703 and €54,240 for households with less than four dependents. The limits increase where there are more than four dependents in a household.

Once you have established what applicant you are, the next step is to log on to and use the ‘online grant eligibility reckoner’, a tool that will ask you to answer questions and, based on your answers, let you know whether or not you should proceed with your application. Applications are then made through

When applying you will be asked for your PPS number and an email address and you will have to create a password. The username, email and password used for the application will be needed throughout the application process so it is important to have them kept somewhere safe where you can refer to them in the future.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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May 2014 E-News Monthly E-Bulletin
Evening Courses Distance Learning Further Education Fitness Training Business Training Education News Featured Educators
May 2014 E-News
Education NewsBusiness Training Courses
Education News
The business studies field can be a bit of a maze, with a huge selection of courses to choose from. The choices can range from business startup on to business administration or if choosing specialist topics these can vary from business with a language or business with art or one of several other specialist areas. As business is a subject that easily pairs with nearly every other discipline, there are many more variations than in most other courses.

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Featured Educator Hi-Tech Training
Featured Educator
Hi-Tech Training is a specialist training organization catering to the electronics and security equipment industries in Ireland. The institute provides courses in the areas of analogue and digital electronics, alarm installation, cctv, IT training, safety and alternative energy. Anyone interested in employment in these areas or who might be employed in one of these fields and looking to update their skills, will find that Hi-Tech Training can provide high standard qualifications many of which are certified by City and Guilds.

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Featured Courses
Legal Secretarial Diploma

Legal Secretarial Diploma, Dublin North

Jobs in this profession are highly valued and well paid as the reliance lawyers place on their specialist secretarial support is enormous. This Pitman Training Diploma will give you the skills required for this career, from typing skills (speed and audio); to total mastery of the most common business software; to business communication techniques. Choose from a range of Legal modules such as Conveyancing, Wills and Probate, Civil Litigation, Company and Family Law.

Course Details ››

Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies

Childhood Social, Legal and Health Studies, Distance Learning

The objective of this distance learning FETAC accredited childcare course is to provide you with an understanding of social policy and legislation relevant to early childhood education and care settings, children and their families and the skills necessary for dealing with child protection issues. The course aims to promote good practice, equality and respect for diversity in early childhood education and care.

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Category Focus Fitness and Health
Featured Category
Interested in becoming a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer or Nutritionist? If so then why not check out our Fitness and Health Category on Fitness and Health articles can be seen on our Fitness Features Page.
Featured Article Lab Technician Courses
Featured Article
A laboratory technician works in a laboratory, assisting scientific and technical staff with day to day duties. Scientific laboratory technicians are responsible for laboratory-based tasks, which include sampling, testing, measuring, recording and analysing results in biological, chemical, physical and life sciences. They also provide all the required technical support to enable the laboratory to function effectively, whilst adhering to correct procedures and health and safety guidelines.

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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
Pitman Training, 28 Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Galway
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New Leaving Cert Grading System

leaving cert changesStudents sitting the Leaving Certificate in 2017 will be graded under a new system that will reduce the traditional fourteen ‘ABC’ grades to eight. This latest decision by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, is one of many changes set out for the Leaving Certificate in an effort to take the heat out of the points race.

This move means that each grade will have a range of ten percentage points rather than the current 5 percentage that can make the difference between CAO points. The old alphabetical grades A-F and the NG for No Grade will be replaced by H1 to H8 at higher level and O1 to O8 at ordinary level.

Instead of a 90% minimum for an A1 grade, 85% -89% for an A2 grade and 80%-84% for a B1, students will score a H1 for a 90% minimum and a H2 for 80%-89%. A NG grade will now be a H8 or an O8. The current use of 5 percentage bands is criticised for encouraging rote learning due to pressure on pupils to achieve small but important gains in the CAO.

Mr. Quinn said that work on the grades system is still being finalised but that it will most likely be the grading system for students starting fifth year in 2015. The next task is to convert the new grading system into CAO points and work on this is currently underway.

As well as reforming the grading system, Mr. Quinn’s ‘progress report’ published this week, also looks to address two other areas: a commitment to offer broader entry routes into third level education and the problem of predictability in the Leaving Certificate.  Student representatives and agencies involved in second and third level education have been working on different aspects of the reform plans and colleges are also involved by reducing the vast array of confusing courses available through the CAO.

Universities have promised to reduce the number of courses available in 2015 to the same amount available in 2011. There will then be a further reduction in 2017. IT’s are reviewing their courses with an aim to having an increase in common entry level programmes and a reduction in choice. The aim is to have more of a focus on more general entry routes to college with students specialising later when they have a better idea of what they want to do. Colleges are also looking at matters such as student selection, supplementary assessments and minimum subject requirements.

The predictability of the Leaving Certificate exams is being addressed due to concerns that teachers and pupils are guessing what will come up in exam papers due to patterns and trends from previous years. The group that is working on this issue has found that this is not a major issue, however, some problems have been identified and are being included as part of the reform process.

When publishing the interim report of the Transition Reform Group, M. Quinn said that he was satisfied at the progress being made and said it was the first time concerns around the Leaving Certificate were being addressed in both second and third level. The plan is to finalise all elements of the reform, the scope and timetable before the end of the year.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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CIT Online Course Disruption

online learning disruption CITFrom this autumn, no online courses or modules will be taught by lecturers at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). CIT wants to expand its offering of online courses but academic staff from the four college campuses recently supported a ballot over concerns regarding quality and training, with a 90% vote in favour of industrial action.

Almost two thirds of the Teacher’s Union Ireland (TUI) members at CIT took part in the ballot, which came after extensive negotiations between college management and staff since last September. Representatives of the TUI say that not enough has been done regarding concerns over inadequate training of staff or to provide the extra time needed for teaching and interacting with students online.

June O’Reilly, TUI Cork branch secretary, said that although the decision could impact on the courses that are already in progress, there is time for a solution to be reached before September. She said that while the TUI support online courses, they cannot be cost neutral or at the expense of quality for the students.

O’Reilly stated that the solution is to deliver the courses in a slower paced way and for the college to invest in resources. She also stated that there should be extra online time for teaching staff throughout the courses and not just at the start for the design and set up of the programmes.

CIT have not commented on the ballot or how it may affect the almost 300 students who are currently enrolled in online-only degree programmes at the college but Paul Gallagher, the CIT vice-president for finance and administration, said that allowances were being made for additional time for first-time delivery of online courses. He also said that while he feels sorry for the staff at a time when student numbers are up and staff numbers are down, the college needs to look towards the future.

For those hoping to begin an online course at the college in September and those currently being taught online, the future hangs in the balance. However, CIT students may not be the only ones affected; with more students than staff in most colleges around the country, coupled with the increased appeal of online courses, similar problems may be on the horizon for other institutes offering online programmes.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Colleges Need to Adopt Business Approach

colleges business approach neededAccording to a review on the financial health of higher education, universities and colleges need to adopt a more commercial approach if they want to survive.  The study, carried out by Grant Thornton consultants, argues that third level institutions should be asking for donations from past pupils and finding ways to generate income from international students to help guarantee future prosperity.

Less than 1% of the income raised by Institutes of Technology (IT) in 2011 was made through international students and this has been described as a lost opportunity. The review states that Ireland needs to perform better in international league tables as well as internationalise the curriculum if institutions here want to want to increase international student numbers.

The review, described as the first independent report of its kind, highlights how colleges in Ireland are relying too heavily on private tuition fees instead of Government support and predicts that this will increasingly be the case in the future. Figures from 21 third level institutions, seven of which were universities and the rest IT’s, show that tuition fees made up for 31% of their income in 2011, with 28% made up of State grants.

The report also showed that the financial surplus of third level institutions fell by 58%, from €100 million to €41.9 million, between 2007 and 2011. It describes this is as a worry for the future when faced with funding problems.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Childcare Through Distance Learning

Childare by distance learningThere are advantages and disadvantages to undertaking a Childcare course via Distance Learning. Let’s start on a positive note and look at the advantages:


Childcare employers recognise and accept a childcare qualification gained through distance learning (once it is accredited). In fact they acknowledge the extra dedication and skills required to complete a course without classroom assistance.

You can schedule your learning to suit your personal life. This is ideal for those who have personal commitments like being a parent but yet want to learn more about childcare.

You can complete classes in your own time as classes are ‘asynchronous’, which means you don’t have to attend a lecture at a particular time or place. Most courses assign you a childcare tutor to assist you with your studies. They are like your personal expert in childcare.

There are affordable on-line short certificate courses that offer an introduction to childcare – which is ideal for those ‘testing the water’ before they make a commitment to a longer term course like an advanced certificate or degree.

Childcare assignments are designed to maximise the learner’s skills and understanding of childcare.

You can start with a component certificate and build up childcare modules in your own time.

Some colleges have student forums, which means you are less isolated as a student of Childcare.


Given the nature of childcare studies – both practical and theory – it will only be when the student is on work experience that practical work will be experienced.

Students don’t get to experience materials used, for example, the sensory materials used in Montessori – until they start work experience in a Montessori setting.

Childcare students have to wait for work experience to put into practice the exercises and skills studied and learned.

Distance learning in the area of childcare doesn’t allow for face to face peer or tutor interaction on childcare related topics like child development.

Therefore before embarking on Childcare studies via Distance Learning, reflect on what you need from your course in terms of your learning needs and your unique circumstances. Some questions to ask could include how much contact time do I get with the tutor assigned to me, is work experience built into the course, is there a student forum to access or how much time do I get to complete the course?

It is also important that you check that the qualification on completion of your distance learning course is fully accredited. Under the Childcare Act 1991, the HSE requires that a person carrying out a pre-school service, ensures that those they employ to care for children, have appropriate qualifications. Most employers require at least a Level 5 Childcare qualification. Apart from accreditation, it might be important for you the student, that your certificate also allows you to progress further, whether to a Fetac Level 6 (advanced certificate) or up to a Hetac Level 8 (degree level). Of course, these are all questions to pose to your course provider.

childcare courses

Kilroys College offer a Distance Learning Diploma Training course in Childcare. It is designed for anybody interested in pursuing a career in Childcare. Ideal for parents and those considering employment in a Childcare centre or those intending to start a day care centre, nursery or a crèche.

CMIT offer a Fetac Level 6 Childcare course through Distance Learning. The course aims to promote good practice. Students can gain a nationally accredited qualification. Once enrolled, the student receives a comprehensive course manual, video quizzes and personalised tutor support. Like all other e-learning courses students will be able to upload assignments on-line and receive on-line feedback.

NUIG offer students the opportunity to study Early Childcare Studies and Practice. This course was developed to meet the needs of practitioners in the childcare sector. It is both a flexible and accessible academic programme.

The Portobello Institute offer you the opportunity to undertake component certificates. Their Certificate in Early Childhood Programmes is one of the four core modules of the Advanced Certificate in Supervision in Childcare (a full major award, Fetac Level 6). Students have the option to study further to gain the full award.

The Portobello Institute offer a vast array of Distance Learning courses in the Childcare area – including a Diploma in Montessori Teaching.

Distance Learning is when, where and how you want it. With lifestyles becoming increasingly hectic for some, it is the ideal way to become qualified in Childcare whether for personal or career reasons. In relation to gaining employment, it is important to note that studying Childcare through Distance Learning does allow you to learn all of the necessary skills needed to become a skilled childcare provider or worker.

View Childcare courses on at

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Cross Border Education Options

qualifications can cross boundariesThinking of studying in the UK? While qualifications are different in every country, there are still some clear stages that people progress through in education, training and work that are common internationally. Primary education, followed by secondary education and then by either employment or further training/education is the basic model common to most countries.

The awarding bodies and qualifications authorities in Ireland and the UK cross referenced their qualifications frameworks in 2005 and published a rough guide titled ‘Qualifications can cross boundaries’ which enables comparisons to be made between qualifications and their levels in Ireland, England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

When considering studying or working in the UK it is important to keep the following questions in mind:
– What is the name of the qualification that most closely matches mine?
– Will my qualification lead to employment or a place in college?
– Will my current qualification be recognised?
– What kind of course/job can I apply for with my current qualification?

This guide, which is available on the National Framework of Qualification’s website ( as well the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland’ s website (, addresses these questions by breaking down education and employment into ten main stages. The Irish equivalent being:
1. Level 1 Certificate
2. Level 2 Certificate
3. Junior Certificate (level 3)
4. Leaving Certificate (level 4/5)
5. Level 5 Certificate
6. Advanced certificate, Higher certificate
7. Ordinary Bachelor Degree
8. Honours Bachelor Degree
9. Master’s Degree, Post-Graduate Diploma
10. Doctoral Degree, Higher Doctorate
National Framework of Qualifications
Each stage is compared against those of the various parts of the UK in a clearly laid out table that allows students to compare qualifications across national boundaries.

For more details on the qualifications in the UK visit the following websites:
– The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework:
– National Qualifications Framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland: equals
– Credit and Qualification Framework for Wales:
– Framework for higher education qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

Study in UK

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Alternatives to Solas for skills training

skills trainingIf a career in hospitality, food, tourism, forestry, farming, crafts or fishing is what you are seeking, then it could be time to think beyond Solas (previously FAS) and discover the various other government funded agencies that are out there. Fáilte Ireland, Teagasc, Coillte, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Crafts Council Ireland are all directly linked to a specific commercial or industrial sector and offer a range of full and part-time courses.

Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority which works at supporting tourism and promoting Ireland as a high quality tourist destination. It provides business supports to help tourism businesses in managing and marketing their services, as well as running tourist centres around the country and promoting Ireland through the marketing campaign

There is a wide range of upcoming courses and workshops on offer through Fáilte Ireland in a variety of locations around the country. Courses such as ‘Maximising your online advertising revenue’ and ‘Departmental management and supervision programme (restaurant and bar)’ are available and most courses range between 2 and 4 days long.

Teagasc is Ireland’s agriculture and food authority which aims to encourage and support sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. Teagasc is the main provider of further education in forestry, agriculture, food, horticulture and equine services and provide a variety of courses which incorporate management practices and technologies on the farm, discussion groups and project work. All of its further education courses are accredited by FETAC and its higher level courses are accredited by HETAC. Courses are available under the following headings; agriculture, equine, food, forestry, horticulture, machinery, pigs and professional farm management diploma. There is also the opportunity to study online through its distance education course or to take a short course to focus on an area such as artisan food, poultry farming or organic farming.

Coillte is responsible for managing state forests and all related commercial activities. It is involved in operating forestry, land based businesses, renewable energy and panel products and own about 7% of the land in Ireland. It is also involved in training, forest nurseries, the development of leisure facilities and Christmas tree farms and provides a generous selection of forestry industry training courses. Training courses include basic tractor training, landscaping, woodchipper course, fencing course and many more. All courses are FETAC approved.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) is responsible for developing the Irish seafood industry. The BIM strategy for 2013-2017 is the board’s plan to create 1200 jobs and €1billion seafood sales by improving and expanding the country’s seafood sector. The board promotes careers in the catching, fish farming and seafood procession sectors and trains new entrants while also offering courses to upgrade the skills of existing practitioners. Courses on topics such as marine engineering and aquaculture are available.

The Crafts Council of Ireland (CCOI) is the national organisation for developing the craft industry in Ireland, aiming to encourage excellence in Irish craft and design. CCOI offers craft based trainings as well as providing information, exhibitions and organising an annual showcasing trade fair in the RDS, Dublin. Courses include Jewellery and Goldsmith Training Courses and a Ceramics Design and Skills Course. Candidates are invited to an interview and to complete an aptitude test when applying for a place. These courses are 2 years in length and are currently still in progress until 2014 when there will be another intake.

Remember to check with each training provider to find out the specific details regarding entry requirements and training allowances as each course varies. Some of the courses are offered at third level and require to apply through the CAO while others are part-time and open to all. With a selection that ranges from landscaping, marine engineering to goldsmith training there could well be a course for you.

Fiona McBennett

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