Foreign Language Teaching to be Prioritised

languagesIreland should benchmark ourselves against the best English-speaking country in the world for foreign languages and aim to emulate that performance within a decade, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD said at the TUI conference in Cork recently.

Minister Bruton also said that we should aim to be within the top ten in Europe in this area. The Minister was speaking ahead of the publication of his Department’s ten year strategy for foreign languages, a key commitment in the Action Plan for Education. The plan acknowledges that in general, Ireland, in common with other English-speaking countries, has not, prioritised learning of foreign languages when compared to other countries, tending to regard English as a common international language of communication.
However in the context of Brexit, the increasing global importance of the non-Western countries, and our diversifying markets for exports, these assumptions will no longer hold true.

The Strategy acknowledges that this will require a very significant change of mind set about language learning. It will also take time, commitment and additional resources. However this area must be a major priority. However it also acknowledges that we have major assets to build on. Teaching of Irish means that, unlike many other countries, children become familiar with bilingualism from age 4 and start to learn second language skills early. We now have strong communities of new Irish people who have brought language skills from hundreds of countries around the world.

Outside of the headline ambitions, other targets to be delivered as part of the Strategy include:

  • All Junior Cycle students will study a foreign language by 2021
  • A 10% increase in the number of Leaving Certificate students taking foreign language subjects, with a particular focus on diversifying the number of languages studied in addition to French, – which is currently by far the most popular language
  • Increase of at least 50% in the number of students doing Erasmus, with further targets for improvement in the language proficiency of those coming back from Erasmus, and reductions in the numbers doing Erasmus course through English
  • We will aim to support 20% of the entire higher education cohort to study a foreign language, as part of their course. And we will put a particular focus on increasing the uptake of those studying courses relevant to international business and ICT. Competence in languages can be particularly relevant for career progression and is also vital for Ireland’s export sector

Among the measures contained in the Strategy to deliver on these targets are:

  • Additional foreign languages to be available at junior cycle
  • Introduction of Mandarin Chinese as a Leaving Certificate curricular subject. Together with other measures, this will mean that all of our main target languages in our export strategies will now be provided as curricular leaving cert subjects
  • Double the number of schools offering more than two foreign languages as part of Transition Year programmes
  • Measures to develop and build on the heritage language skills of immigrant communities:
  • Curricular specifications at Leaving Certificate, starting with Polish, Lithuanian and Portuguese as heritage languages with accompanying Leaving Certificate examinations. These specifications would replace the existing Leaving Certificate non-curricular examinations in these languages.
  • Consideration of the development of additional Junior Cycle Short Courses for heritage languages, mindful of the fact that a short course in Polish already exists
  • New models of delivering language teaching, such as shared classes and blended learning. This will allow students who are part of small immigrant communities, within specific schools, to develop their heritage language skills.
  • The Department of Education and Skills and the Teaching Council will address the complex issues involved in registering teachers of these languages.
  • The Department will work with embassies of relevant countries in delivering on these commitments.

Primary Education:

  • Exploring the possibilities of using CLIL (content and language integrated learning) techniques by teaching aspects of the primary curriculum through Irish and foreign languages which will equip learners with transferrable language skills. Research shows that teaching languages as a means of communication in this way, rather than as an academic subject to be learned in isolation, can be very effective
  • The NCCA, as part of its current review of the Primary School Curriculum will be asked to give consideration to including foreign languages in the senior classes.

Teacher Supply:

  • There may be post-primary teachers in the system who are qualified to teach a range of foreign languages but are currently not doing so. Following an audit, if this is found to be the case, then schools, especially their principals and the qualified language teachers, need to be encouraged and supported with dedicated CPD, to diversify the range of languages on offer. Clustering initiatives will be examined in this area.
  • Initial Professional Masters in Education programmes for students wishing to graduate as language teachers should agree on minimum Common European Framework of Reference for languages proficiency at both entry and exit points
  • Teachers/ lecturers throughout their career should be given CPD opportunities to enable them to enhance their language skills and teaching quality and to engage in innovative pedagogical practice. Such CPD opportunities are currently being provided by the Junior Cycle for Teachers, Professional Development Service, for foreign language teachers as the new Modern Languages specification is being rolled out at Junior Cycle this September (2017).

Other Areas:

  • The International Education Strategy for Ireland (2016 -2020) provides for the extension of the stay back period from 12 to 24 months for post-graduates. This opportunity will result in more eligible post-graduates, who have studied in Irish higher education institutions, and whose award is granted by a recognised Irish awarding body, at Masters or PhD level, to remain in Ireland for two years to seek employment.
  • Greater use of existing programmes is needed for Foreign Language Assistants, both coming to, and going from Ireland to countries where their foreign language is the spoken language
  • Develop a benchmark standard against which our performance in languages at all levels can be measured, against ourselves and against other countries, and for objective target-setting. To this end, we will mainstream use of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
  • A languages advisory group is to be established under the auspices of the National Skills Council to oversee implementation; membership to comprise representatives of primary, post primary, academic experts and industry.

Speaking ahead of his address at the TUI conference, Minister Bruton said:
“The central aim of our Action Plan for Education is to provide the best education and training system in Europe over the next decade. A central part of this is our ability to support our students with the skills to be global citizens, to understand other cultures and societies, as well as the skills to function and thrive in the modern economy. The world is changing rapidly and we must plan through our education system for that changing world. Assumptions that held true even a couple of years ago about the place of English as the international language of communication are no longer solid. In the context of Brexit, the rise of the non-Western powers, the challenges of integrating new communities and our increasingly diversified export strategies, we must change the way we think about language learning in Ireland.”

“Ensuring that we continue to provide high-quality language learning and promoting competence in both of our official languages, Irish and English, is a very important objective of Government. However we must also target a step-change in the learning of foreign languages in Ireland. That is why I believe we should benchmark ourselves against the best English-speaking country in the world at learning foreign languages and seek to emulate that performance within a decade, and also top ten position overall within Europe in this area. In the context of Brexit and a changing world this must be a major priority.
Teaching of Irish means that, unlike many other countries, children become familiar with bilingualism from age 4 and start to learn second language skills early. We now have strong communities of new Irish people bringing language skills from hundreds of countries around the world. And as a people we have a natural curiosity in other cultures and societies.”

Web Design Courses

web design coursesTwenty years ago, the majority of businesses didn’t have a website, now it’s rare that a business does not have an online presence. Our growing reliance on the internet has changed the way we communicate, spend money, even educate ourselves to the extent that careers involving the internet aren’t just growing, they are on the front line of technological and societal change.

Web design is a crucial component in a person’s experience on the internet. A webpage only has a few seconds to impress and keep a customer. Ensuring the page looks good and operates well is one of the most important components of online business. And as the internet becomes increasingly important for communication and business, job prospects for web designers are also rising.

Competition is rife and training is essential. Web designers need to be creative and technical, artistic and business-orientated. Strategic and design skills such as marketing and graphic art in addition to technical knowledge like database administration and programming in flash and html are all e

It may be a competitive career but the benefits and opportunities are excellent, with an increasing demand for talented designers. Generally, the more expertise and specific training the higher the salary is. There are opportunities for talented web designers all over the world or you can stay in your pyjamas, if you’d rather freelance.

Training courses are open to anyone who is interested in learning more about this field, regardless if they continue towards a career in web design or not. Further Education and Private Colleges offer introductions to web design, upskilling, and specialty training. In addition, there are third level part-time evening courses, which over three or four years offer in-depth degree study. The College of Management and IT (CMIT) offers distance learning training in both Introduction to Web Design and Advanced Web Design. Both are certified at QQI Level 5 and Level 6. The course is completed over a six-month period and may commence at any time of year. CMIT also offers Webmaster and Ecommerce Consultant training.

The web design course offered by Pitman Training focuses on Business IT specifically. The training concentrates on design and database skills with HTML programming, Dreamweaver, and the Microsoft Office Suite, including Microsoft Access. The course is for 9 weeks (at approximately 20 hours per week of study) or 180 hours flexi-study.

Web Design training offers a solid and practical education that can lead to a fulfilling, rewarding, and dynamic career. To see a range of courses related to Web design and other computer training courses, why not have a look at our section on IT Training and Computer courses

Becoming a Midwife

midwife coursesMid-wifery is one of those careers that requires a holistic way of being, that is conducive to bringing a new-born into the world. Apart from the formal qualifications required; being completely caring, have a willingness to help other people, calm and kind are the essential pre-requisites to becoming a mid-wife. The term midwife means to be ‘with woman’ and your role is to be with a mother as she gives birth. Midwifery care is underpinned by a philosophical approach that views pregnancy as part of the life cycle, a normal healthy event. According to the Irish Nursing Board, the concept of partnership between the woman and the midwife is fundamental to midwifery practice and is based on mutual trust, support and collaboration. Midwives work in partnership with obstetricians and other members of the healthcare team in the provision of care, particularly to women with complicated pregnancies.

Therefore, a midwife is a trained professional with special expertise in supporting women to maintain a healthy pregnancy birth, offering expert individualized care, education, counselling and support to a woman and her new-born throughout the childbearing cycle. A midwife works with each woman and her family to identify their unique physical, social and emotional needs. When the care required is outside the midwife’s scope of practice or expertise, the woman is referred to other health care providers for additional consultation or care.

A midwife is assigned a range of specific tasks and duties that include assisting the mother in the birth of her child to the job of introducing the new member of the family. Any given day in the life of a midwife includes: assisting maternal patients to find physical positions that will facilitate childbirth, monitoring maternal condition during labour by checking vital signs, monitoring uterine contractions, or performing physical examinations, providing comfort and relaxation measures for mothers in labour through interventions such as massage, breathing techniques, hydrotherapy, and music.

The midwife is also responsible for setting up or monitoring the administration of oxygen or medications, assessing birthing environments to ensure cleanliness, safety, and the availability of appropriate supplies, assessing the status of post-date pregnancies to determine treatments and interventions, collecting specimens for use in laboratory tests, conducting on-going prenatal health assessments, tracking changes in physical and emotional health, developing/implementing or evaluating individualised plans for midwifery care and finally, establishing and following emergency or contingency plans for mothers and new-borns.

midwife courses in Ireland

There are a number of HEIs offering the direct entry pre-registration programme into midwifery (open to mature applicants, fetac and standard applicants). The Bachelor of Midwifery, Science degree at NUIG is an example of one of the four-year degree programmes. Following successful completion of this programme, students are eligible to apply to register as a midwife with An Bord Altranais. Their programme consists of 24 theoretical modules and 8 clinical modules.

The syllabus for the pre-registration Honours Degree programme contains the following:
• 67% of the theoretical content is the art and science of nursing care
• 33% of the theoretical content is devoted to the applied biological and social sciences (including psychology, sociology, philosophy and ethics)There are also clinical placements to cover all aspects of the role of a midwife. These include: Antenatal, Intra-natal, Postnatal and Specialist placements.

As a mature applicant, you must be successful at the NCC (Nursing Careers Centre) written assessment before being considered for an offer as a mature code applicant. However, success at the written assessment does not guarantee an offer of a place. The written assessment contains a skills/experience questionnaire, a verbal test, a numerical test and job simulation exercise. Mature applicants also apply through the CAO. Most HEIs offering the midwifery programme do recognise certain FETAC qualifications for entry to this pre-registration course. It is important to consult with the individual HEIs to discuss their requirements whether you are a mature/fetac/standard applicant.

Whilst you can go directly into a midwifery programme at a Higher Education Institute, you can become qualified as a nurse first and then progress onto a post-registration midwifery course.

Like every other career path that you might be considering, do your homework and find out what being a midwife really means. Get some practical experience if you can. For example, some people work voluntarily as a healthcare assistant to see how they feel about working in this type of environment. Attending open days at the relevant universities are important. Here you will get a real feel for what the course is like on a day to day basis. You can also meet the lecturers which can be really useful. Even better, try arrange a meeting with a practicing mid-wife, who could assist you with all your questions and concerns. And, yes, men can become midwifes too!

For further information, contact An Bord Altranais (The Irish Nursing Board).

To see midwife and nursing courses on view the Medical and Healthcare courses category at

Comptia Training Courses

comptia training coursesThe Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) was established in 1982 in order to advance and develop the growth of the information technology (IT) industry, and those working within it. Today it is the leading global IT trade association and has influence in all areas of the IT industry worldwide. CompTIA facilitates the growth of the IT industry by promoting industry standards, growing professional IT expertise, providing IT skills education, and developing relevant business solutions.

Through the years CompTIA has developed specialized initiatives and programs dedicated to major areas within the industry as those areas, themselves, were developing. This association follows and predicts trends and technological advances within the IT industry. CompTIA is able to create interest in and understanding of categories like: convergence technology, e-commerce, IT training, software services, certification, public policy, workforce development, and technology learning.

CompTIA has created and developed certified exams. It is the world’s largest developer of vendor-neutral IT certification exams. CompTIA employs the assistance of experts and industry leaders from both public and private sectors (such as training, academia, government, etc.) to develop broad-based, foundational exams, that accurately assess an individual’s IT skill set.

An example of one of these certified exams is the CompTIA Network+ certification. Network+ (Network Plus) is a mid-level certification for network technicians. This certification is designed to test the competency of a mid-level network technician in supporting and configuring TCP/IP clients in terms of network design, cabling, hardware setup, configuration, installation, support, and troubleshooting.

CompTIA also sponsors certification for document imaging (Certified Document Imaging Architech [CDIA]) and a hardware certification exam (A+). The CompTIA certifications are usually more basic and less product-specific than other certifications, such as Microsoft’s MCSE or a Novell CNE.
comptia training courses
Kilroys College run the Network+ – IT Skills Preparation course for the CompTIA A+ certification. This is a Distance Learning course. If you are interested in becoming a Network administrator or PC Support Specialist, then this CompTIA sponsored Network+ course could be for you. It will help you prepare for the Network+ exam, which will give any prospective employer proof that you possess the required technical knowledge and skills to support a network. It also gives you the perfect foundation to build on towards other IT qualifications.

The College of Management and IT (CMIT) offer a comprehensive e-learning course to prepare students for the A+ Certification from CompTIA. The CompTIA A+ certification is the industry standard for computer support technicians and it proves competence in areas such as installation, preventative maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting. CompTIA A+ certified technicians also have excellent customer service and communication skills to work with clients. This course is suitable for IT Technician, Enterprise Technician, PC Technician, Desktop Support Technician, Field Technician, PC Support Specialists or People considering a career as a PC Technician. It is also ideal for A+ certified professionals who are encouraged or required by their employers to remain current on their certifications. Once you successfully complete the programme, you will receive a Diploma in Advanced PC Maintenance from CMIT and following successful completion of the exams you will receive CompTIA certification.

Dorset College run a number of IT courses including their full-time course:  Computer Systems Engineer (CompTIA A+ & CISCO) and part-time courses in CompTIA A+ / IT Essentials and CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI.

CompTIA Linux+ Powered by LPI validates the fundamental knowledge and skills required of junior Linux administrators. The aim of the Linux+ course is to demonstrate a wide range of skills required in today’s complex IT environments.

It is recommended that participants have CompTIA A+, CompTIA Network+ and at least 12 months of Linux administration experience. Professionals holding the CompTIA Linux+ credential can explain fundamental management of Linux systems from the command line, demonstrate knowledge of user administration, understand file permissions, software configurations and management of Linux-based clients, server systems and security. Because of the growing popularity of enterprise-ready platforms such as Linux, both employers and professionals realise the importance of skill validation. The industry recognises that a CompTIA Linux+ certification is a good indicator of foundational proficiency in everyday management of Linux-based clients and basic management of server systems.

In order to participate and complete any of the above courses, (depending on the course provider and type of course) you must have good working knowledge of ECDL or equivalent, and/or relevant work experience. Some advanced courses will require completion of other CompTIA courses before progression is allowed. Contact the relevant college to establish their individual requirements.

CompTIA Certification is the starting point for a career in IT. There are excellent progression routes taking IT certifications from basic skills to advanced technical specialties in order to build a successful career in IT. Their certified exams are proof of your professional achievement, providing you with a solid credential leading to better job opportunities and a well-defined career path. This will give you an advantage over other candidates when applying for a job. There are also specific areas such as networking, security, software technology, or hardware support that you can specialise in.

IT is one of the few growing industries today that consistently experience difficulties in recruiting enough graduates and workers to fill vacancies. Demand for skilled Network Support professionals has grown significantly over the past few years. Leading technology companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Intel have identified Network+ as the perfect entry point into a networking career.

Find Comptia and other Computer Training Courses on at

SUSI Grant Process 2017-18

SUSI third level grantsSUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland). is now open for applications for the 2017-18 academic year. Students are being encouraged to get their application in as early as possible and to be sure to have all correct information and documentation attached. Below is some further information and videos on making a grant application through SUSI.

Tips for Applicants

  • Make your application as early as possible after the opening date.
  • Make sure the information you supply in relation to dates of birth, PPS numbers, etc. is correct, to avoid delays in the processing of your application.
  • Supply the documentation requested of you, correctly first time and on time.
  • Use the application tracker in your online account to check the progress of your submitted application at any stage.

Applications are made through the grants online application system available on the SUSI website ( You must have an online account with SUSI before you can make your grant application.

Benefits of Microsoft MTA Certification

microdoft mta trainingFor those who are considering entering into an IT career and need to learn the basics; gaining MTA certification can be highly beneficial.

According to Microsoft, 86% of managers state that IT certifications are important when they are considering candidates and 91% say that a certification is essential when they are hiring. Microsoft state that 64% of managers thought that certifications had high value when it came to validating the skills of job candidates and that certification, experience and training were some of the most important characteristics when selecting a employee. Perhaps the best news of all is that in a survey of nearly 700 IT professionals, 60% stated that getting a certification led to them securing a new job.

An MTA (Microsoft Technology Associate) certification supplies the expertise and knowledge needed for a specific technology or product and is the recommended starting point for the Microsoft certifications. It provides a solid foundation and with just one exam you earn a certification that will allow you to take your first step towards a career in IT.

An MTA also works well for those who have some basic knowledge and may want to refresh or focus on a specific area. Depending on your interests and career goals you can do an MTA on a variety of topics. Doing an MTA gives you the necessary knowledge for moving on to do an MCSA (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate) or MCSD (Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer) certification and when you successfully complete an MTA you become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional community (MCP) which allows you members only benefits such as special offers and a private groups where you can network and connect with others on the same career path.

An MTA certification never expires and exams can be taken a training centre near you. Pitman Training Centres all over the country are offering MTA certifications, with trainings available in Carlow, Dublin, Cork, Louth, Galway, Limerick, Westmeath, Kildare, Sligo, Kerry and Wexford. The courses range in topics from an MTA in Security Fundamentals, MTA Networking Fundamentals, MTA Server Administration Fundamentals to MTA Windows Server 2008. All are run on a flexible study basis and are open to those looking for a basic understanding of key concepts.

In a time where finding employment is tough, why not get ahead of the competition and do something that will make you stand out. An MTA certification will add that extra touch of professionalism to your CV and by completing a certification that is voluntary, you are showing future employers that you are motivated, driven and dedicated. When you complete your MTA and become a member of the Microsoft Certified Professional Community you will also have the opportunity to browse a list of job opportunities around the world, specifically filtered for MCPs.

For those hoping to improve employability, having a world recognized qualification could be key to raising your profile. So impress future employees and feel confident when you go to your next interview knowing that you have a certification and the skills that will enable a successful IT career.

Click Here to Find MTA Training Courses on

Hair and Beauty Courses

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

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

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

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

Centrally located in the heart of Gorey, Co. Wexford, Mags Browne Hairdressing Academy offers an 18 month hairdressing diploma course, which runs conveniently over just 2 days a week. The  Mags Browne Hairdressing Academy offers the very best start to any student who wants to achieve their full potential within hairdressing.

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

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

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

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

There are also a range of hair and beauty courses at

Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship 2017

Insurance ApprenticeshipResearch recently released by The Insurance Institute, found that 62% of young adults surveyed stated that they would consider an apprenticeship, as an alternative to going to college, if it was in an area that interested them. Findings also showed that just over half of parents (55%) would encourage their child to undertake an apprenticeship. The research was released today to launch the 2017 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, Ireland’s only level 8-degree apprenticeship, which will have over 100 places available nationwide in the coming weeks. This ‘earn and learn’, three year programme, enables apprentices to work for an insurance employer, earn a salary, while also studying for a BA Hons in Insurance Practice.

The research, commissioned by The Insurance Institute and undertaken by Empathy Research, surveyed 309 young adults (18-34) and 410 parents (of dependent children, under 18) to ascertain their perceptions of apprenticeships, as well as their considerations in relation to college/third level education and career choices. Most (77%) young adults agreed that college isn’t for everyone and 76% of young adults agreed that the opportunity to earn a salary while also studying in their chosen field would strongly appeal to them. Only 11% of young adults and 11% (1 in 10) of parents surveyed believe there are enough apprenticeships offered in areas of interest in Ireland, with the majority feeling that there are not.

The research also discovered that for young adults, their main concern in relation to third level education is the cost and affordability, with 58% citing it as a worry, and 52% stating that the prospect of securing a job when they finish is a key concern. Similarly, 65% of parents are also concerned about their children’s chances of getting a job when they complete third level education, and 57% of parents said the cost and affordability of college is a worry for them.

Commenting on the launch, as well as the findings of the research, Sandra Harvey Graham, Apprenticeship Programme Manager, The Insurance Institute, said, “We’re delighted to be launching our 2017 Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, with over 100 places becoming available within the next few weeks and successful applicants beginning their apprenticeship in September. The programme is only in its second year, but has been a game changer as it offers young people a real alternative to college, while also providing local jobs, to local people throughout the country.”

“As our research shows, cost and the potential to secure a job are concerns for parents and students when it comes to third level education. The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is within an established and well represented industry, with 28,000 people working in insurance across Ireland. The programme is also Government funded, so students only pay €600 in registration fees annually. This makes it very affordable for potential candidates to kick start their career in a global and dynamic industry, where they will benefit from exceptional on the job experience, all whilst advancing their skills and working towards a Degree.”

Ms Graham continued, “For those interested in the September 2017 programme, they should register their interest from today on Those registered will be the first to know when the 100 apprenticeships become available over the next few weeks, and they will also benefit from an extensive library of content helping them to get ahead of the game when it comes to applying.”

Additional key research findings included:

  • When asked if they were aware of the Government’s strategy (which is part of the Government’s Action Plan for Education) 12% of young adults (aged 18-34) and 13% of parents said they were. 77% of young adults believe the Government’s strategy would be beneficial to young people in Ireland, with parent’s feeling the same way (78%);
  • Getting a degree is cited by almost half (49%) of under 34’s and just over half (53%) of parents as the best way of ensuring a successful working career;
  • Parents (35%), friends (31%) and guidance counsellors/teachers in school (26%) are the key ports of call for young adults when it comes to talking about choosing a career or changing jobs;
  • Just 24% of those aged 18-34 claim that they found the career guidance they received in school useful, with almost two thirds (63%) rating it as not useful;
  • 16% of young adults said they considered an apprenticeship when then were finishing their secondary school education. Key reasons for not considering an apprenticeship included the desire to go to college and get a degree/diploma (58%), with almost a quarter (23%) claiming not to know enough about apprenticeships;
  • Just under half (46%) of young adults surveyed, agree that they would be happy working in the area they are currently working for the rest of their working life.

The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship was first launched in September 2016, and was Ireland’s first, earn and learn honours degree programme. The Government funded apprenticeship is run in partnership with IT Sligo, and apprentices complete the degree portion online through distance learning over three years. The minimum entry requirements include two honours in higher level subjects in the Leaving Cert and a pass in four additional subjects including English/Irish and Maths. Alternatively, if applicants are over 23, interviews or other selection tools may be used.

For more information on the programme or to register your interest please visit

Workshop to Explore psychological Effects of Social Media

social media workshopNUI Galway will hold a workshop on ‘The Dark Psychological Impacts of Social Media in the Workplace’ at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics on Monday, 10 April.

A large body of research has considered the positive aspects of social media in the workplace. However, emerging research and practice are beginning to focus on complex and often alarming ways in which use of social media may harmfully affect workers.  For example, addiction, anxiety and depression, privacy violation, stress, information overload, and work-family conflict are some of the issues that have been studied so far. This workshop focuses on these psychological effects of social media in the workplace.

Dr Eoin Whelan, Lecturer at the J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics said: “We are delighted to be hosting this workshop the dark psychological impacts of social media in the workplace. Social media plays an increasingly significant role in our experience of work. But what we need to remember is that unintended consequences arise when we begin to use new communication technologies. For example, email was initially used by scientists to share important information across geographically boundaries. But now we email people sitting a few metres away with information that is often not very important. We are only beginning to understand the unintended consequences of social media use in the workplace. The line-up of international speakers will discuss state-of-the-art knowledge on how social media is affecting the psychology and physiology of workers. We particularly welcome industry practitioners to the event.”

Speakers at the workshop will include: Dr Eoin Whelan, NUI Galway; Professor Hanna Krasnova, University of Potsdam; Professor Tom Jackson, Loughborough University; and Professor Monideepa Tarafdar, Lancaster University.

Industry practitioners are especially welcome. To register for the workshop, click here

For further information, contact Dr Eoin Whelan at

National Framework of Qualifications NFQ

nfq progressionThe National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten level system that provides a way to compare qualifications and ensure that they are recognised nationally and abroad. Each of the ten levels are used to describe the Irish qualifications system and each level is based on national standards of skill, knowledge and ability ie. what a person is able to understand and do after completing a process of learning, with the higher numbers indicating a higher level of education.

The NFQ system places the Leaving Certificate at level 5 and the Leaving Cert Applied at level 4. From the Leaving Certificate, students are able to apply for courses from level 5 to level 8 (level 9 and 10 are Master’s and PHD courses for which a student needs a level 8 qualification). The NFQ allows students to use the system like a ladder; so whatever step you start on, you can move to a higher level and it can be done in a number of ways.

On entering the system at level 5, Post-Leaving Certificate students may use this qualification to move to higher education, mainly through the Higher Education Links Scheme. This scheme means that students are able to apply for places on CAO courses which includes level 8 courses. Applicants submit an application to the CAO by February 1st but there is no guarantee of a place. However, it does mean that students will have a chance to compete on the basis of their QQI qualification instead of their Leaving Cert results. At the moment, 642 CAO courses accept any QQI level 5 qualification for places. Some courses require the qualification to be in a specific area or that it contains certain subjects.

So students with a level 5 qualification have two ways in which to apply for a course; through the CAO, where their qualification is given a points score, or by applying for  a ‘linked’ course; where a number of places have been set aside for QQI (formerly FETAC) applicants.

Students who enter at level 6 in an IT frequently have the option of staying on in that institution to do a level 7 ‘add on year’ followed by a level 8 ‘add on year’. This means that a student can acquire a level 8 qualification in four years. As most level 8 (or honours degree courses) are four years in length, it is likely to take the student the same amount of time to reach level 8 as a student who enters on level 8. In many cases, a student will be required to achieve a certain grade in order to do the level 7 and 8 ‘add on years’.

Entering the system at level 7 and moving on to level 8 follows the same procedure as level 6 moving to level 7. A lot of the level 7 courses have an optional ’add on’ year to take them to level 8 and students need to enquire with the college or check the CAO handbook. The abbreviation DG in the handbook signifies that it is an Ordinary Degree course while HD signifies that the course has an option to add on a year to make it an Honours Degree. HC+DG+HD means that a course is a Higher Certificate with the option to do an Ordinary Degree and an Honours Degree.

For more information on the NFQ system check out the website or check below for an interactive fan diagram that clearly displays the different levels, award types and the awarding bodies.

nfq diagram

Fiona Mcbennett


ICT Summer Camps on the Agenda for 2nd Level Students

computer courses and IT trainingAdditional funding of €2.25 Million to boost ICT Skills development has been announced, with additional summer camps for second level students being developed, as well as up to 700 additional places on ICT courses. The Higher Education Authority (HEA) will write to higher education institutions to seek proposals for three calls:

  • Additional ICT Summer Camps for second level students,
  • Additional undergraduate places on core level 8 full-time courses
  • A call for full-time level 9 MSc computing courses.

Making the announcement, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD said:
“A goal of the Action Plan for Education is to build stronger bridges between education and the wider community, support learners to make informed career choices and enhance our capacity to meet national and regional skills needs.
“We want to give student’s access to higher education people and spaces to help stimulate their interest and understanding of what computing and ICT is all about. Through summer camps students get hands-on experience of a variety of activities like programming, coding, app design, digital media, web design, gaming and robotics. This can help children develop the computational, and flexible and creative thinking skills that are the basis of computer science and coding.
In 2016, the HEA provided funding to support 29 computing camps for over 1,245 students. Camps typically target transition year students and typically run for a week. Last year, 40% of participants in these ICT summer camps were girls – which is a great achievement.
We also have a target of providing an additional 700 places on computing courses in 2017/18 through the calls issuing today.”

Also speaking about the announcement, Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said:
“Through the implementation of the ICT Skills Action Plan 2014-2018 we are seeking to increase the supply of ICT Professionals to meet the continuing increase in demand for people with these skills.
Data shows that of our 2015 graduates at Honours Bachelor Degree level, Computer Science/ICT graduates are the highest earners, with 57 per cent earning €29,000 or more with 93% in employment or further study 9 months after graduation.
€2.25 million was ring-fenced in Budget 2017 to support these initiatives. The HEA is notifying the higher education institutions and the closing date for receipt of proposals is 18th April 2017.”

– See more at:

All Aboard 2017

all aboard 2017

Click image above to view Events

What is All Aboard 2017?

An initiative being co-run by The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and Ireland’s higher education institutions, All Aboard 2017 is a week-long (3-7 April 2017) series of national and regional public events designed to build confidence in Ireland’s digital skills for learning.

Who Can Participate in All Aboard 2017?

Anybody with an interest in developing their digital skills for learning- regardless of skill level – is invited to come on board All Aboard 2017.
The entire education sector – universities, institutes of technology, private colleges, further education and training colleges, adult literacy centres and every secondary and primary school in the country are a key target audience of the initiative. In addition, we have also mapped out a five-day itinerary for communities and parents who can get involved in e.g., our internet safety awareness drive -while as many people as possible from local businesses are being encouraged to get their companies and colleagues on board.

What’s On Offer?

National and regional events including fun activities, workshops, competitions, challenges, experiments, public lectures and much more are all designed to help build confidence in our digital skills for learning are on offer. Check out our Events section for the latest events listing in your area.

What’s the Background to All Aboard 2017?

All Aboard 2017 is based on The National Forum’s report “Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: A Roadmap for Enhancement in a Digital World 2015:2017” which made a key recommendation for ‘A co-ordinated, multi-level approach to foster digital literacy, skills and confidence among students at all levels of education…”. To access copy of the report click here. The initiative will build on the All Aboard Digital Skills Framework funded under the government’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement fund 2014 (

Click Here to View All Aboard 2017 Events

Training for the Civil Service

civil service training optionsIn 2014, Pascal Donohoe, then Minister for 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.

An EU position is one of many options to consider when it comes to a career in the civil service. There is no typical career path as the diverse range of roles, jobs and departments means that there is the opportunity to pursue a career that is best suited to the person’s own interests and strengths. Jobs can be based in an office, outdoors with groups of visitors or involve lots of meetings with clients. There are also opportunities to move internally within the public service and this can lead to increased responsibilities and earning potential.

To work in the civil service a candidate must have a first or second class honours degree and for EU positions, good communicative competence in an additional European language is also essential.  Specific skills needed are dependent on each area but general skills, such as problem solving, teamwork and good written and verbal communication skills, are needed across the board.

The main types of civil service jobs include a Clerical Officer, Executive Officer, Administrative Officer, Third Secretary/ Diplomat, as well as other professional and specialist roles including engineers, nurses, gardaí, psychologists, legal staff and scientists.

A Clerical Officer is often the first step in a career in the civil service. Clerical Officers work in all departments and provide a range of office duties. For graduates seeking this position, an administration course may be a good option. An Executive Officer, follows on from a Clerical Officer position and is a management role that includes project management and staff management. You can view some administration courses on offer on at the following link –

The next level is an Administrative Officer and this involves policy formation through research and critical analysis and can also involve drafting material for Ministers. This role is a great opportunity for honours graduates to begin working in the civil service. Another excellent position for graduates is the Third Secretary/ Junior Diplomat who initially work in the Department of Foreign affairs and before moving to an Irish Embassy or consulate.

The Public Appointments Service is the centralised recruitment provider for jobs in the civil service. The website is the main access route for those interested in a job in the public sector and candidates can access a list of positions available, the qualifications required and job details.

Author: Fiona McBennett

Cork Lifelong Learning Festival – April 2017

Cork Lifelong Learning FestivalMonday April 3 to Sunday April 9, 2017
Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival promotes and celebrates learning of all kinds across all age groups, abilities and interests, from preschool to post retirement.

The festival’s motto is Investigate – Participate – Celebrate!
Its aims are:

  • to celebrate those already participating in learning of all kinds;
  • to raise awareness of the huge range of options there are all over the city for others to get involved in learning.

Through a huge number of events, all free, the festival demonstrates the many opportunities for learning there are throughout Cork City & surrounding areas. It promotes the idea that learning is fun and is not necessarily about gaining a qualification, although it can be, but is also about making life more fulfilling and enjoyable.

More than 600 events of all kinds and all free will be offered during festival week in 2017. They include workshops & talks, tours & walks, visits to factories, training centres, boat trips, exhibitions, performances, outdoor & indoor activities … the list goes on.
The festival is organised by a steering committee which brings together all the learning stakeholders in the city. It’s part of the City Council’s strategy of making Cork a City of Learning.

Its success was recognised by UNESCO when Cork was one of the first 12 cities in the world to receive a Learning City Award in 2015.
Cork has been chosen by UNESCO to host its 3rd International Conference of Learning Cities in September this year. Quite a coup for such a small city – as the previous conferences were held in Beijing & Mexico City.
Programmes for the 14th festival are available at

Daily Programme information:

Oracle Certification

oracle coursesOracle has been leading the development of database software for over thirty years and has changed the face of business computing. Oracle certifications are highly regarded for their standards of excellence and expertise within the IT industry and at a time when the demand for IT professionals is high and the competition for jobs is strong; now is a perfect time to consider a certification that will provide an advantage.

Employers are looking for candidates with a strong skill set and knowledge of their field that will allow them to perform their best and benefit a company. With an Oracle certification, a candidate shows that they have a high standard of training that is industry recognised. The facts and figures speak for themselves; in an OCP survey of the thousands of certified members 97% reported that they had benefited from the certification, 96% said that they would recommend the programme to a colleague and 89% reported that they gained confidence in their expertise after their certification.

From an employer’s perspective the results are positive too; according to a study carried out by International Data Corporation, employees who had gained a certification handled 40% more calls than non-certified staff, companies who encouraged certification reported 49% less downtime and most of the companies surveyed reported that the savings from increased employee effectiveness paid for the certification fees in under 9 months.

Oracle offer a wide range of courses and in five different formats: classroom training, live virtual class, training on demand, self study courses and private events. Both Dorset College, Dublin and Griffin College, based nationwide, offer Oracle certifications in Ireland.

Dorset College offers classroom based courses such as an Oracle Certified Associate Java SE 6 course, covering the fundamentals of Java Programming Language, which is suitable for beginners to programming and taught on an evening part-time basis. An Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 7 Programmer course is also suitable for beginners to Java programming and taught on a part-time evening basis. For those with some basic knowledge and experience there is an Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6 Programmer course and an Oracle Database 11g Administrator Certified Associate course available on a part-time evening basis.

Griffin College offers a distance learning Oracle 10g PL/ SQL Course which is delivered through 3 DVDs of instructor led sessions and includes printable course work and live mentoring. The course is designed to provide the student with tools to tackle real-life business problems and is suitable for those who want to study on their own time. It is important to note that in this course, a student does not receive an Oracle certification until they have successfully completed an online examination.

View oracle Courses on –

For more information about Oracle Certifications visit the website:

Fiona McBennett