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 He says that the study proves that current lecture methods are “outdated and inefficient”.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
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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
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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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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.

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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
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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
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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

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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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April 2014 E-News Update Monthly E-Bulletin
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Education NewsTraining for the Civil Service
Education News
Recently, Pascal Donohoe, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, encouraged graduates to consider a career in the EU civil service as he launched the EU annual graduate recruitment competition. The minister described a civil service career in the EU as an exciting and challenging opportunity and encouraged graduates to apply, stating that Irish candidates are highly sought after.

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Featured Educator Irish Payroll Association
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For over a decade the Irish Payroll Association (IPASS) has been the leading provider of nationwide training and education on Payroll, VAT and a wide range of taxes. Established in 2000 it provides nationally recognised professional qualifications in Payroll and VAT which are accredited by the Higher Education and Training Awards Council, HETAC Level 6.

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Introduction to Hairdressing level 5

Introduction to Hairdressing level 5, Mayo

Course outline: hairdressing theory and practice, hairdressing science, safety and health at work, communications, customer service, work experience, desk top publishing. This course is designed for learners who wish to pursue careers in Hairdressing and Cosmetics. It has both practical and theoretical elements.

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Electronics Equipment Repair 1 - City and Guilds

Electronics Equipment Repair 1 – City and Guilds , Dublin City

This course enables participants to build, test and fault-find analogue electronic circuits at introductory level. Knowledge of the operation of a wide range of electronic components and circuits and their applications in modern electronic based equipment such as amplifiers, Hi-Fi systems, stereos, control systems, etc.

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Category Focus Languages
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From Arabic to Vietnamese, this category offers a wide range of course options ranging from languages for beginners on to more advanced courses for intermediate and advanced learners. Check out our Languages Category for more information. Visit our Languages Articles page for some language learning tips and information on specific languages.
Featured Article Climbing the Ladder, NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications
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The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten level system that provides a way to compare qualifications and ensure that they are recognised nationally and abroad. Each of the ten levels are used to describe the Irish qualifications system and each level is based on national standards of skill, knowledge and ability ie. what a person is able to understand and do after completing a process of learning, with the higher numbers indicating a higher level of education.

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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

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Pitman Training, 28 Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Galway
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Student Accomodation Project

digital hub student accomodationA €40 million development which will provide 500 students with accommodation is to be the latest addition to The Digital Hub in Dublin. The project, facilitated by The Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA), is one of the biggest since the foundation of The Digital Hub 13 years ago and marks a new and exciting phase for the development.

The Digital Hub is located in the Liberties area of inner Dublin and is the centre for digital enterprises, currently housing approximately 70 digital companies and employing 900 people. Since its establishment, 170 companies have been a part of The Digital Hub.

The new development will be 10,650 square meters and will also include extra office space. It will be situated in Bonham Street. The accommodation is to be constructed by UK company, Knightsbridge Student Housing and will be offered to different universities on a contract basis. Knightsbridge will also refurbish the 19th century Grainstore building on the campus, which is believed to have originally been part of the Marshalsea debtor’s prison. Construction is set to begin in May, with the student accommodation completed in September 2016 and the new Grainstore office spaces completed in May 2015.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Edel Flynn, the chief executive of The Digital Hub, said that project is one of the biggest office space developments of recent years in Dublin and is the largest construction project to be happening in Dublin this year. Ms Flynn also said the development showed confidence was returning to the construction industry in the capital.

The project is to create 300 new jobs and the Minster for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte said it was great news for job creation in the construction sector and for the Liberties area, which is currently run down with a lot of vacant buildings despite it being one of the most visited areas of Dublin due to the Guinness Storehouse. The project is said to require an investment of €3.51 million.

Students from near by colleges and universities such as DIT, the National College of Art and Design, Trinity and UCD will be hoping to benefit from the new accommodation in 2016. Ms. Flynn said that the addition of 500 students to The Digital Hub was a positive move. “There is no better thing than to have students on the doorstep. It adds to the vibrancy and footfall and will support other businesses in the area.”

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Computer Graduates Shortfall

computer and ICT coursesA current shortage in Irish computer graduates means that half the vacancies in companies here are being filled by foreign graduates. To tackle this problem, the government have launched a new ICT Skills Action Plan in order to meet the needs of employers  in the hi-tech industry. Leading software scientist, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, said that Irish students need to be taught the right skills instead of technology fads.

Over the next four years, 44,500 positions are expected to open up that will require high-level computer skills and as a response to this, many colleges have begun to offer more computing courses. By 2018, Ireland is set to be producing around 2,400 honours degree computing graduates, double the current figures.

However, in a recent interview with the Irish Independent, Professor Fitzgerald criticised these courses, saying that many have only been re-branded to make them appear more attractive, while employers encouraged colleges to supply courses in the latest technology fad.

Mr. Fitzgerald is the chief scientist at Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre and has worked in the software industry both in Ireland and abroad for the past 15 years. He said that there needs to be an approach that combines the basics with high-level skills.

By comparing trends here with what was happening in Eastern Europe and former Soviet bloc countries, he saw that, unlike Ireland, these countries courses tended to be more traditional and did not cover the latest technology trends. Through his research, Professor Fitzgerald found these graduates were able to adapt to changing needs by having good fundamental skills and languages such as Java.

Ireland currently meets 60% of the demand for ICT professionals and this figure is up from 45% in 2011. Under the new ICT Skills Action Plan, the Government aim to increase the supply of Irish educated computing graduates to 74% by 2018.

The plan sets out a new initiatives such as an 1,250 additional college places every year and measures to reduce drop-out rates on computing courses. The plan also aims to increase primary and secondary school students’ interest in IT careers and another round of ICT skills conversion courses will be offered. Since 2012, there have been around 2,000 graduates from these programmes.

For those currently looking for ICT courses, be sure to check out Dorset College which offers courses such as Java-Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 6 and Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer. The College of Management and IT (CMIT) also offers courses such as CIW Javascript Specialist.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Postgraduate Study Trends

postgrad courses irelandThe postgraduate sector has been in a state of uncertainty during recent years, the cutting of postgraduate student grants has been one issue to have an impact, as has the large numbers of graduates not finding their place in the employment sector.

A recent report by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) on the first destinations of students after they have graduated shows the rate at which further study options have been chosen and, unsurprisingly, there was an increase in the number of graduates applying for further study in 2009 at the height of the recession; with 44% of graduates applying for further study and employment levels decreasing.

Since then, the number of graduates applying for further study has normalised and figures from 2012 show that 37% of graduates applied for further study while 52% were employed nine months after they graduated.

Seamus McEvoy, head of career services at UCC says that applying for postgraduate studies gives students a time to grow up and decide what they want to do. It also appears that having a postgraduate qualification ensures a better income.

Eilis O’Brien, communications director at UCD, says that there is a link between the qualification a student achieves and the amount of money they earn. She say that students with postgraduate degrees tend to earn more within a shorter period of time. While the cuts to the postgraduate grants have been tough on students, particularly those who do not have any other financial support, McEvoy says that students seem to be choosing postgraduate study regardless, viewing it as a necessary extension of their degree.

ICT skills are very valuable for students to have, according to O’Brien, and there is a good success rate in students being employed having completed graduate degrees and conversion courses in this area. O’Brien also advised graduates to think beyond the big postgraduate courses to the smaller ones in many different areas.

Below are just some of the postgraduate course providers to consider when choosing a course:

PCI College is located in Dublin but also has branches in Athlone, Cork, Kilkenny and Limerick. It is Ireland’s leading provider of training in counselling and psychotherapy and offers a range of postgraduate courses including Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology and Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy.

IADT Dun Laoghaire offers courses in creative and technology based areas and there is a large selection of postgraduate courses to choose from such as MA in Public Culture Studies, MSc in Cyberpsychology and MA in Screenwriting for Film and Television. There is also the opportunity to apply for an MA in Broadcast Production for Radio and Television. For more information on how to apply for this contact the college directly.

The Communications and Management Institute (CMI) is based in Dublin and offers a wide range of postgraduate courses that are industry focused and career orientated. Courses available include Management Postgraduate Diploma, HR Management Advanced Diploma and Management Studies Graduate Diploma.

The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) works to increase co-operation and understanding between public servants and the public and helps in the continual development of the public sector. The IPA also provides a range of courses such as a Doctorate in Governance, a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management and Master of Arts and a Postgraduate Diploma (and Master of Economic Science) in Policy Analysis.

NUI Galway is one of the country’s leading centres of academia and offers a large selection of postgraduate courses such as a Masters of Arts in Adult Learning and Development, Postgraduate Certificate in Biomedical Science and Practice Based Play Therapy.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Noise Assessment Training

noise assessment trainingAll employers have a duty under health and safety law to reduce the risk of hearing damage to their employees by controlling exposure to noise. In many instances, noise exposure will be so low as to cause negligible risk and noise measurements are not warranted in certain situations.

However, it may be essential that a competent risk assessment is undertaken. In practice, much of the noise assessment and survey work which is routinely undertaken falls far short of the required standard. In fact, many ‘assessments’ are clearly inadequate and have been undertaken using suspect equipment and/or sampling techniques.

Employers must undertake a suitable and appropriate assessment of the risk arising from noise exposure. This is generally done by means of a detailed noise assessment which is undertaken by a suitably qualified and experienced assessor. The primary purpose of the risk assessment is to quantify the exposure levels and clarify what needs to be done to protect the health and safety of all employees who are exposed to noise. Noise measurements may not always be required, however, whenever any significant risk exists, it would be difficult to justify not using site-specific measurement data for an assessment.

noise courses

This does not mean that every assessment will necessarily require a huge volume of measurement data. Moreover, it is generally a combination of reliable measurement and good interpretation that provides the real benefit. Some ‘assessments’ consist of a series of noise measurements and provide no interpretation and guidance. A good risk assessment will include a comprehensive set of data along with appropriate interpretation and conclusions.

The findings of the risk assessment must be adequately reported and an action plan should be developed to identify and document the steps taken to meet the requirements of the law- e.g. what has been already done, what needs to be done, an indicative timetable and clear identification of the individuals responsible for the work.

It is critical that the assessment has been drawn up by someone who is competent to carry out the task and is suitably qualified and experienced. Given that the assessor’s findings will be the foundation on which the company’s controls are built, it is important that they are reliable.

It is up to the employer to take reasonable steps to satisfy himself or herself that the assessment meets all necessary legal requirements, even if the assessment is carried out by someone outside the company (such as a consultant).

Unfortunately many companies learn that their risk assessments are inadequate or their consultants were not really competent when it is too late, for example, when dealing with a claim for occupational hearing loss. In fact a useful test for a company to apply would be to question whether their assessments or assessor would stand up to scrutiny by an expert in the field (or to a cross examination in a court of law). If you undertake noise surveys yourself or if you are responsible for interpreting and managing risk it is important that you keep up to date with your own professional development.

Like many aspects of safety management, in order to avoid pitfalls, it is imperative that noise survey and assessment work is undertaken by a competent person. In addition, individuals with responsibility for risk assessment and/or environmental noise management can benefit from a training course which enables them to interpret and evaluate environmental and workplace noise assessments. These courses will also enable participants to provide guidance and assistance in risk management as most companies will continue to have residual risk long after the assessment work has been completed.

The Institute of Acoustics (IOA) Certificate of Competence in Workplace Noise Assessment and Environmental Noise Measurement have been specifically developed to provide participants with the necessary training to ensure that they can competently perform their duties.

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Access the World with IT Training

computer and it training coursesThe world seems to revolve around computers these days. Information technology (often abbreviated to IT) governs communication, finance, medical care and many other services. We can access all of the information that we will ever need at the click of a mouse thanks to the Internet and the massive amount of data it now holds. It has become an integral part of modern life and as such everyone should try to have a basic working knowledge of computers and how to use them. Anyone that wants to take that knowledge one step further could forge an excellent career path that may lead to any number of jobs and opportunities.

IT Training courses Ireland

The majority of computer courses are conducted in computer labs and thus are classroom based, but do comprise of lectures, seminars and interactive lessons that are combined to form the best learning structure for those individuals that learn better practically and those that learn through applying theory. Some offer work placements or the option for a sandwich year spent in industry if they are full time three or four year courses. However, some courses may only last a few weeks if they focus on one basic skill.

If you are already working, a part time or short course will probably suit you better, but a full time course would suit those looking to return to education or continue in education. There is something for everyone though. Take a look at the list of resources below for a good idea of what is out there. IT training is a skill that is required in almost every industry out there these days and is easily transferable from one area of the working world to the next.

Comptia CompTIA A+ certification is a vendor neutral certification that covers numerous technologies and operating systems from such vendors as Microsoft, Apple Inc., Novell and some of the Linux distributions.The A+ certification exam was developed in 1993. There have been five versions of the A+ exam, the 1993, 2003, 2006, 2009 and 2012 objectives, which are broken down into two separate exams. View Comptia Courses

ECDL – The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), also known as International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL), is a computer literacy certification programme provided by ECDL Foundation. View ECDL Courses

Programming – Computer programming covers a range of scripting and programming languages used for creating online applications and software programmes. View Programming Courses

View more IT Training & computer courses at the following link –

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