Technological Universities Get Green Light

technological universitiesThe Technological Universities Bill has now completed all stages, in both houses of the Oireachtas and will soon be signed into law.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said, “This is a transformative piece of legislation and I am delighted that we have got it over the line. The Technological Universities Bill is a high priority for Government and will radically change the higher education landscape.
“The legislation when enacted will underpin the development of a new type of higher education institution, building on the strengths and mission of institutes of technology to develop world class technological universities.”

She went on to say “The creation of technological universities provides the opportunity to drive regional development and provide more opportunities for individuals, enterprise and the community. These institutions will have significant impact and influence regionally, nationally and internationally.

The development is part of the 2018 Action plan for education which proposes the creation of several Technological Universities, linked to industry and with the capacity to create and retain jobs in regions. The plan features hundreds of actions, including the introduction of new subjects, reviews of existing initiatives & the creation of a teacher-supply steering group to support efforts to bridge shortfalls of teachers in certain second-level subjects, and the difficulty for primary schools in finding substitute teachers.

View the 2018 Action Plan for Education at

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Further Education and PLC Options

fe-collegesFurther Education provides a viable alternative to the CAO system, in terms of courses on offer, internationally recognisable qualifications and employment prospects. This sector comprises of education and training which occurs after second-level schooling but which is not part of the higher education system.

Further Education colleges offer Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) and are run by a wide range of public/private colleges and institutions – leading to awards validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), as well as other awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies. The courses are full-time and last for one or two years. Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Most qualifications are either NFQ Level 5 or 6 (On the National Framework of Qualifications). The next steps being, Level 7 or 8, (degree/honours degree, respectively) which are available in Higher Education Institutes, and which can be progressed to to via the Further Education sector.

The distinguishing features of FE colleges are their accessibility and links to the community, employers, higher education, schools, youth groups and other services. Their focus is on courses that are reflective of the needs of the community and where they view current/future skills shortage. Most courses have modules like work experience and communications built into them, to ensure that course participants are prepared and ready for work. The educational environment and atmosphere is also unique in the sense that it is conducive to the optimum learning experience, with small class sizes, and staff that have often vast personal work experience in the area they teach or lecture in.

The Further Education sector and the demand for course places continues to grow. Students regularly opt to apply for a college place in Further Education alongside their CAO application. Application is made directly to the individual college and there is no limit to the number of courses you can apply for.
further education and PLC colleges in Ireland
There are currently over 200 Further Education Providers in Ireland. The demand for places come from both secondary school leavers; who apply to enhance their employment prospects or to progress to higher education,  and adults returning to education who may not have completed their leaving certificate. There are any number of reasons why students choose Further Education Colleges; of course, the main reasons are that FE providers can offer you that stepping stone to further and higher education, via The Higher Education Links Scheme, where specific FE courses are linked to higher education courses or The Pilot Scheme, whereby FE applicants’ results are converted into a separate points scheme, and they may be eligible for offers of places on a wider variety of third level courses.

A FE qualification is industry/service specific – therefore enabling you to target employment in areas where you are competent and qualified in.  It is important to remember that some FE colleges have their own agreed progression agreements with their local ITs. Some students presenting with certain Level 6 awards can go straight into a Level 7 (degree course) related course in an IT. UK colleges have also established links with Further Education Colleges in Ireland. If you are considering using the FE route to gain access to a Higher Education course, research what links are in place, if further education applicants are considered, and if there are reserved places on offer.

The general entry requirement is with a Leaving Certificate or equivalent or work/life experience – depending on the course being applied for. Most courses require an interview and some courses will look for a portfolio if relevant to the course being applied for. In terms of financial support – students are entitled to apply for the means tested maintenance grant.

There are an extensive range of course on offer, from Business, Art, Sport and Leisure, Child Care, Horticulture to IT, to name but a few. New courses are continually being devised and ran to reflect our changing economic environment and to address areas with skills shortages. This sector of education have become leaders in delivering courses in childcare, community care, sport and leisure, tourism along with others. Employers know the educational attainments of employees they hire when they come through this standardised system of education.  Candidates must reach a certain standard of educational attainment in terms of modules completed in order to be accredited with their QQI award.

There are numerous Further Education Colleges in various locations around Ireland. Some examples of these are listed below;

Kinsale College in Cork offers a range of PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Childcare, Drama and Acting, Environmental, Fitness and Health, Hotel and Catering, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare and more.

Dunboyne College in Meath also offers a wide range of PLC courses. The specialist areas covered by Dunboyne college are listed below..
Animal Care, Arts and Humanities, Business and Accounting, Childcare, Computers and IT Training, Fitness and Health, Hair and Beauty, Hotel and Catering, Legal, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare, Music and Sound Engineering, Personal Development, Sales, Marketing and PR, Science, Social Studies, Travel and Tourism.

St Louis Community School in Mayo has an outstanding and long tradition of providing full and part-time courses for school leavers and adults. The college offers daytime courses in 5 fields (Sport, Childcare, Hairdressing and Beauty, Business and Nursing and Health) leading to 9 Awards at QQI level 5 or level 6.

Stillorgan College in Dublin caters for school leavers and adult learners offering a range of further education and PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Computers and IT Training, Literature and Journalism, Media, Art and Design, Travel and Tourism.

Blackrock Institute of Further Education offers further education and PLC courses in a wide array of subjects such as Arts and Humanities, Built Environment, Business and Accounting, Computers and IT Training, Financial, Fitness and Health, Hair and Beauty, Health and Safety, Horticulture and Landscaping, Legal, Media, Art and Design, Psychology, Sales, Marketing and PR, Social Studies.

Portobello Institute, one of Ireland’s leading private training colleges prides itself on offering intensive post leaving certificate training to students of all ages. Established in 1981, the Institute has successfully established itself within the market place as an exceptional college choice with notable success rates. The college offers a number of full time, part time and distant learning courses covering Montessori & Special Needs, Creative Studies, Beauty Therapy, Sports Therapy & Health related studies, Business and Travel & Tourism – all of which encompass the necessary educational and life skills necessary to succeed in any of these areas.

Moate Business College in the midlands offers a lot more than just business courses. Since opening in 1991 the college have developed a wide range of Further Education courses in response to demand both at local and national level.  The College is renowned throughout the midlands for the quality of its job related courses.

All FE colleges have services, supports and facilities that one would expect from a third level provider – just on a smaller scale. Further education providers are quite holistic in their approach to education – after all their aim is to ensure candidates reach their full potential and are prepared in every way for the world of work or to progress onwards to higher education.

Whether you want to test out a career area before committing to a degree programme with a Higher Education Provider or perhaps you want to gain key transferable skills to enhance your job prospects – further education could be your answer. There are many successful professionals in the work place today who got a second chance of fulfilling their career goals via the FE system when they couldn’t reach the minimum requirements or points for the CAO requirements. Yes, there are Physical Education teachers that have come through the FE system; there are nurses in hospitals that used FE colleges as a stepping stone to their Nursing Degree. There are also many students in Higher Education Institutes studying honours degree programme or for a masters, who have come from the classrooms of further education colleges.

Further Education providers are fulfilling their ultimate educational objectives. Surveys and statistics highlight this, many graduates go directly into employment, while many others go into higher education in Ireland or abroad.

View more Further Education Colleges at the following link;

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Dublin South East Community Training Centre

DSECTCDublin South East Community Training Centre (DSECTC) offers second chance education for young people between the ages of 16 and 21 years, who may have left school early or need to acquire new skills. DSECTC, formerly known as Ringsend CTC, formed in 1986 to provide accredited training programmes. These programmes are funded and supported by the City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB), and trainees will have access to a training allowance.

The four QQI accredited Level 4 Major Award Courses on offer are:

  • ECDL and Information & Communications Technology
  • Digital Media & Photography
  • Sports & Health Related Fitness
  • Retail Skills

There are additional supports provided in the form of literacy & numeracy support, counselling service and advocacy as well as links with other local supports. Successful graduates can access Level 5 PLC courses, apprenticeships or often go into full-time employment.

Applicants must be between 16 and 21 years of age. To apply please contact DSECTC on 01-6728882 or You can find more information at

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Adult Learners Festival, March 2018

adult learners festival

The Adult Learners’ Festival is a nationwide celebration of adult learning coordinated by AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation.

Over the past twelve years the Festival has become a firm fixture on the adult learning calendar with thousands of events taking place nationwide, including: information sessions, taster workshops, sample lectures and small gatherings of people who love to learn.

The 2018 Festival takes place from the 5th – 9th March 2018. It aims to encourage Irish adults to explore the local learning options available to them through a week-long programme of events and workshops throughout the country.

This year AONTAS is collaborating with the Belfast Festival of Learning to highlight their programme of events and to ensure an all island approach. Love Lifelong Learning The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Love Lifelong Learning’ – #LoveLifelongLearning. As national coordinating body for the European Agenda for Adult Learning (EAAL), AONTAS’ work is focused on increasing, and widening particpation in lifelong learning. 

The Aim of the Adult Learners’ Festival:

  • To celebrate adult learning and the achievements of adult learners
  • To promote the work of further, adult and community education
  • To showcase the important work of adult learning providers
  • To ensure that the adult learner is at the centre of adult learning policy

Attend an Event
Adult learners can attend a wide variety of events listed on the Adult Learners Festival website at

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Train The Trainer Course Galway

train the trainer course in GalwayWant to quickly improve your Training Skills?
Then why not sign up for the short accredited Train the Trainer course in NUI Galway this March.

This Train the Trainer programme is a 12 week part-time, flexible course that involves home study and the attendance at four workshops – 1st & 2nd March and 15th & 16th March in NUI Galway.

Four Reasons to do this course

  1. Accreditation: This is a formally accredited 10 credit module at Level 7 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Other Train the Trainer courses are offered at Level 6.
  2. Quality: The Train the Trainer Module is recognised across a range of training and educational sectors.
  3. Flexibility: This course lasts for 12 weeks with a four-day face-to-face workshop commitment.
  4. Timeliness: The Train the Trainer course runs in spring and offers an opportunity for you to kick-start your professional development in a calm(er) time of the year! You can also progress to further part-time training courses in September.

What will I learn on this course?
The course covers the following competencies:

  • The context of training
  • Planning for training
  • Training needs analysis
  • Designing and developing training content and materials
  • Delivering training
  • Communication skills
  • Training approaches and methods
  • Group management skills
  • Evaluation and assessment strategies
  • Quality assurance in training and education
  • Explain the importance of quality systems in training

Cost: €850

For more information contact Berna using the details below..
Berna Morgan, Centre for Adult Learning & Professional Development
Phone: 091 494055

View more courses on offer from NUIG Adult Education at..

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Student Numbers Top 225,000

student stats

The latest publication of “Key Facts and Figures” shows that student numbers at publicly funded universities, institutes and colleges in Ireland totalled 225,628 in 2016/17.

With the number of full time undergraduate students having increased by 10% over the last five years, over 6% of the country’s adult population is now enrolled in a higher education programme.

undergraduate statistics

The continued growth in higher education participation saw graduate numbers at all levels reach a record 69,633 last year.

Speaking about the report, HEA Chief Executive, Dr. Graham Love, said, “The higher education system continued to expand last year, resulting in more graduates who can continue to help drive Ireland’s economic and social development. This is against an ongoing difficult financial backdrop.”

Other interesting figures in the Report –

  • Arts and Humanities courses (19%) still attract more new entrants than any other field.
  • 80% of all students are full time with 17% part time and 3% remote (online or distance education).
  • On full time courses, women marginally outnumber men at undergraduate level (51% to 49%) but that grows to a 55% to 45% gap at postgraduate level. On part-time courses, while at undergraduate level, men have a slight majority (51% to 49%), this changes to 57% to 43% in favour of women at postgraduate level.
  • There are now over 24,000 staff employed across higher education institutions.

View the full report at

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GMIT Collaboration with ETBs to Promote Further Education Options

GMIT CollegeGalway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) has announced a new partnerships with two Education and Training Boards (ETBs), aimed at improving access to third-level courses in GMIT for Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) and Further Education (FE) students in the region.

The new agreements with the Galway and Roscommon Education & Training Board (GRETB) and the Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education & Training Board (MSLETB) commit to promoting and improving equity of access and seamless progression from FE courses to third-level courses in GMIT’s Galway and Mayo campuses.

Equity of access to higher education is a core objective nationally. The vision for the Higher Education Authority’s National Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015-19 is to ensure that the student body entering, participating in and completing higher education at all levels reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population. This is a vision shared by the ETBs and GMIT in this agreement.

The new collaboration will involve aligning Level 6 ETB courses with GMIT courses, to allow FE students advanced entry directly into second year of their GMIT programme.

Dr Fergal Barry, President of GMIT, says: “These agreements are in line with GMIT’s current strategic plan to promote and facilitate access, progression and transfer, and also in line with the Higher Education System Performance Framework which has, as one of its objectives, to “significantly improve the equality of opportunity through Education and Training and recruits a student body that reflects the diversity and social mix of Ireland’s population”. GMIT is proud of its record to date in providing equality of opportunity to diverse student cohorts and we have the ambition of significantly growing the number of Further Education students attending GMIT as a result of these new collaborations.”

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CAO Timetable 2018

With the CAO deadline on February 1st as the closing date for applications, now might be a good time to review the other important dates on the CAO calender for 2018. The table below outlines the timeframe for amending course choices, registering for PAS, HPAT tests (nursing and medicine students only) & completing HEAR/DARE forms (for socio-economically disadvantaged & disabled applicants). For more details check out the CAO website at

6th November (12:00) CAO online application facility opens.
CAO Change of Course choices facility opens
20th January (17:15) Apply online by this date to avail of the discounted application fee of €25.
1st February (17:15) Normal closing date for applications.
5th February (12:00) Online facility to amend course choices becomes available (€10 Fee)
Before 15th February Paper Applicants will be sent a Statement of Course Choices
(Contact CAO if you do not receive it)
Between 2nd February and 22nd February Registration for Mature Nursing Test (PAS)
24th February HPAT Test – Undergraduate Entry to Medicine
1st March (17:15) Closing date for amending course choices
Closing date for final completion of online HEAR/DARE forms
3rd March MSAP Test – For mature applicants to certain courses in UCD, UCC, UL and NUI Galway
24th March GAMSAT Test – Graduate Entry to Medicine
1st April (17:15) Latest date for HEAR/DARE supporting documentation to arrive in CAO
TBC Mature Nursing Test (PAS)
1st May (17:15) Closing date for late applications
5th May (12:00) Online Change of Mind facility becomes available (Free)
Before 15th May Late Paper Applicants will be sent a Statement of Course Choices
(Contact CAO if you do not receive it)
Before End of May Statement of Application Record sent to all applicants
(Contact CAO if you do not receive it)
1st July (17:15) Change of Mind closes
Early July Round A offers for certain Non-Standard categories of applicants – applicants receive an offer by post, by e-mail and SMS text
22nd July (17:15) Exceptional closing date for late applications for those already attending a participating HEI
Early August Round 0 offers for certain Non-Standard categories of applicant – applicants receive an offer by post, by e-mail and SMS text
Mid-August Current year Leaving Certificate results issued
20th August Round 1 offers available from 06:00 online – also issued by post, e-mail and SMS text.
Applicants who have not received an offer will receive a Statement of Application Record
24th August Round 1 Acceptances closing date (17:15).
29th August Round 2 offers available from 10:00 online.
31st August Round 2 Acceptances Closing Date (17:15).
Early September HEIs begin registration
Early October Results of Leaving Certificate appeals released
17th October (17:15) Offer Season Ends.
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Urban Areas Employ Majority of University Graduates

graduates-reportDublin and Cork are where most Irish university graduates are employed nine months after graduation as evidence shows that the employment prospects for those with a higher education qualification continues to improve. These are amongst the findings in the latest First Destinations Report (link below), a survey of over 18,000 graduates from the class of 2016, published recently by the Higher Education Authority.

The study shows that 54% of those who graduated from an Irish university with a degree in 2016 are now employed in Ireland, 8% are employed overseas, 31% are in further studies, 3% are unavailable for work and under 5% are currently seeking employment. However, there are significant regional variations in where graduates are employed.

Of all those in employment, 42% are in the Dublin region and 17% in the South West (Cork & Kerry). The regional disparity is highlighted when we see that just 4% of all graduates find employment in the South East; 3% in the Border region and only 2% in the Midlands. While the study does not include graduates from the Institutes of Technology which are significant players in regional development, there is concern that more university graduates are not being employed in broader regional areas.

The general trend in improved employment prospects for graduates has been holding up however and the proportion of graduates now finding work in Ireland is back at pre-recession levels.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Graham Love, Chief Executive of the HEA, said,

“The evidence continues to point to a higher education qualification meaning that you are less likely to be unemployed and tend to have a higher starting salary. There is a challenge, however, for us to create more graduate employment opportunities outside of Dublin and Cork in order to ensure better regional development.”

Dr. Love pointed to the planned development of Technological Universities as one element in addressing this.

The First Destinations study will be extended to cover Institutes of Technology from this year.

Full Report available at

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Eurostudent Survey of Higher Education Students in Ireland

student survey IrelandA new report report, which presents the findings of the sixth Eurostudent survey of over 20,000 higher education students in Ireland, provides a wealth of internationally comparable demographic, economic and social data. This data provides insights into the quality of life of the increasingly diverse student population in Irish higher education.

Findings of the report included the following points..

  • High levels of overall student satisfaction with the quality of teaching the timetabling of studies and the facilities of the institution.
  • Furthermore, students appear to have a clear understanding of what is expected of them from their institution.
  • Students also report high levels of ‘fitting into’ higher education and appear to have few doubts that higher education was the right choice for them. This is further demonstrated by most students reporting that they would recommend their choice of programme to other students.

Eurostudent is a network of researchers and data collectors, representative of national ministries and other stakeholders who have joined forces to examine the social and economic conditions of student life in higher education systems in Europe.

The main aim of the Eurostudent project is to collate comparable data from 26 countries on the social dimension of European higher education. Eurostudent is a network of researchers and data collectors, representative of national ministries and other stakeholders who have joined forces to examine the social and economic conditions of student life in higher education systems in Europe

The Irish study is overseen by the HEA on behalf of the Department and was undertaken by Insight Consultants. This publication will include information collated from higher education institutes on the social dimension of higher education in Ireland as provided by a survey completed by students.

It focuses on the socio-economic background and on the living conditions of students. It also investigates other interesting aspects of student life such as international mobility and employment during term-time.

This report provides results from over 20,000 students attending higher education institutions in Ireland and provides insightful information relating to the demographic profile of students, course characteristic, entry routes, accommodation, employment and other relevant issues on student life. The information collated helps us to comprehend more succinctly the quality of life of the increasingly diverse student population in Irish higher education and how this influences their learning experience.

The findings cover areas such as demographics, course characteristics, disability, college entry route, income and expenditure, accommodation, employment and student.

View the full report at;

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What is Erasmus Plus?

Erasmus plusErasmus+ is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for the years 2014 to 2020. It provides funding and support for organisations to operate projects consistent with its objectives and which encourage European exchange, co-operation and learning. Erasmus+ is funded by the European Union through the contributions of member states, including Ireland. Funding of almost €170 million has been allocated to Ireland for the duration of the programme.

Erasmus+ funding is available to all sectors (or fields) of formal, informal and non-formal education. Structurally, Erasmus+ is divided into three ‘Key Actions’ describing the kind of project activities possible.

What are the programme objectives?

Erasmus+ aims to modernise and improve the quality of teaching, training and youth work across Europe, and to support the development, transfer and implementation of innovative practices. These objectives are closely tied with the Europe 2020 strategy of achieving a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020 for all of Europe’s citizens. Fundamental goals for Erasmus+ include improving key competences and skills, and fostering partnerships between education and employment. The programme also seeks to promote European values as stated in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union: respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Who can participate?

Erasmus+ is open to private or public organisations active in the fields of adult education, higher education, school education, sport, vocational education and training, and youth and community work, in any participating country. While the programme enables individuals to travel, work, volunteer and study abroad, project applications from individuals themselves are not accepted. However, individuals may apply to attend Transnational Cooperation Activities with the support of their organisations.

Management and Structure

Management of the programme is divided between the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DGEAC) of the European Commission, and National Agencies in the participating countries. Léargas ( is the Irish National Agency for Erasmus+ in the adult education, school education, vocational education and training, and youth fields. For third level higher level education Erasmus+ is dealt with by the HEA (Higher Education Authority) (

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Engage ’18 – Galway, Adult Learning Event

Engage GalwayFor those interested in up-skilling, changing careers, or are unsure about what study option to take, Engage ’18 takes place on Saturday, 27th January in the Connacht Hotel, Dublin Road, Galway, from 10-1pm. 

Following its success in 2017, this unique event is back this year and brings together further and higher education providers with representatives from GMIT, GRETB and NUI Galway.

This event focuses on adult learners and brings together careers advisors and educational providers in the Galway region. One-to-one consultations are available for those who wish to speak directly with a career counsellor.

engage galway

Representatives from the following Industry areas will attend Engage ‘18 to provide advice on career options in a diverse range of areas. The focus will be on employability, job categories and specific skill sets employers are seeking.

Industry areas include:

  • Medical Devices
  • Construction
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Business and Sales
  • Creative Arts
  • Information Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Apprenticeships
  • Healthcare
  • Social Impact field

Representatives from GRETB Apprenticeship team will also be on hand on the day with information on the full range of over 40 apprenticeships/traineeships in a range of sectors including Construction, Electrical, Engineering, Finance, IT, Hospitality and Motor.


Representatives from the Regional Skills Forum West, Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board and NUI Galway will be available to discuss further education and support options for those who wish to return to further education and training. Additionally, representatives from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) will be available to discuss any queries on grants, funding and entitlements you may have.

REGISTRATION Registration to attend Engage ‘18 is free and may be done online at the link below.

NB: One-to-one consultations are made on a first come, first served basis on the day so come early to avoid disappointment.

Where: Connacht Hotel, Old Dublin Road, Galway.

When: Saturday 27 January, 2018 from 10.00 – 1.00pm

Find out more:

Register today:

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PLC Programmes Lead to Positive Outcomes but Lacking in Terms of Labour Market Needs

plc courses not matching labour needsNew ESRI research finds that PLC courses have positive outcomes for students in terms of accessing employment and progressing to higher education. However, the study finds that PLC courses could be more responsive to changing labour market needs. The types of courses have not changed over time despite dramatic changes in the types of jobs available in Ireland.

Approximately 32,000 learners are currently enrolled in Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, the largest component of full-time further education and training in Ireland. New research from the ESRI shows that PLC courses enhance employment chances and progression to higher education for learners but could be made more responsive to a changing labour market. The study is based on new surveys of PLC principals and PLC and Leaving Certificate leavers.

Outcomes for PLC learners

  • PLC learners were 16 per cent more likely to be in employment and 27 per cent more likely to have progressed to higher education after completing their courses than those who left education after the Leaving Certificate and had similar characteristics.

PLC programme objectives

  • PLC courses serve a number of objectives: vocational education and training for young people, second-chance education for older adults, and a progression route into higher education.
  • A stronger distinction is required between programmes focused on preparing students for immediate entry to the labour market and those where the emphasis is on facilitating progression to higher education.

PLC and the labour market

  • The types of PLC courses offered have not changed markedly over time even though there has been a dramatic shift in the kinds of jobs available in the Irish labour market. Decisions around which course to offer tend to be driven by student demand rather than skill needs in the economy. There is therefore a need to develop systems to ensure that those PLC courses focused on the labour market are aligned with employer requirements and responsive to changing labour market needs.
  • Employer engagement at local level is crucial. Around half of PLC principals report that their staff meets with local employers frequently (at least three times a year) but this is less common for smaller PLC providers.
  • Not all PLC learners feel prepared for the world of work. Over a fifth report not having taken part in a work experience placement during the course of their studies. Almost a third felt that their learning did not contribute to their employability and a quarter considered that they did not acquire job-related knowledge and skills.

Characteristics and experiences of PLC students

  • One of the goals of PLC provision is to facilitate social inclusion. PLC learners are more likely to be from less educated family backgrounds, are more likely to be older and have children, and have a higher incidence of special educational needs than those who go on directly to higher education. Thus, PLC provision tends to provide access to educational opportunities for a socially diverse group.
  • PLC students were largely satisfied with the relevance of courses and the vast majority felt their teachers and tutors had the required knowledge and were supportive.
  • PLC courses are still seen as a compromise, in a context of not achieving sufficient grades to pursue higher education, highlighting the continued lower status of further education in Ireland.
  • Financial challenges constituted the single greatest difficulty for PLC students, largely because of less financial support from family and a higher incidence of caring responsibilities (compared to higher education students) which restricted their employment opportunities.

Professor Seamus McGuinness, an author of the report, said that: ‘The findings show positive outcomes for those who have completed PLC courses. At the same time, more could be done to ensure that PLC provision responds to on-going changes in the Irish labour market. It is also important to challenge the idea that PLC courses are ‘second-best’ compared to higher education.’

View the full report at

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Computer Science Subject to be added to Leaving Cert Curriculum

Computer Science Leaving Cert SubjectMinister for Education, Richard Bruton has announced that 40 post primary schools around the country will start studying Leaving Certificate Computer Science from September 2018 and will be the first to sit an exam in the subject in 2020.

The introduction of Computer Science as a Leaving Certificate subject is part of the Government’s overall commitment to embed digital technology in teaching and learning. This announcement is one of a range of actions being taken in this area, as outlined in the STEM strategy and Action Plan for Education, which aims to make Ireland the best education and training service in Europe by 2026. It also complements other curricular changes being implemented such as introducing coding and computational thinking as part of the new maths curriculum for primary schools.

Computer Science for Leaving Certificate focuses on how programming and computational thinking can be applied to the solution of problems, and how computing technology impacts the world around us.

Students will learn

  • Computational thinking
  • How to analyse problems in computational terms
  • Programming languages and how to read, write, test and modify computer programs
  • Creative design
  • Design computational artefacts such as web pages, digital animations, simulations, games, apps and robotic systems
  • The ethical, historical, environmental and technological aspects of Computer Science, and how it impacts the social and economic development of society.

The 40 schools announced today will begin studying the subject from September 2018 and are listed below.

Abbey Vocational School
The Glebe, Donegal Town, Co. Donegal

Adamstown Community College
Station Rd, Adamstown, Co. Dublin

Breifne College
Cootehill Rd, Cavan, Co. Cavan

Bush Post Primary
Riverstown, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Carrigaline Community School
Waterpark, Carrigaline, Co. Cork

Castleblayney College
Dublin Road, Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan

Christ King Girls Secondary School
Half Moon Lane, South Douglas Road, Cork

Clongowes Wood College
Clane, Co. Kildare

Coláiste an Chraoibhin
Duntaheen Road, Fermoy, Co. Cork

Coláiste Bríde
New Road, Clondalkin, Dublin 22

Coláiste Chiaráin
Croom, Co. Limerick

Coláiste Choilm
Ballincollig, Co. Cork

Coláiste Mhuire
Mullingar, Co. Westmeath

Coláiste na Ríochta
Listowel, Co. Kerry

Colaiste Phadraig
Roselawn, Lucan, Co. Dublin

Coláiste Pobail Setanta
Phibblestown CC, Phibblestown, Dublin 15

Creagh College
Carnew Road, Gorey, Co. Wexford

Dominican College Sion Hill
Sion Hill, Blackrock, Co Dublin

Ennistymon Vocational School
Ennistymon, Ennis, Co. Clare

Gaelcholaiste Mhuire AG
An Mhainistir Thuaidh, Corcaigh

Le Chéile Secondary School
Hollystown Road, Tyrellstown, Dublin 15

Loreto College
Swords, Co. Dublin

Luttrellstown Community College
Mill Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

Mayfield Community School
Old Youghal Road, Mayfield, Cork

Moate Community School
Church Street, Moate, Co. Westmeath

Mount Sion CBS
Barrack Street, Waterford

Mount Temple Comprehensive
Malahide Road, Dublin 3

Presentation Secondary school
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary

Rice College
Castlebar Road, Westport, Co. Mayo

Sacred Heart Secondary School
Convent of Mercy, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

Saint Eunan’s College
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

St Aidan’s Comprehensive School
Cootehill, Co. Cavan

St Brigids Mercy Secondary School
Convent Of Mercy, Tuam, Co. Galway

St Joseph’s Secondary School
Convent Lane, Rush, Co. Dublin

St Mary’s CBS
Millpark Road, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

St Vincent’s Secondary School
Seatown Place, Dundalk, Co. Louth

St. Finian’s Community College
Swords, Co. Dublin

Stratford College
1 Zion Road, Rathgar, Dublin 6

Synge St CBS
Synge St., Dublin 8

Terenure College
Templeogue Road, Terenure, Dublin 6W

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Part Time Courses at Community & Comprehensive Schools

evening classes at Community SchoolsThere are numerous Community and Comprehensive Schools in Ireland which run a range of adult education evening and night classes at this time of year. Everything from art  to zumba will be available in many of these schools, with a variety of QQI (formerly FETAC) courses on offer for adults who want to pick up formal qualifications and boost their employability. There will also be plenty on offer for those who wish to take up a new hobby or get fit in the company of others with dance or yoga classes.

Most classes run in the evenings, though some schools also run day-time and weekend courses.

Schools running QQI certified adult education courses – ranging from full level 5 and level 6 qualifications in Health Care Support, Animal Care, Special Needs Assisting and Early Childhood Care to component modules in Train the Trainer, Mental Health Awareness and Safety and Health at Work – include Carrigaline Community School, Kinsale Community School (Cork); Cabinteely Community School, Donahies Community School (Dublin); Scoil Mhuire Clane, Colaiste Chiaran Leixlip (Kildare); O’Fiaich Institute Dundalk (Louth); Boyne Community School (Meath) and Gorey Community School (Wexford).

​You can complete the full ECDL qualification at Cabinteely CS, Donahies CS, Gorey CS, Palmerstown CS, Scoil Mhuire Clane while ECDL Essentials is run at Ashbourne CS, Boyne CS, Newpark CS and St Colmcille’s CS. NUI Maynooth certified courses in Local History (Old Bawn Community School), Addiction Studies (Donahies Community School), Community Development and Leadership (Donahies ) and Psychology (Old Bawn, Donahies) are also available.

​O’Fiaich Institute and Scoil Mhuire Clane run a range of ITEC Beauty courses, you can gain Irish Academy of Public Relations qualifications at Old Bawn Community School, O’Fiaich Institute, Malahide Community School and Hartstown Community School, while you can gain CompTIA certification and Microsoft office Specialist status at Scoil Mhuire in Clane. Irish Sign Language Association certificate courses are run at Old Bawn Community School; St Tiernan’s Community School offers IPAS Certificate in Payroll Technician, and you can undertake the Primary Course in Food Safety at Boyne Community School in Trim. Many schools also run certified First Aid courses.

Most of these schools runs an Art class, a Computer course and a Cookery course. ​Pilates, Yoga, Pottery, Patchwork, Digital Photography, Music, Mindfulness, Genealogy, Pottery and Language classes are also popular.

Evening Classes at Malahide Community School
Walk-in enrolment for all classes:
Monday 22nd January 2018 — 7.30 – 9.00pm
Students can meet the course tutors at this session. Complimentary tea/coffee will also
be available at this enrolment/open evening.
NB. Staff are not available to take enrolment outside of these listed times.
Online Enrolment at
Classes begin week starting:
29th January 2018 and last for 10 weeks unless otherwise stated.

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