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

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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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Career Zoo Saturday 14th September

careerzooCareer Zoo is one of Ireland’s most popular events for professionals and graduates looking to advance their careers in Ireland. Those attending will meet with Ireland’s leading employers that are now hiring for a multitude of jobs. Also at the event will be some of Ireland’s top course providers with information available about professional courses, upskilling and conversion programmes.

The event in the Convention Centre Dublin will be Career Zoo’s 6th event, the first of which took place at Mansion House, Dublin in January 2011.

10,000 people are expected to convene at the CCD on September 14th for what is hoped to be Career Zoo’s biggest event to date.

There will also be career workshops by industry leaders, a tech-box featuring a host of tech activities and a career clinic hosted by Hays Recruitment – anyone interested in applying for the career clinic can do so at

Sponsors of the event include, Amazon Web Services, Murex, Pramerica and the Irish Research Council. Other employers include: Accenture, AOL, Aon, Boston Scientific, Cartrawler, Certus, Ericsson, Hays Recruiting Experts Worldwide, Indaver, Johnson & Johnson, Maxim Integrated, Open Hydro, Origina, SIG,, Unum and Workday.

Admission is completely free of charge however those interested in attending are advised to register in advance at to gain faster entry on the day.

Doors are open from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 14th September.

For more details visit

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Renowned Digital Marketing Course Comes to South East

digital marketing courseIrish Times Training has joined forces with the Irish Internet Association to offer a Diploma in Digital Marketing. The course will commence on September 18th and run over 13 weeks (6pm to 9pm) at the NAS Training Centre in the Cleaboy Business Park, Waterford.

The course is aimed at any organisation or business that wants to gain a better understanding of the ever evolving digital landscape and will enable all participants to develop a focused digital marketing strategy.

Over the course of the 13 weeks the modules will include digital marketing strategy, SEO, online advertising, mobile web, social media, online PR and many more. The trainers are comprised of some of the most well regarded names in the digital media industry, including Conor Pope of the Irish Times, Digital marketer Krishna De and Gareth Dunlop, a digital strategy expert. “We’ve seen a remarkable change in the kind of skills that people see as being of value. Right now, there is a great demand for digital marketing skills” said Una O’Hare, General Manager at Irish Times Training. “We’ve trained individuals in digital marketing to give them an edge on the job seeking front, SME owner managers who want to embark on their own digital marketing strategies and government departments, finance, recruitment, PR, arts and health organisations are also keen to deliver their message in a cost effective way.”

Ray Power, Manager with NAS Training Centre is delighted that such a practical and informative training course will be held at the training centre. “The modules within this course will be invaluable to any business that wishes to optimise its presences through digital media. It is one of the few courses of this calibre that is available in Waterford and the South East and is destined to have a very positive, long standing impact on those who attend.”

Joan Mulvihill of the Irish Internet Association said “It’s important to recognise that such digital marketing skills and strategies are complementary to offline ‘traditional’ marketing.”

“Investment in growing your digital marketing skills presents an immense opportunity for marketing professionals to be at the cutting edge of their profession, to take their business to a market leading position and ultimately to grow the business in a measurable and cost effective way”, she added.

For further information about the Diploma in Digital Marketing check out

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Irish Universities Attracting Least Funds

university fundingAccording to a study carried out by London-based Times Higher Education magazine, universities in Ireland and the UK are least valuable to big businesses. The study examined how the world’s top universities compete for research funding and showed that Irish academics attracted the smallest amounts of money from companies for carrying out research, compared with 30 other countries.

The results showed that university based researchers in Korea, the top ranked country, attracted an average of €77,700 each from private sector investors, while researchers here received an average of €6,600 each in funding. The top five countries were Korea, Singapore, the Netherlands, South Africa and Belgium. While the UK, Austria, Norway, Portugal and Ireland made up the bottom five.

Editor of Times Higher Education magazine, Phil Baty, said that Irish universities are being overlooked by investors when trying to secure funding from businesses. The magazine also said that universities in the UK and Ireland need to understand that in a time where companies survive through innovation, ideas can no longer be kept within the walls of academia. It said that the future was less about teaching and research and more about knowledge transfer.

The study measured the research income that hundreds of world-class institutions around the world are receiving from industry; applying a simple method for calculating the apparent success of a country without attempting to dissect the research categories. It is for this reason that the results are quite limited and have been very different to the magazine’s recent list of the world’s best universities, for example; India was ranked the fifth most valuable country for attracting research funding in this survey but its three universities didn’t even make the top 200 in the overall world university rankings.

Success in the survey was achieved by countries having links between researchers and large manufacturing bases like automobile manufacturers. Mr. Baty said, “These universities were set up to respond to the industry’s needs.” He also added that these successful countries are highly focused on forging these links. Due to this, countries such as China and India were found in the top ten while, surprisingly, countries like the US and Japan came 14th and 16th respectively. Success also relied on having good research activity in a ‘near-to-market’ research sector such as healthcare and IT.

The Government has placed a huge emphasis on forging links between academic researchers and companies.  All of the new research centres being announced this year by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, must have major involvement by companies who act as research partners. Mr. Baty said that universities in Ireland will need to establish how they can help local businesses, describing the survey’s successful universities as, “…getting much more professional, much more focused and are going into businesses, making sure they get a lot of money.”

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Autumn Education Events

evening courses and open daysAutumn is the perfect time of year to acquire new skills or develop existing talents. Universities, colleges and training bodies re-open throughout the country with a wide variety of exciting courses on offer including third-level qualifications, professional part-time courses, and evening courses in a multitude of subjects; including general interest and hobbies. A number of these educational centres are holding ‘Open Days’ on which you can avail of information on the range of courses. One of these courses may help to brighten and enlighten your Autumn nights.

Here are a few dates for your diary:

• Ballyfermot College of Further Education are taking enrolments for their Adult Education courses on the evenings of September 2nd, 4th, 9th and 11th at 7-8.15pm. All classes commence on September 16th.

• Cork Institute of Technology will be holding information/ registration evenings on September 3rd-5th at 6-8.30pm where a wide variety of courses are available to register for.

• Dorset College is holding an open day on September 4th. They offer a range of part-time and full-time courses including law, Montessori and computing to name a few.

• IBAT College is having an open evening on Wednesday September 4th at 5-7pm in its Temple Bar Campus. They are currently enrolling for all courses and provide free courses for job seekers where you can study part-time two evenings a week to re-skill in a growth business area.

• Institute of Technology Blanchardstown is holding an open evening on Wednesday September 4th from 5-7pm. Applications are open for part-time courses starting on 23rd September and registration is online.

• Athlone Institute of Technology is holding an information and registration evening for evening and part-time courses on Thursday September 5th at 5.30-8.30pm.

• Galway Mayo IT Castlebar will open on Thursday September 5th from 7-9pm to take enrolments, fee payments and to answer any questions on the courses. They provide many part-time and full-time accredited Lifelong Learning courses.

• Independent College Dublin is holding an open evening on Saturday September 7th at 5-7pm. They offer a range of courses including evening diplomas, online courses and corporate training.

• Carlow Institute of Further Education is open for enrolments and advice on courses on September 9th and 10th. They provide part-time education, business and commercial training services and hobby and leisure courses.

• Drogheda Institute of Technology is having two open days and evenings, on September 9th and 10th from 10am-3pm and 7-9pm, for their night classes. Enrolments can be made online now.

• O’Fiach Institute of Further Education is holding two open evenings on September 9th and 10th for information on night classes.

• Cork College of Commerce is holding an information evening for night courses on September 10th from 6-8pm. The night class prospectus can be viewed online at

• Ballymun Whitehall Education Fair: Thursday September 12th from 9am – 1pm. This a free event where you can check out training courses, evening classes and get information about starting back to college.

• St. Oliver’s Community College Drogheda is having an open evening to register for night courses on September 16th from 7-9pm. Enrolments can also be made online.

Evening courses may vary but generally courses run in two terms; one starting in September and the next starting in January. These short courses can appeal to people with other commitments for example, parents of young children. Several popular occupation training and distance learning courses also have ongoing dates throughout the year so there is no need to feel confined to the typical course terms. The Open College, ITEC and IT Sligo are just some examples of institutions that allow for flexible learning at a time that suits the student’s needs. With a little research on the colleges and courses, you could find one that will interest, educate, and entertain you this Autumn.

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Fiona McBennett

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September 2013 E-News Monthly E-Bulletin
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Education NewsAutumn Education Events
Education News
Autumn is the perfect time of year to acquire new skills or develop existing talents. Universities, colleges and training bodies re-open throughout the country with a wide variety of exciting courses on offer including third-level qualifications, professional part-time courses, and evening courses in a multitude of subjects; including general interest and hobbies. A number of these educational centres are holding ‘Open Days’ on which you can avail of information on the range of courses.

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Featured Educator Communications and Management Institute
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CMI, Communications & Management Institute is a leading college offering part-time Diploma courses. These night courses are internationally accredited, real industry focused, and aligned from level 5 to level 9 on the framework. Evening Courses include; Management, Project Management, Environmental, Quality, Procurement & Supply, Logistics & Transport, CSI & Forensic Science, Retail, HR development, and several more. Courses offered by class and by distance. Class courses are held in Dublin city centre and Distance online courses offered throughout Ireland.

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ITEC Fashion, Theatre and Media Make Up Diploma
ITEC Fashion, Theatre and Media Make Up Diploma, Dublin City

The Fashion, Theatre and Media make-up course will qualify you as a make-up artist able to understand and carry out make-up application for the general public as well as specialised types of make-up such as special effects and stage make-up. Upon successful completion of a portfolio of 35 looks, as well as theory exams and practical examination, this make-up course leads to the ITEC diploma.

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Professional Certificate in Insurance
Professional Certificate in Insurance, South Dublin

The PCI Programme is a subsidised, full time course, taught over four months to prepare students for four examinations. Successful graduates will gain minimum competency qualification – Accredited Product Advisor (APA) – recognised by the Central Bank of Ireland. This certification is highly sought after in today’s General Insurance sector.

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Category Focus Childcare
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The demand for high quality childcare continues to increase in Ireland and as a graduate in this sector, you are entering a flexible career with a wide range of placements to choose from. A level 5 Fetac award in Childcare could gain you employment in creches, nurseries, playgroups, early start programmes or as a classroom assistant in a special school. For more details about Childcare courses view our Childcare Courses Category on or view our childcare articles page at the following link – Childcare Articles
Featured Article Gap Year
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A Gap year before embarking on third level can be that necessary bridge to enlightenment and maturity for young adults before hitting college life. It can also be used if CAO choices did not work out as planned and the student wishes to choose an alternative CAO course for the following year. A Gap year does not have to be a ‘doss year’ with the right plan in place, it could one day be the talking point to get you that much sought after position or sometimes it reveals to ‘gappers’ a career that is for them as opposed to their subsequent..

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College Open Days
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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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New Education Information Guide helps adults to get on course

adult-education-guideSignificant reforms in the further education and training sector should not affect adults accessing education and training, according to Berni Brady, Director of AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation.

AONTAS has just published the latest edition of ‘What Next’ – an Information Guide for adults thinking of returning to education.  The guide contains the most up to date information about education and training opportunities around the country, details on finance and funding, useful contacts and services.

The number of adults in education continues to rise, with well over 300,000 adults opting for a short course for pleasure, or investing in a longer term qualification to improve their employment prospects.  ‘The range of new initiatives such as Springboard adds to the choice available to adult learners, especially those looking for flexible, part time options, ‘said Ms Brady.  However, there has been a slight decrease in the number of adults returning to full time third level education.  ‘This may be due to the availability of other options such as Springboard which is currently offering 6,000 free part time third level education places to adults’ said Ms Brady.  ‘Furthermore, people contacting us indicate that finance is as big an issue for adults considering  third level education as it is for school-leavers’ said Ms Brady.  Numbers accessing the Back to Education Allowance, which allows adults to retain their Social Welfare payments while they complete second level or third level education increased again this year – from 24,999 in April 2012 to 27,830 in April 2013.

The pace of reform underway in further education and training continues, so that the sector can rise to the challenge of unemployment.  ‘There are three structural developments of significance to the sector, said Ms Brady.  On July 1st, the Education and Training Boards opened their doors to the public, replacing the former VECs.  Later this year, SOLAS, the new Further Education and Training Authority will be established.  The Department of Social Protection has also been rolling out new Intreo services in social welfare offices around the country which will offer job seekers with information and advice about education and training.  These changes combined should help the services provide a greater response to the education and training needs of people who are unemployed, and in the long term should result in better services and outcomes for adult learners’ concluded Ms Brady.

Any adult thinking about returning to education who wants to consider their options should contact AONTAS for a free copy of ‘What Next’.  AONTAS has also set up a Freephone Helpline with support from the EU Lifelong Learning Programme.  Contact 1800 303 669 with your query.


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Autumn Evening Classes

Autumn Evening CoursesIt’s that time of year again; gone are the long, lazy days of Summer and instead there’s a chill in the air, the trees are beginning to get their warm, golden highlights and the evenings are drawing in. There’s a certain exciting ‘back to school’ or ‘fresh start’ feeling that comes over most of us in the Autumn, even if our school days are well behind us, so why not seize it and sign up to one of the many evening classes that are available!

Studying in the evening is a great way to pass the cold, dark nights and an excellent opportunity to learn a new skill, language or maybe even develop a hidden talent, as well as make new friends and socialise with like minded people. Attending evening classes allows for learning in a more relaxed and informal environment than college and the class sizes are smaller; meaning that there is more time for one to one interaction between the teacher and the pupils.

Nowadays, there is something for everyone when it comes to evening classes. You can study anything from psychology to painting and everything in between. Evening classes can be purely for leisure and provide an opportunity to express creativity, or they can help to start or develop a career by improving knowledge and skills for certain work and providing an introduction to or further study in an area.

The qualifications you gain from evening classes can really help to build self confidence and enhance your CV when looking for employment. Evening courses, such as the ones provided by FÁS, can be used to up skill for professional development and can also provide certifications on completion. Colleges around the country also offer evening diploma courses in areas such as law, marketing and criminology to name just a few.

Evening courses can be a great ‘taster’ experience for someone who may be interested in changing direction in their career, while still allowing them to work in their current job. They are perfect for people with busy lives as there is a lower level of commitment involved compared to studying full-time in college, with courses generally running once a week for a set period of time.

So check out what evening classes are on offer near you. Take this opportunity to make your ‘fresh start’ by learning what you have always wanted to learn and being who you have always wanted to be.

Colleges Offering Evening Courses – Adult Education Information –

Fiona McBennett

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