CAO 2014

cao 2014On November 5th at 12pm the CAO opened it’s application process for 2014. This year applicants are advised to apply online where possible and are advised against leaving the application until near the closing dates. Other advice includes trying to have it in no later than one week prior to a closing date. The closing dates are as follows: 20th January 2014 for an online discounted rate of €25, 1st February 2014 for the normal application rate of €40 or a late application on  1st May for €50. There is also a change of mind option, with no fee, on 1st July 2014.

So even if the application gets left until a week before the first closing date of 20th January, there is still plenty of time over the next few weeks and months for those important decisions. There is plenty to choose from and every year there are new courses added to the selection. Here is a round up of just some of the new courses that are on offer this year:

Ÿ       Bioveterinary Science (Athlone IT)

Ÿ       Business with Business Psychology (College of Humanities and Applied Sciences)

Ÿ       Languages and International Tourism (Chinese) (DIT)

Ÿ       Creative Music Production (IADT)

Ÿ       International Hospitality Management (Griffith College)

Ÿ       Process Engineering Systems (IT Carlow)

Ÿ       Human Nutrition and Health (IT Sligo)

Ÿ       Culinary Arts and Food Technology (Letterkenny IT)

Ÿ       Industrial Electrical Engineering (Limerick IT)

Ÿ       Digital Marketing with Social Media (Tralee IT)

Ÿ       Criminology (UCC) (NUI)

With all the choice that is out there, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which course is best for you. That is where a school guidance counsellor can play an important role. A lot of guidance counsellors will have already made appointments with each of their 6th years and these appointments are a great time for discussing any questions you may have, as well as your individual needs and plans for the future. It is a good idea to set out a plan for the meeting before meeting with a guidance professional, noting any specific questions you want to discuss, so that you get the most out of your meeting. Of course, there will be the option of scheduling further meetings after the initial one, depending on how sure you are about possible choices. Keep in mind that the guidance counsellor is also there to support you should you feel stressed about exams or decisions.

Open days are another great way to help making a decision as you can get a feel for a college, the course and meet lecturers and students. It can be difficult to choose a course based on viewing a college website or hearsay so sometimes it can be best to see somewhere for yourself to know if it’s right for you. Every college holds an open day at various stages throughout the year and they are well worth going to. Keep an eye out on college websites for details and your school and guidance counsellor will also keep you up to date.

Although the CAO system is the most popular way for gaining entry into third level education; it is not the only way. It is a good idea as you plan your educational future, to have some alternative plans in place as a back up should you not get an offer through the CAO. It can be worthwhile considering studying in the UK by applying through UCAS, the British admissions service for students applying to study. Application closing dates are either 15th January 2014 6pm or 24th March 2104 6pm, depending on what course you have chosen. Check out for more details.

Alternative options closer to home include PLCs; they provide a FETAC qualification which is internationally recognised and are one to two years in length. A pass in the Leaving Certificate is necessary to apply but it is not based on the same points system as the CAO. Applications are made to the course provider and there is also an interview to determine the applicant’s suitability. Examples of courses on offer are fashion, hairdressing and business studies, with many course giving the student the option to continue their studies in a university or institute of technology. There are also a wide range of online training courses available as well as places in private colleges such a Griffith College, where there are many of courses on offer that are not listed on the CAO.

So get your thinking cap on over the coming months and try to consider all your options, talk to your guidance counsellor and get your applications in on time; the future is yours!

Fiona McBennett

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Computer Programming in Schools Takes Step Closer

computer-programmingThe introduction of computer programming in Irish schools has taken a step forward with the release for consultation of a draft short course in programming and coding, developed by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) in collaboration with Lero, the Irish Software Engineering Research Centre.

The draft course is now available for public consultation on the NCCA website at http://www.juniorcycle/consultations. Feedback and comment is welcomed by both Lero and the NCCA during the consultation until the end of November 2013.The aim is that the course will eventually be introduced for first year students in 2014.

The development of the course to date has included commissioned work by Lero, input from teachers, lecturers and industry practitioners. “We believe that it is a major breakthrough that the core components of computer science are coming to Irish classrooms in the form of a short course,” said Clare McInerney, Education and Outreach Officer in Lero. “Its introduction will allow more and more schools to provide an exciting and engaging computing experience to their students and inspire the next generation of software engineers.”

“Because of the lack of a computer programming course in schools, many students are unprepared when they take computing at third level resulting in high drop out rates. This is acting as a block to the supply of much needed computer graduates,” added Professor Mike Hinchey, director, Lero.

Mr Sean Sherlock TD, Minister for Research and Innovation, welcomed the consultation of the junior cycle short course in programming/coding. “Enhancing the awareness and knowledge of computing at junior cycle in our post-primary schools is a brand new endeavour in the Irish education system,” said the Minister. “We are looking forward to seeing students and teachers embarking on this innovative computing journey in schools which will better prepare our children for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

Lero ( brings together researchers in the University of Limerick, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, and Dundalk Institute of Technology and is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and other Irish and international agencies.

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Education NewsApprenticeship Scheme Review
Education News
Apprenticeships are a popular method of training for crafts people in Ireland. Aimed at developing the skills needed to meet the requirements of the labour and industry market, the main craft trades are the construction sector, electrical sector, motor sector, engineering sector and printing sector. The training is regulated by legislation and FÁS/Solas is currently the regulatory body.

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Featured Educator Dorset College
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Dorset College offers a wide range of career focused courses. This includes Accounting and Finance, Business and Management, Computers and Information Technology, Multimedia-Game and Animination Development Courses also Web design, Law and Forensic Psychology and Montessori, Childcare and Healthcare courses…

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Diploma | BSc Science and Technology

Diploma | BSc Science and Technology , Distance Learning

The Atlantic University Alliance (AUA), comprising NUI Galway, the University of Limerick and University College Cork, gives you a new, innovative modular Diploma and Degree programme in Science and Technology Studies. This programme in Science and Technology Studies is the only of its kind in Ireland. Learning is delivered via a combination of distance and online resources, on-campus tutorials and practical sessions, and company-based projects.

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Early Childhood Studies and Practice (Certificate, Diploma, Degree)

Early Childhood Studies and Practice (Certificate, Diploma, Degree) , NUI Galway

The Diploma/BA has been developed to meet the identified needs of practitioners in the childcare sector who wish to pursue further education and training in a flexible manner, complimenting and supporting continued employment. This programme of study builds on practical experience, enhancing the learner’s skills through exposure to theory, policy, research and work-based learning opportunities.

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Category Focus Sports and Fitness
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Interested in becoming a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer or Nutritionist? If so, why not check out our Fitness and Health Category on Our Fitness and Health Articles also give information on fitness training options in Sports Therapy, Massage Training and more..
Featured Article Microsoft MTA Certification
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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.

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College Open Days
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Pitman Training, 28 Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Galway
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Apprenticeship Scheme Review

apprenticeships IrelandApprenticeships are a popular method of training for crafts people in Ireland. Aimed at developing the skills needed to meet the requirements of the labour and industry market, the main craft trades are the construction sector, electrical sector, motor sector, engineering sector and printing sector. The training is regulated by legislation and FÁS/Solas is currently the regulatory body.

On May 19th this year the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, announced a review of apprenticeships in Ireland so as to develop more of a focus on work-based learning and on the current needs of the labour market. A review group has been created to work on the changes and there is a request from the Department of Education for submissions from organisations or people who have an interest in the area.

While there are some benefits of the current apprenticeship model, such as the high levels of satisfaction between learners and employers within the programme and the provision of an alternative path to higher education for those who may not have completed their leaving certificates, there are drawbacks to the existing model too. Costs when compared to international apprenticeship programmes, the economic downturn leaving many apprentices without the employment they need to complete their course, the limited choice of apprenticeships and the fact that 85% of the current apprenticeships are construction based, are just some of the failings that the government are hoping to address with this review.

On September 27th, the Higher Education Authority (HEA) submitted a document to the Apprentice Review Group, outlining areas for consideration and mentioning two key areas they feel are essential for a successful apprenticeship programme. The first concerns the role of employers; that they are best at determining occupations where the apprenticeship is the best training method, the vocational content and the skills necessary for such employment. The second refers to the ability of the educational and training sector to develop apprenticeship programmes fit for purpose. The HEA are keen to develop a strong partnership between the educational sector and employers so that the two can work together and support economic recovery by providing people with adequate skills for the current jobs market.

The HEA have 25 recommendations some of which are:

• Employers identifying areas suitable for apprenticeship trainings and therefore broadening the current range of choice and better serving the labour market of today.

• Qualifications on completion of an apprenticeship being at any level of the NFQ appropriate to the learning outcomes.

• All the apprenticeships containing transferable skills.

• Distance education forming part of the training as well as alternate periods on and off the job.

• No age or gender limitations on entering but the number of recruits being determined by employment and economic predictions.

The HEA state that by implementing these reforms, future apprentices will be able to achieve their maximum potential and be successful when entering into the labour market.

Current high levels of unemployment in Ireland demonstrate the urgent need for improvement in the education system. The conversion of FÁS into SOLAS, the change from VECs to ETBs and now the review of the apprenticeship scheme are all signs that the government is responding to this need for change. A move away from limited training for jobs that no longer exist, towards a broader selection of apprenticeships that reflect the labour market needs are positive steps towards a more effective education and training system.

Fiona McBennett

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Trinity Implements Pilot Scheme as Alternative to CAO

Trinity College Pilot SchemeTrinity College Dublin is set to try out a new scheme in which 25 of its places will be offered to second level graduates via an alternative system. This alternative selection process, which will be put into action in September 2014, applies to three courses; Law (10 places), History (10 places) and Ancient and Medieval History and Culture (5 places) and is the college’s first step towards a broader and more holistic selection process.

The new scheme means that Trinity will consider three areas; the student’s Leaving Certificate results, how these results compared to other students in their school and the student’s personal information; such as statements from a teacher or guidance counsellor. Applicants will also have to fill out a form of personal information which will require them to state why they are applying and to complete an academic essay. Each of the three areas are to be considered equally and there will be no interviews.

The dean of undergraduate studies in Trinity, Dr. Patrick Geoghegan said that the scheme would hopefully allow the college to match “the right students to the right courses” and that it would open doors to hardworking students in disadvantaged schools. It is hoped that the scheme will be approved by November with details being  released early next year. As the scheme will be trialled in 2014, this year’s Leaving Certificate students will not be affected but the current 5th years will be.

Mr. Geoghegan said that the idea had been talked about in an international conference Trinity held earlier in the year and that the scheme was a move towards international models of college admissions. UCD already has a similar system in place called New ERA, where students from disadvantaged schools are offered a select number of places on high points courses by reducing the points requirement.

The procedure for applying to one of the selected courses in Trinity will be as follows: students will fill out their CAO form in the usual way and this needs to be done by Feb 1st so as to be considered for the new scheme, any entries after this will not be counted. When students enter the course codes ( TR004 Law, TR008 History, TR028 Ancient and Medieval History and Culture) they will be given the choice to opt in or out of the new scheme and if they opt in they will be required to fill out an application form which can be completed anytime up until March 1st.  Applicants will also be entered into the traditional CAO system and will be notified in the usual way as to whether or not their application has been successful.

It is worth noting that these 25 places are not extra and so there will be a reduced number of places available through the traditional CAO system for these courses; meaning that there may be higher demand for the existing places which would raise point requirements. However, considering applicants in a more holistic way that takes into account more than just the points they achieve in their Leaving Certificate is a great step towards more inclusive third level education and a system that will help people in courses that suit them.

Fiona McBennett

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Environmental Training Courses

environmentalEnvironmental change affects all of us and it is one of the most important issues of the 21st century. Environmental studies are concerned with finding solutions for the problems created by human involvement with the environment by exploring the natural environment and the built environment and the relationship between the two.

There are an increasing amount of environmental training courses currently available, ranging from full-time degree courses to part time and evening courses, that cover emerging issues such as green energy and waste minimisation.

Degrees in areas like Environmental Investigation (IT Sligo), Geography, Planning and Environmental Policy (UCD), Environmental Science (IT Carlow), Environmental Science and Health (DCU) and Agriculture (Dundalk IT) are just a sample of what’s on offer in colleges around the country. In these courses, which are generally between 2 and 4 years in length, there is the opportunity to make the first move towards a career based on the environment as well as providing a stepping stone to lead to further studies. These courses can all be applied for through the CAO.

Portobello Institute is offering a one day PLC course based on Irish Energy Policy and is designed to introduce students to the energy industry and the policies that surround it. It is aimed at graduates who want to move into the energy field and there are no academic requirements. Applications can be made directly to the college.

If you are already in an environmentally based career then why not avail of one of the many occupation training courses that are currently available? Biologic, Moloney and Associates and Training Point all have trainings on areas such as Introduction to Environment Legislation (Biologic), Environmental Noise Measurement (Moloney and Associates) and Environmental Management (Training Point). The courses are run in a variety of locations around the country, including Dublin, Kilkenny, Laois, Waterford, Kildare, Cork and Limerick. These courses are perfect for anyone looking to specialize in a certain area as well as improve their existing knowledge and enhance their CV.

If trying to find the time to study is an issue for you, then there are plenty of part-time and evening courses available that generally run for about 10 weeks once a week, depending on the course. Some, like CMI’s course in Environmental Studies or ECO UNESCO’s Introduction to Sustainable Development course, require no previous experience and are suitable for those who are looking for an introduction to the environmental field. Others ask that you have experience in the field of environmental studies, such as Portobello Institute’s Certified Energy Manger course, while the Waste Management course in Portobello Institute, requires an interview on application. Check with each individual course provider for details.

Nowadays, there is usually the option to study most things online and the area of Environmental studies is no different. CMI and CMIT are both offering the opportunity to study through their distance learning courses which means you can easily fit your course work around your life. CMI offers an Environmental Management Diploma course while CMIT has a similar course, Managing Environmental Resources, available.

There’s never been a better time to study environmental issues, whether you’re a green-fingered nature lover who wants to learn more about protecting our planet, or someone in an environmentally based career hoping to improve existing skills, environmental awareness has never been more prevalent. With the array of courses available for every level, now could be the time to help in the creation of a sustainable and more environmentally friendly future.

Environmental courses on –

Fiona McBennett

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Web Design Specialist Diploma

web design coursesThe Web Design Specialist Diploma is a flexible learning course offered by Pitman Training. The course offers tuition in the industry standard web design software which includes Adobe Dreamweaver,  Adobe Flash and Adobe Photoshop. Students also cover CIW Foundations and an additional three elective subjects.

The flexible learning system allows students to learn at their own pace by utilising the online tutorials and support is available at all times from IT professionals and Pitman Training course advisors.

On completion of the course, students receive a Pitman Training completion certificate.

Pitman Training have centres in many locations around Ireland. If interested in this course you can contact your nearest centre and receive further information.

View more Pitman Training courses at

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Solas Switches On

solas coursesThe Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn has announced that he is appointing Pat Delaney as the chairperson of SOLAS; the new state authority for further education and training that is replacing FÁS. Mr. Delaney is well known amongst private sector employers and is a former member of the employer’s organisation IBEC and director of the Small Firms Association. His appointment as chairperson of SOLAS will be confirmed by the approval of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social protection. Mr. Delaney will not receive a fee for this position but will be allowed to claim travel and subsistence.

SOLAS is expected to be up and running within the next few weeks and will take over the role of FÁS; co-ordinating and funding a wide range of further education and training programmes around the country. It’s aim is to ensure the provision of high quality further education available to learners and jobseekers by working closely with the newly established ETBs.

The three main objectives of SOLAS are to lead and co-ordinate the process of integration further education training institutions and programmes, to look after the funding and performance of the further education programmes and to make sure that the training programmes are focused on the needs of learners and jobseekers as well as meeting the needs of employers. The formation of SOLAS means that the delivery of further education and training are brought together and managed by the one body; similar to the role of the Higher Education Authority in third level education.

SOLAS will have an important task ahead of them, at a time when there is a great need to improve further education and boost employment. With FÁS holding a reputation for being costly and ineffective in terms of reducing unemployment levels, all eyes will be on the newly formed SOLAS and Mr. Delaney over the next few months in anticipation of a change for the better.

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First Aid Courses

first aid coursesSt John Ambulance have stated that ‘it’s absolutely unacceptable that so many people die needlessly, because no one could give them first aid when they needed it’. This organisation believes in the importance of teaching people first aid, so that they can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.

There are a number of different First Aid courses you can do; depending on whether you are a parent, your working environment or your role in your community. It is advised to at least undertake a Basic First Aid course.

Courses on offer range from:
– Occupational First Aid Training
– Basic First Aid Training
– Childcare First Aid
– Emergency First Aid
– Sport First Aid
– Babysitter First Aid

Malahide Community School, through their Adult Learning programme offer a BASIC FIRST AID / CARDIAC FIRST RESPONSE course which comprises of a basic first aid course, followed by the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) Cardiac First Response (CFR) programme. The CFR includes initial assessment of a patient, providing CPR and defibrillation with an AED and the FAST assessment for Strokes.

You can also do a First Aid course which is run and certified by the Irish Red Cross. Old Bawn Community School in Tallaght is one of the venues who facilitate this course with many other adult education centres around the country offering similar training. It will equip you with basic first aid skills.

Without doubt, having a first-aid qualification, is both relevant and crucial for your personal life. On a professional level, employers see a potential employee who is equipped with first-aid skills, as a valuable asset in the workplace.

Costs: The costs involved in acquiring a certificate in first aid is dependent on the type of course you do and the provider you do it with. Three day courses range from 500 to 600 euro. Basic First Aid courses usually cost anything from 100 to 150 euro.

Equipment and resources required (after you have completed your course) include:
– First Aid Box (should include quality first aid supplies that will ensure you are prepared for every situation, from minor cuts, sprains and bites through to more serious injuries involving major trauma and heavy bleeding)
– Defibrillator (if training has been provided)
– Certain tablets such as aspirin should be kept in a first aid box (for cases of suspected heart attacks)
– Record Keeping book (especially important for schools, sports clubs, any community setting/organisation & the work place)

Accidents can happen no matter where you are, whether it’s in the workplace, at home, school, or on holiday. You may just be walking down the street and see someone in need of medical attention. When you run into these situations, wouldn’t you like to be prepared instead of standing around wondering what to do? This is why everyone should enroll in some type of first aid safety training course. No one should have to be convinced why it’s a good idea to take first aid safety training.

If you have children, think about the accidents that they have and all of the potential dangers they face each day. Parents should be prepared to deal with a number of different medical issues. Even if they suffer a serious injury that requires further treatment, the initial first aid that is performed could mean saving their life.

Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, and if you are trained, you could be the only one able to save someone’s life.

To find First Aid training courses have a look at our Health and Safety courses category

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October 2013 E-Bulletin Monthly E-Bulletin
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Education NewsSTEM Education Key to Job Opportunities
Education News
According to the minister of state for Research, Séan Sherlock, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education from primary school through to third level is essential for employment in Ireland’s current and future market. The Minister was speaking at the recent Career Zoo which was held in the Convention Centre in Dublin on September 14th..

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Featured Educator Trainingpoint
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Trainingpoint is a training provider based in Limerick City, which offers a wide range of courses to the professional and IT sectors. Courses are provided on an in-house basis and also on a classroom basis in several locations around Ireland…

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Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness

Certificate in Exercise and Health Fitness, Dublin City

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

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Advanced Accounts Diploma

Advanced Accounts Diploma, Nationwide locations

The Pitman Training Advanced Accounts Diploma will equip you with a comprehensive suite of financial skills; everything you need to become an experienced finance professional. Such skills are in real demand as all organisations require excellent accounting staff. This diploma offers full accounting training across a range of core subjects including manual and Sage computerised book-keeping plus Sage payroll skills..

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Category Focus Media, Art and Design
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For anyone who loves being creative, thinking outside the box, using their hands, working on projects and exploring, experimenting and questioning ideas, then a career in the field of media, art and design can be very rewarding. There are a wide spectrum of courses in the creative fields; whether it’s a full time course to begin a creative career, a postgraduate course to broaden skills or perhaps a part time course for those who just want a creative outlet.. Click to View Category Page
Featured Article Converting College Courses
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Have you ever wanted to convert your degree into something else? Have you ever wanted to specialise in a specific area of interest? Do you want to equip yourself with the necessary skills and qualifications that are currently in short supply? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, conversion courses could be the perfect fit for you to fulfil personal or professional ambitions.

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Open days can be a great way of evaluating a college and getting a flavour of what you can expect in term of facilities, location and class tutors. See a selection of upcoming open days and open evenings on

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Payroll Training, 28 Glenrock Business Park, Ballybane Industrial Estate, Galway
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STEM Education Key to Job Opportunities

stemAccording to the minister of state for Research, Séan Sherlock, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education from primary school through to third level is essential for employment in Ireland’s current and future market. The Minister was speaking at the recent Career Zoo which was held in the Convention Centre in Dublin on September 14th.

He was at the Convention Centre to deliver a speech on ‘The value of investing in researchers in Ireland’ at an Irish Research Council meeting which happened to be held on the same day as the Career Zoo. On dropping into the career event, which is established as the biggest event in Ireland for graduates and professionals looking to further their career, the Minster said that rather than thinking about investing in research or in specific areas, we should remember that “investment is really in people and talent” and that highly skilled researchers were a result of good education and training.

Silicone Republic, a technology news service, interviewed the Minister at the Career Zoo and asked him about his thoughts on STEM education. Mr. Sherlock said that the government is placing a lot of emphasis and funding directly into STEM education and that incentives, such as the bonus points a Leaving Certificate student receives when taking an honours Maths paper, have been working well.

Acknowledging that a large proportion of foreign graduates are filling STEM based jobs in Ireland, the Minster said that while there will always be a transfer of labour between countries, the government is making efforts to fill that gap with Irish graduates. He admitted that the government still has a way to go in developing STEM education but that they had a clear focus and are listening to the needs of industries.

Mr. Sherlock also stated that more emphasis needs to be put on languages in education as industries have reported a lack in the language abilities of Irish graduates. He openly acknowledged that immigration of graduates is a problem and said that the government needs to find out the skill set of those graduates who are emigrating but also stressed that there are conversion courses available where someone working in the ICT sector can transfer their skills to help them to get jobs here in Ireland.

Mr. Sherlock also said that there has been a move away from long-term, pensionable jobs to people having a few jobs in the course of their working life and that the idea of lifelong learning and upskilling is ingrained in current and future generations. He also said that the government needs to give people the confidence to uptake new skills and new courses and create the platform for them to find opportunities for employment.

Referring to STEM education, Mr. Sherlock said that there needs to be greater interaction between the government and industries and that STEM education needs to be implemented at a national level and all through the education system, saying that his aim from a research point of view, is to provide 6 and 7 year olds with  STEM based skills and show them how people interact with technology so that they can transfer this knowledge into post-primary and third level education.

He spoke about STEM education in Ireland as having three aspects; the educational, the immediate skill shortage and the long-term view and said he is confident that the government will be able to bridge the gap in terms of the immediate skills shortages but that they have work to do around STEM education and that industry has a clear role to play in this.

This year there was an increase in demand for Science and Business courses through the CAO so it looks like future graduates are already on the right track. There is also an array of courses available for anyone who wants to retrain, upskill or change careers in these areas, so if you are currently in this position, it could worth taking a look and checking out what STEM options are on offer near you.

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Further Education Faces Further Cuts

further education cutsOn Tuesday September 17th, the first education congress meeting was held in 80 years. The newly formed Education and Training Boards (ETBs) met to discuss the forthcoming budget and the effects it will have on further education if financial cuts are implemented. The aim of the ETBs is to create a better further education system and to rebuild Ireland’s skill base, yet with the budget looming in October and more cutbacks in education planned; it will be difficult for the boards to deliver on these promises.

Cost reductions in education as high as €100 million have been rumoured, but as of yet, no final figure has been decided on. The general secretary of the ETBs, Michael Moriarty, said that although the Minister for Education has focused on further education and training as a way to rebuild the economy, the boards “cannot be starved of resources.” The meeting mainly dealt with issues regarding professional development of teaching staff and workforce deployment but time was also made to discuss the risk of cuts and their influence on the future of further education.

SOLAS and the ETBs have been running since July and the decision to form them has been the biggest change to the further education system since the 1930’s. 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs) were halved to make 16 ETBs and these new boards have increased responsibilities. As well as the training functions that had been provided by FÁS, the ETBs are also the patrons for 258 schools, run a selection of colleges, are responsible for delivering training to around 250,000 adults and run night classes. Their already stretched services will be under even more strain if cuts are imposed.

Increasing responsibility and demands while decreasing resources is surely a recipe for failure when trying to revitalise and re-skill the country’s workforce. The board members will no doubt have an anxious wait until the budget cuts are announced and if they are as bad as is feared then they may be left wondering, as the old adage puts it, how to make a silk purse from a sows ear!

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Increase in Foreign Students Studying in Ireland

studying in IrelandAccording to the latest figures from surveys carried out by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Ireland has seen a “significant increase” in the number of students travelling from abroad to study here. Tony Boland, the chief executive of the HEA, said that good feedback was received from the foreign students who studied in Irish third-level institutes, stating that vigilance in this area was important. Mr. Boland, speaking at an event in the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, said that the authority’s analysis of the figures was still in progress and that exact numbers were not yet available but that there was a definite increase in the academic year 2012/2013.

It had previously been feared that the Government’s efforts to draw more foreign students to the country had failed, as the number of students in publicly funded colleges had dropped from 12,000 in 2009 to just 10,600 in 2011, resulting in almost a 12% drop off. Mr. Boland had said that Ireland needed to have more of an “international focus” and that more needed to be done to attract international students, such as raising Ireland’s reputation for research and education and making sure that foreign students were fully integrated into all activities in college and given the support they needed.

Overseas students contribute approximately €250 million to the Irish economy, with non-EU students paying €8,000 to €12,000 in college fees. The most common nationalities to study in Ireland are; British, American, Chinese, Canadian and Malaysian. The amount of Chinese people studying here has risen over the past five years from 871 to 1412 but up until 2011 there had only been a small rise in the number of British students here as well as in Indian students, despite various missions led by the Government and third-level institutions to India over the years. America still has the biggest amount of students coming to study here but in the past few years the figures had dropped from 2,416 to 2,255. As well as the obvious economic benefits of having overseas students study in Ireland, having links with expanding global leaders like China, India and Brazil is also important and educational connections between countries can help to strengthen these international relations.

Commenting on the latest positive results , Minister of Education, Ruairí Quinn said that Government policy is to ensure that foreign students become an important part of the community so as to help the country to compete in emerging economies. Mr. Quinn also said that online education will be vital in continuing to develop links with international students. The recent move by Trinity College to join with various other international colleges and offer MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), as well the increase in distance learning courses in various colleges all over the country will certainly help to develop Ireland’s international reputation and ensure that this year’s figures continue to increase over the coming years.

Fiona McBennett

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Anti Bullying Training

anti bullying trainingUp to 70 anti-bullying training sessions have been arranged for parents, to take place between now and the end of the year.

The Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme is being run jointly by the National Parents Council Primary (NPC-P) and the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPC-PP). The initiative has been developed to support the implementation of the Action Plan on Bullying which called for training and resources for parents and boards of management.

Announcing €40,000 funding for the programme, Minister Quinn said, “I welcome the collaboration between the two Parents Councils in responding to the need for training in this area. I hope that parents will take the time to attend these valuable training sessions.

Bullying is not a problem schools can or should be left to tackle alone. Parents, families and the wider community have an important role to play in tackling all forms of bullying and in teaching children how to manage relationships, be resilient and have empathy for others.”

The Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme will be available nationwide. It will be a two and half hour session that both supports parents to support their children regarding issues of bullying and also informs them about the new Anti-Bullying Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary schools.

Áine Lynch, CEO of the National Parents Council Primary, welcomed the commitment from the Minister and the Department of Education and Skills in supporting parents in their vital role in the area of combating bullying.

“Parents play a key role in supporting their children and the local school and this is investment in parents will allow them to fulfil that role in a more informed way. We urge all parents in Primary and Post-Primary schools to attend the training and support their children and schools in tackling bullying behaviours,” she said.

Don Myers, President of the National Parents Council Post Primary, said, “A very positive message is being sent out here to all parents with this support and in particular with the joint initiative of both National Parents Council Primary and National Parents Council Post Primary. This is a very strong endorsement from both organisations of this valuable resource and parents will be better equipped with knowledge for themselves and for the support of their children in any issues in relation to bullying.”

Venues for anti bullying training can be found at

More information on identifying and dealing with bullying can be found on the following  leaflet –
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Education for Sustainable Development

sustainable-educationThe Department of Education is currently creating a National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), in keeping with the publication by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government of Our Sustainable Future- A Framework for Sustainable Development in Ireland which was published in 2012, and is currently requesting submissions to help with its development.

This government publication describes sustainable development as a continuous process of economic, social and environmental change focused on promoting the wellbeing of citizens now and as well as in the future. The objectives for the National Strategy on ESD are:

  • including education for sustainable development at every level of the education system
  • Encouraging public awareness of education for sustainable development
  • Promoting capacity building to support education for sustainable development
  • Encouraging high standards of environmental management in educational settings

Specific actions in the Strategy on ESD will include:

  • Integration of ESD into all areas of the curriculum
  • Supporting media and awareness campaigns on sustainable development
  • Promoting research in universities and colleges as well as encouraging collaborative working and industry links
  •  Improving the work of the Department of Education in building low energy sustainable buildings

Plans had begun on a National Strategy on ESD in 2007 that included a public consultation process, however, since there have been many changes in the field of sustainable development a new public consultation process is needed before the final stages of the plan are complete. Submissions are now open to anyone interested from a variety of fields such as formal and non formal education, business and professional organisations and the media. Submissions can be done online and a template is available on the Department of Education’s website. A list of all the submissions received will be published as an appendix to the National Strategy on ESD.


Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn, recently spoke about the Irish education system, saying that Ireland still has a long way to go for it to have the kind of “world class” education system that is needed and added that acknowledging this was the starting point of the change. The Minister was speaking before a conference in St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, Dublin and also referred to the pupil to teacher ratio currently in schools and the plan to get rid of prefabs in schools, but mentioned that the forthcoming budget would be the hardest of the three budgets under the Troika regime.

The closing date for submissions is Friday September 27th 2013 and more information on the consultation process, as well as the template for submissions and a background information paper can be found at:

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