Education Overview June 16th

education newsTHE SOCIAL MEDIA colossus Facebook, has decided to work directly with Irish schools in order to help combat cyberbullying. The deall was made at a meeting between senior Facebook executives and our officials of the Department of Education. There had been increasing media pressure after a number of worrying incidents involving either students or teachers being targeted on social media sites. The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) now wants Facebook to set up a hotline that will deal directly with requests from schools so that in future ant inappropriate and/or abusive posts can be removed as quickly as possible.

CAO WORRIES. Choosing what to put on your CAO form is always more difficult than you first thought. So if you are still worried about what you wrote or you’ve suddenly decided you need to change direction, don’t worry. There is an Open Evening and CAO Change of Mind Workshop in ITT Tallaght Dublin on the18th of June. For times and more details please ring ahead to Tara Flanagan the Schools Liason Officer on (01)4042000.

ENROLMENT. For those looking into further education in Dublin city. The Ballsbridge College of Further Education (Shelbourne Road, Dublin 4) has a one day enrolment event starting at 10am to 12 noon on the 20th of June. For further details please contact Deputy Principal Ruth O Doherty on (01)6684806.

THE CELTS. No not Celtic FC. We’re talking about Irish folklore. Ever wanted to investigate your own heritage and history? Well from 18.30 – 20.00 on June 20th in Harold’s Cross at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services you can enjoy a seminar entitled; Reclaiming Celtic Spiritual Wisdom for Our Times. Here you will listen to the unique wisdom that is often revealed in Celtic story and myth and also how Celtic Spirituality offers a perspective that can help us explore some of the urgent life issues of our age. Contact (01)4068806 for details.

DOCTORS. Over the last five years Ireland has lost many of its most promising graduates. Over 460 young doctors and nurses graduating from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and UCD will be scouring the country for their internship year. However, many could then leave to pursue their careers overseas. “I wouldn’t like to, but if I have to then it’s definitely a possibility,” said one young woman from Clonmel, Co Tipperary, as she graduated from RCSI with 225 of her classmates. It is a statement echoed by many these days. She goes on to say; “If I can’t earn enough money to keep me going or if there are not enough job opportunities,then of course, yes I would have to go.”

ERRORS. There were two significant errors discovered in the Leaving and Junior Cert exams given earlier in the week that have just come to light. The State Examinations Commission has now acknowledged these errors and said that no one should worry, these mistakes would be ‘taken into account when the papers were marked’. One of the errors, on the Leaving higher maths paper, included an extra figure being given thereby making two answers possible. The second error was on the Junior Cert civil, social and political education paper where the role of the Referendum Commission was described incorrectly.

The minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., officially opened two new classrooms at Scoil Naomh Pio, Beaupark, Navan, Co Meath on Friday the 14th. In what was a long overdue move, it was part of the 2012 prefab replacement scheme to replace two prefabs with permanent classrooms that saw Scoil Naomh Pio provided with a grant of over €290,000. The €35 million Prefab Replacement Scheme was first launched by Minister Quinn in March 2012. There will be further funding of €15 million announced earlier this week for the rest of the 2013/2014 calendar.

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News Feature Education Overview

Education NewsWith graduating students now facing a very uncertain world and one with the toughest employment prospects in Ireland since the 1980s, they are being asked to think outside the box. Whether it seems realistic or not, it is being advised that undergraduates should plan for their careers long before they leave college and, similar to America, they may be judged on what they do outside the lecture hall as much as what they achieve academically..
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Featured Provider Pitman Training Swords

Pitman Training Swords Pitman Training provide a wide variety of courses in IT, Office, Secretarial and Business skills. The career enhancing Diploma Courses are perfect, whether you’re climbing the career ladder or want a complete career change; a specialist Diploma from Pitman Training will demonstrate that you’re a professional at the top of your game and worth every penny…
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Web Marketing Web Marketing & Search Engine Optimisation

This internet marketing training course in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) incorporates Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and Pay Per Click Marketing. SEO is the term used to describe the marketing technique of preparing a web site to enhance its chances of being ranked in the top results of a search engine once a relevant search is undertaken. This training focuses on the principles of SEO, demonstrating how you can use online marketing ..
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counselling and PsychotherapyCertificate in Counselling and Psychotherapy
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This course is accessible to all and is a great way to develop an understanding and appreciation of counselling. You will be introduced to a basic knowledge of counselling, key skills and selected approaches to the process. Interpersonal communication, personal development issues and the application of theory to practice are all well explored..
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Category Focus Featured CategoryCategory Focus – Hair and BeautyIf you are looking for some tips on make up, want to become a qualified nail technician or would like to start training as a beauty technician then our Hair and Beauty category is a good place to start your search, or view some Hair and Beauty Training Articles for information, tips and training options in this area.
Featured Education Article Featured ArticleFurther Education Colleges
Further Education is now seen as a credible and worthwhile option – on par with Higher Education, in terms of courses on offer, internationally recognisable qualifications on completion and employment prospects. This sector comprises of education and training which occurs after second-level schooling but which is not part of the third level, higher education system..
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Upcoming Open Days Upcoming 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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Education Overview June 4th

education overviewWith graduating students now facing a very uncertain world and one with the toughest employment prospects in Ireland since the 1980s, they are being asked to think outside the box. Whether it seems realistic or not, it is being advised that undergraduates should plan for their careers long before they leave college and, similar to America, they may be judged on what they do outside the lecture hall as much as what they achieve academically. Tony Donohoe, who is the education director with the employers’ group IBEC, has said: “It is taken as a given that a graduate will have a good degree. So, the employer has to look at other aspects including relevant work experience, voluntary work and activities in college clubs and societies.”

For those sitting the leaving cert, points are at the forefront of students minds right now and the good news is that these have not changed drastically from last year. Many will be pleased to see that some courses have notable decreases. Electronic engineering in NUI Maynooth is down a considerable amount of points; 360 to 320. Engineering at Cork IT down 35 points 345 to 310. Maths at TCD has dropped 20 points to 545. Science is down 10 points to 500. In UCD; both actuarial studies and nursing are down – 5 points each. Best of luck to all.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has announced a major re-organisation of the country’s higher education sector that includes provision for the creation of new Technological Universities.The announcement follows recommendations solicited by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to Minister Quinn some time ago. In the HEA’s report, there was a call for consolidation of the Institute of Technology (IT) sector; the set up of a small number of technological universities; the formation of regional clusters between these universities and stronger ITs; implementation of recommendations to rationalise teacher education; as well as the increased sustainability and capacity in the higher education system.

Survey news. The Brightwater Salary Survey for 2013 has positive news for those in the accountancy profession, with a reported and continual rise in salaries across the board and an improvement in business confidence. The report also found that 60% of new positions in the financial services sector are newly created roles with organisations more confident in their hiring. The survey goes on to highlight an increase in the need for not only junior accounting staff but also part qualified accountants and a high demand for temporary and contract accountancy professionals. For anyone working in industry, specific experience can lead to a higher salary, particularly for those with a background in FMCG, manufacturing, gaming and/or pharmaceutical sectors. The report found that a continued requirement for candidates with strong IFRS, US GAAP, systems implementation and change management experience.

Google and Trinity College to Team Up in Computer Training. It’s been ten years since Google established its European headquarters in Dublin, and to celebrate the landmark, the computing behemoth will be teaming up with Trinity College to provide computer training for a thousand secondary school teachers. The training scheme will also include the provision of 1,000 Raspberry Pis, enabling users in schools to work on coding skills and help to fill Ireland’s much-touted IT/ programming skills gap. Fast Track to IT estimate that there are already 4,500 job vacancies available in ICT in Ireland, making the sector one of the most attractive for job seekers. A final aspect to the project will see a national coding competition launched alongside the skills and equipment provision.

UCD Summer Schools Get Underway. UCD will be hosting a series of summer schools for 5th year students starting on the 3rd of June, enabling students to get an idea of the courses they might be contemplating, and a taste of what a longer course might involve. The largely on-campus courses deal in a huge range of subjects offered at UCD, and also feature more general activities such as September’s ‘Higher Options Conference’. The bulk of departments will host their summer school events in the coming week. Advanced booking is required.

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Education Overview May 29th

education newsLeaving Certificate Nearing Start Date. Ireland’s youngsters face some challenging exams in the coming weeks, with the Leaving Certificate underway from the 5th to the 21st of June. Things kick off with the first subject – English – on the morning of the 5th, with linguistics students working on niche languages Italian and Japanese the last out of the exam halls late on the afternoon of the 21st. The Applied Leaving Certificate exams take place alongside the more academic equivalent, but finish by the 13th of the month.  There are a host of useful online resources to help with study, including some great tips from Cork News on studying and exams technique, and a wide range of resources for both revision and the parents of students that can be tracked down in The full timetable is national, to avoid the leaking of exam papers, and can be downloaded here, though participants should be sure to check local requirements through their examining school.

Intelligent Systems Summit to Take Place in Derry. June the 11th and 12th will see the Intelligent Systems Submit (ISS) take place at the City Hotel in Derry. The event is set to be open to the public as part of Derry’s year as British City of Culture, and will give insights into the use of information technology in advanced ways, such as self-organizing and self-adapting systems. They’ll also be a strong emphasis on coding, giving young programmers the chance to speak with and learn from experts and from their peers. They’ll also be a strong emphasis on the medical side of technological development, including computational routes to clinical diagnosis and technical advances in neuroscience. The summit takes place in collaboration with the University of Ulster’s Intelligent Systems Research Centre.

American University SAT Entrance Tests. Those looking to head across the pond for educational reasons in the near future will be taking the requisite SAT tests in Dublin and Waterford on the 1st of June. Exams are typically taken by fifth and sixth year Irish students, and offer the luxury of unrestricted retakes. Still, best of luck to all with global aspirations first time around.

Foot In The Door Employment Event for Cork. The Ambassador Hotel in Cork will host a ‘Foot in the Door’ event on the 30th of May, a network event run by the Contact Centre Management Association. 120 plus jobs will be on offer at the event with companies like UPC, Atos and SouthWestern in attendance, while those on the look out for information and education resources can attend a series of seminars taking place throughout the day. You can book a place here. More upcoming open days and information events are listed on the open days page.

Junior Certificate Reform Information Sessions Open To Parents. The Department of Education and Skills has opened regional information sessions involving Ruairí Quinn T.D, designed to inform parents on up and coming changes in the Junior Cycle. Events will take place in ten different counties, with Dublin hosting three events. Full regional schedules for information sessions can be found here.

Government to Discuss Second Pre-School Year. Discussions into a second state-provided year of pre-school for toddlers are underway, with Ruairí Quinn suggesting that no change is imminent, but pushing for a more in-depth debate. Quinn argues that the second year will have a ‘dramatic impact’ on the life development of children, and intends to push for an introduction by reallocating funds rather than through a new budget.

James Hendicott

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IADT Evening Courses

iadt evening coursesThe Institute of Art, Design and technology in Dun Laoghaire are offering a range of courses to adults and part time learners. Many of these courses can be used as a platform, leading on to undergraduate or postgraduate programmes in the area studied. They can also be studied on a standalone basis for those seeking to improve personal or work performance skills. Many of the courses are specialising in the emerging technologies and focus on areas of design, business and technology sometimes blending these together. The college facilities and tutors are of a high standard and anyone considering studying in IADT can make use of an excellent library, modern computer labs and high quality sports facilities.

Some of the evening courses offered by the IADT are listed below.

• Certificate in Creative WritingCertificate in Cyberpsychology
• Certificate in Enterprise Development
• Certificate in Human Computer Interaction
• Certificate in App Development (Android)
• Certificate in Online Business Trading
• Certificate in Sport Psychology
• Crafts and Hobby Courses

Application can be made directly to the college and the next deadline is late August for the Autumn semester.

For more details about the Institute of Art and Design, Dun Laoghaire you can view their course and college profile on at

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Education Council aims for more Equitable Access to Higher Education

eu education council meetingEurope’s Education Ministers have adopted Conclusions on the social dimension of higher education. The EU Council of Education Ministers in Brussels was chaired by Irish Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn T.D.

At the second and final Education Council to be held under the Irish Presidency the European Education Ministers focussed on the importance of securing more equitable access to higher education. The Conclusions adopted build on those discussed in May 2010 under the Spanish Presidency on the social dimension of education and training generally.

At the Council meeting, Minister Quinn updated his European colleagues on the progress of negotiations on ”Erasmus for All”. Delegates also discussed the Youth Employment Initiative.

During the meeting Ministers debated “Ensuring a teaching profession of the highest quality to underpin the achievement of better learning outcomes” and were addressed by international experts, Pasi Sahlberg, Finnish Education Expert, and Christine Blower, President of the European Trade Union Committee for Education andGeneral Secretary of the National Union of Teachers.

Afterwards, Minister Quinn said: “I am particularly pleased that we have adopted these Conclusions today. There are still too many capable students not participating in higher education due to their socio-economic circumstances, insufficient systems of support and guidance, and other obstacles. As well as increasing the risk of unemployment and social exclusion, this represents an unnecessary waste of human potential. The Conclusions adopted today will address this and bring benefits to societies across the EU.”

Ireland holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU until 30th June 2013.

A number of legislative priorities in education have been identified for the course of the Presidency. These are:

  • Regulation establishing “Erasmus for All”
  • New Directive to amend Directive 2005/36 on the recognition of professional qualifications
  • Regulation on the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF)
  • Decision on the Strategic Innovation Agenda of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) & Regulation amending 2008 Regulation which established the EIT.
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Lab Technician Courses

lab technician coursesA laboratory technician works in a laboratory, assisting scientific and technical staff with day to day duties. Scientific laboratory technicians are responsible for laboratory-based tasks, which include sampling, testing, measuring, recording and analysing results in biological, chemical, physical and life sciences. They also provide all the required technical support to enable the laboratory to function effectively, whilst adhering to correct procedures and health and safety guidelines.

The actual nature of the work will depend upon the organisation. If you work for a local authority, like a health board or a county council, the work may involve analysing food samples to consider prosecution and to protect public health, or to monitor and analyse public water etc., in the case of the latter.

Tasks typically involve:

• Performing laboratory tests in order to produce reliable and precise data

• Carrying out routine tasks accurately and following strict methodologies to carry out analyses

• Preparing specimens and samples

• Constructing, maintaining and operating standard laboratory equipment

• Ensuring the laboratory is well-stocked and resourced

• Recording and sometimes interpreting results to present to senior colleagues

• Using computers and performing mathematical calculations for the preparation of graphs

• Keeping up to date with technical developments, especially those which can save time and improve reliability

Educational Requirements:

Laboratory Technicians are required to have a third level qualification in a relevant science discipline. If you want to ‘test the water’ before committing to a four year honours degree programme – Sligo IT run a two-year Higher Certificate Science course. This is designed as a foundation course in science and builds key skill sets in analytical science related to current demand in the economy. The course provides students with a core foundation in applied science and has an emphasis on hands-on practical laboratory science. There are elective choices in year one which allows students to experience thematic areas developed in year two. In the second year of the course, students are allowed the flexibility to follow an applied science theme in either biology or chemistry.

Graduates will have strong analytical science skills and will be suitable for progression onto ordinary degree (level 7) and honours degree (level 8) courses in pharmaceutical science, medical biotechnology, environmental science, occupational safety and health. Graduates are employable as technical scientists in a wide range of industries and government sectors including the pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, medical device, medical diagnostic, food and beverage, and biotechnology sectors.
lab technician courses
The CIT / UCC joint BSc (Honours) Degree in Biomedical Science is one of only three Honours degree programmes in the Republic of Ireland, which are recognised by the Academy of Medical Laboratory Sciences (professional body) as enabling graduates to practise in hospitals in the State. Biomedical Science is a continually changing dynamic profession and involves study of the diverse areas of medical science including Biochemistry, Microbiology, Cellular Pathology, Haematology and Transfusion Science.

There are numerous Science degrees on offer via the CAO entry system, should you wish pursue a career in this area – whether as a laboratory technician, in the pharmaceutical, medical, food/beverage or biotechnology areas, amongst others.

For those who have a relevant science degree and are interested in becoming skilled as a laboratory technician, course providers such as Biologic offer laboratory courses such as “Laboratory Management Systems” and “Good Laboratory Practice” courses. These courses will also be of interest to those already working in the field to upgrade existing skills and learn some new ones. These courses can be seen at

The government continues to promote and encourage students to undertake science degrees as there is currently a labour shortage in this area. Remember, opportunities exist with government bodies, research institutions, hospitals, engineering/manufacturing firms, and processing industries – both in Ireland and internationally.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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Nuig Adult Education Open Evening

nuig open eveningNUI Galway are holding an information event for adult learners on Tuesday 14th May. The event will take place in the evening from 6pm to 8pm in the Orbsen building on the NUIG campus.
Anyone interested in adult education and evening courses in the coming months will find a wealth of information on the many subject areas offered by the college.

These subject areas include;
• Community and Family Studies
• Early Childhood studies and Practice
• Environmental Sustainability
• Languages
• Gemmology
• Information Technology
• Innovation Management
• International Business
• Lean Systems
• Medical Device Science
• Psychology
• Social Care
• Software Engineering
• Education and Training

For more details on the event, contact the Adult Education Office at (091) 495241

More details on the courses offered can be seen at

Other open days and events can be seen at

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News Feature High Hopes for Leaving Cert class 2013

Featured ArticleWith Leaving Certificate 2013 approaching, it will be reassuring for candidates to hear the news that Ireland has the accolade of the largest percentage of higher-level education graduates from all countries within the European Union. A recent report from Eurostat (the EU statistics agency) revealed that 2012 figures showed 51% of Irish residents aged 30 to 34 years achieved degrees at the completion of

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Featured Provider Irish Payroll Association

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

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Hi-Tech Training Digital Electronics – City & Guilds
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This City & Guilds (7267-425) Course is designed to enable participants to build, test, and fault-find common Digital Electronic circuits used in computers and computer controlled equipment. Learning Objectives include: – Study and use of popular Digital Electronic gates and more advanced circuits. Building and fault-finding a range of Digital Electronic circuits. Using test equipment including Multimeters, Oscilloscopes, logic probes and pulsers to..

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NEFPC Pilates Class Pilates
(South Dublin City)

The NEFPC Pilates Certificate provides the highest quality education and Pilates training within the industry. The classical philosophy is simple: NEFPC teach how to teach and not just what to teach. Classical Pilates is rhythmic, fluid and focused – connecting one movement to the next to build greater strength, flexibility and endurance, and this coaching model heightens each trainee’s confidence and capability as an instructor.

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Category Focus Drama and Acting CoursesCategory Focus – Drama and Acting

Drama and acting courses can add a whole new dimension to your life, whether interested in some acting or drama in your spare time or perhaps improving presentation and interpersonal skills for your career these courses can be of enormous benefit. Courses in this field include Theatre Performance, Introduction to Drama, Stand Up Comedy, Professional Actor Training and more.. To view our Drama and Acting Category on, use the following link

Featured Education Article e-learningCourses Suited to E-Learning

Education via the internet provides exciting opportunities for both educators and learners. The internet and World Wide Web have made the computer a dynamic and credible force in distance education, providing a new and interactive means of overcoming time and distance to reach learners. Education is now completely accessible, regardless of your age and geographical location…

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Upcoming Open Days Upcoming 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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Smart Futures Career Week

stem career weekSmart Futures is a national campaign for second-level students in Ireland, the campaign highlights career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) in sectors such as medical devices, information and communications technology (ICT) and energy.

The Smart Futures Career week will run from 29 April to 3 May 2013. Students are invited to submit their career questions to panels of STEM experts ( questions can be sent through the website form on or by using the hash tag #smartfutures on Twitter) and can win prizes for the best career question received. The week is also a chance for teachers and guidance counsellors to get up-to-date information about career opportunities in STEM in Ireland. A specialist panel will answer the questions sent in and the video will be aired on the Smart Futures website from Monday 29th April.

Other events throughout the week include;
•    Monday 29th April: An introduction to working in science, 7pm
•    Wednesday 1st May: An introduction to working in technology, 7pm
•    Thursday 2nd May: An introduction to working in engineering, 7pm

For more information on the events and other details, you can view the STEM week webpage at

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Irish Classes from Conradh na Gaeilge

irish classes from C na GThe range and choice of Irish courses offered by Conradh na Gaeilge in Dublin city continues to expand, and another complete 10-week term of evening classes will start anew in Uimhir 6, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2 from 23 – 24 April 2013 for those looking to boost their skills in the language this year.

Brenda Ní Ghairbhí, Conradh na Gaeilge Course Coordinator says: “Because Conradh na Gaeilge evening classes comply with Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge syllabi, students of our courses can take advantage of the opportunity to obtain an internationally recognised qualification in Irish by applying for the TEG exams run by the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, should they wish to add to their CV and job prospects for example. For students who are looking to improve their Irish for personal reasons – whether they have children in the local Gaelscoil or are simply looking to better understand Irish culture – Conradh na Gaeilge’s small class sizes and interactive lessons cater for all learner levels, and offer students a chance to socialise and practise their Irish in Club Chonradh na Gaeilge during the class break each week.”

Conradh na Gaeilge and its travelling timirí teachers are renowned for teaching Irish to adult learners since the organisation’s foundation in 1893, and they’re still offering excellent value on Irish courses 120 years later. A 10-week course costs €180 for 20 hours of tuition, while the discount rate of only €160 is available to OAPs, former pupils, students, the unemployed or to those who recommend a friend to do a Conradh na Gaeilge course this term.

The courses consist of 2-hour classes one night a week in Conradh na Gaeilge, and there are a total of eight class levels to choose from on either Tuesday or Wednesday nights. In addition to its adult evening courses, Conradh na Gaeilge is also running an intensive day course to prepare primary education candidates for their Irish interview as part of the application process.

Ní Ghairbhí explains: “This Conradh na Gaeilge day course offers great value to all participants; it only costs €100 and includes a mock interview with personal feedback, handouts, pointers on the most common mistakes and an emphasis on relevant topics, useful terms, pronunciation and interview skills. Participants will receive guidance and a chance to practice and improve their spoken Irish by means of group work and role-play, all under the capable direction of a qualified Conradh na Gaeilge teacher.”

You can register for any Conradh na Gaeilge course online at or by contacting Máire Ní Dhuiginn at / +353 (0)1 4757401 for more information and to book your place. Additional Irish classes are also available through Conradh na Gaeilge in Ennis, Galway, Limerick, Mayo and across the country.

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Open Days for April and May

upcoming open daysOpen Days can be a great way of “trying before buying” and will often equip the prospective student with the knowledge needed to decide on whether to proceed with a particular course or college.

Course tutors will most often be available to discuss the content taught throughout the course and the methods of teaching used. It is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared beforehand so that you can get the relevant information and make the most of your time at the event. It is also a good idea to have checked out the website or prospectus of the college in question so that you are not asking questions that are already answered elsewhere. Getting to the event early is a good idea so that you don’t miss out on any demonstrations or offers that might be on offer.

Some upcoming open days and information events for the weeks ahead are listed at the link below. Included in the event holders are Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design who are holding an open evening this evening (18th April), Hi-tech Training and Pitman Training Swords who are both hosting open days on the 1st of May and NUI Galway who are hosting an information evening for adult learners on 14th May.

For more details on upcoming open days view

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German Language Courses – Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

courses in GermanSprechen Sie Deutsch? If not, you may want to consider learning German. While Ireland is deep in a recession, the German economy is in recovery and on the upswing. Unfortunately, for Ireland this means immigration will probably increase, but it also means that Ireland will be doing more business with Germany. So whether you end up in Munich or Mullingar ein kleines bisschen deutsch may come in very handy.

Germany is the world’s second biggest exporter, fifth largest economy in the world, and the largest in Europe. Employment is on the rise and German wages are forecast to rise. In short, jobs prospects for German speakers are very good right now. But that doesn’t mean you have to pack up and head to Hamburg, there are plenty of jobs in Ireland that call for knowledge of German, and given the growing strength of the German economy, this seems likely to continue.

It’s much easier to do business with and help people when you both speak the same language. Knowing German can be a significant competitive advantage in fields such as business, technology, research, media, teaching, tourism and international affairs. In the Irish workplace there is demand for German in all these areas and in particular teaching, translation and computer services such as web design and call-centre help desks and tech support. Any Irish companies wanting to sell in the German market will most definitely be looking for German speakers, and German is more important now than ever in the Irish financial services, accountancy, and banking industries.

Job prospects are one reason to learn German, but the other benefits are just as important, if not more so in the long run.  Learning a language stimulates the mind and has been shown to improve memory and cognitive skills. But it also connects people in a social and cultural way. Learning German makes travelling in German-speaking countries much easier and pleasant. By speaking German you are more likely to be treated better because the locals see that you’ve made an effort to learn their language.

This makes a difference in the way you see the world and other people. Of course knowledge of a foreign language is not guaranteed to end with a night at the pub with the native speakers of the language, but language study helps to understand people in a different country. On top of that it’s just more fun to vacation somewhere when you know the language. This connection and understanding also occurs culturally, and Germans have made massive contributions to art and science, for example, Gutenberg’s printing press, Beethoven’s music, and Einstein’s physics.

So how to learn German? There are many part-time or evening courses offering German language courses. A language school like Sandford Languages Institute is a good place to start. They offer courses at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Beginners’ classes offer an introduction to the language with a focus on both written and conversational ability. Common content includes pronunciation exercises, addressing objects, addressing others, and learning to speak in simple sentences. Intermediate classes focus on language structures, functions, and different ways of expressing ideas. Advanced focus on complex forms and more advanced vocabulary.

The benefits of learning German are immense not only professionally but for the opportunity to connect with people personally. To search for German courses simply view the following link –

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French Courses – Voulez-Vous Apprendre le Francais?

french classesFrench is spoken by over 200 million people and is an official language in at least one country on every continent. Knowing French will help not only in France but also in Canada, the Caribbean, Africa, and other countries in Europe. It is a key language to know for business and for travel.

With one of the world’s biggest economies France is also renowned for its innovative high tech and biotechnology companies. For Irish job seekers this means that knowing French can be a significant advantage in obtaining well-paid, interesting, and dynamic employment. All areas of sales and call-centre help desks and tech support are looking for people with French skills, and in particular, web developers and software specialists with French are in high demand. In a tough economy, knowing French can also increase chances in highly competitive areas of marketing and communications. French is an official language of many international organisations and is crucial for careers in international affairs.

The French have long history of outstanding creative and cultural works; French novels, cuisine, films, painting, and music are among the most original works of art produced. But even if you not tempted to read Balzac over a plate of foie gras, making an effort to learn the language at the very least will help to make trips to Marseilles, Montreal, or Morocco more rewarding and fun.
French courses
There is an abundance of French courses all across Ireland, so much so that it might be wise to ask yourself some questions before plunging into a course. First consider what level of French you want to achieve. If you’re learning French for a holiday, you might only need conversational French, or if you are learning it for business reasons, a tailored course for business specifically is probably the most appropriate, or perhaps you want to be fluent. Next consider in what way you learn best: by yourself, in a group, or with a teacher face-to-face. Other points to consider include; how much time you want to devote to studying, and how much are you prepared to pay.

The Cork Institute of French offers a wide range of French courses at all levels for Leaving Certificate students, adults, business specific classes, and relocating to French-speaking areas. French courses for adults focus on general and conversational French and cover some essential grammatical concepts. Ten week courses (€140) start in a few weeks, and fifteen week classes (€210) start a few weeks later.

The Sandford Language Institute in Dublin offers a wide variety of French classes, from beginner to advanced levels. These classes focus on reading, writing, listening, speaking, and grammar. All classes are 14 weeks in duration, and are offered in both Milltown Park and Merrion Square and cost €220 each.

Conversational classes allow students to learn necessary parts of a conversation, rather than the traditional method of learning via language and grammatical structures. Conversational classes focus on building vocabulary related to the particular topic. Topics can be as varied as selling computer parts in Haiti to sampling wine in Bordeaux. Usually students start with books to refer to and then as confidence grows, the book can be placed to the side.

If you would like to learn in your own time Kilroy’s College offers distance education classes in conversational French and preparation courses for the Leaving Certificate examination in French.

Regardless of why and how, learning French can be an incredible opportunity professionally and personal. To search for French courses simply view the following link –

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Coping with Unemployment

unemployment optionsThe trouble with unemployment is that ‘the minute you wake up in the morning you’re on the job’. This saying ironically reflects how overwhelming and wearing being unemployed can be, both on a physical and emotional level. Work ends at some stage of the day, unemployment only ends when you actually become employed again. As if the unemployed don’t have enough to deal with, there are a whole range of social stigmas that come with being unemployed. Like everything else in life, it is your reaction that will determine how well you survive being unemployed. Research has shown that a positive and proactive reaction determines how long unemployment lasts.

If you have recently become unemployed, it is vital that you normalise your feelings. As with any loss, we go through grief, an emotional response to loss. Grief brings with it four different emotional states; some experience all four, and others one or two. Remember, Grief is a natural process that produces a range of emotions to help people deal with their losses and their fears. Those emotional states are: Denial, Anger, Depression and Acceptance and Hope.

How to cope well:
Prepare: The most important thing when you are unemployed is preparation. Prepare your day; prepare a plan for your day; prepare how you will deal with questions from family and friends, and prepare how you are going to manage your finances. For example, the well-meaning questions of friends and family can bring up emotions such as embarrassment and questions from your bank can trigger panic and further stress.
Be proactive rather than reactive. This will leave your feeling empowered. Yes, change is difficult and fear that change can bring leaves us immobilised. Lose the fear, which comes from suddenly being made unemployed. Whilst it is important to ‘feel the feelings’, it is vitally important to talk about those feelings. What is even more important is to start rebuilding yourself and putting into place the building blocks for your new future also. This instils the last stage of the grief process – acceptance and hope. Even if you don’t feel like doing it – make yourself. Being unemployed is one part of your world – not all of your world.
Structure: It is easy to lie in bed, hoping ‘Duvet Land’ will magically create a new job or opportunities. The only thing that bed gives us is rest or restless nights. Your day as an unemployed person should be just as busy as somebody employed. Your new temporary role is: ‘Finding a job’. It is easy to fill a day searching the numerous on-line job recruitment pages and reading the job section of a newspaper. Once your daily search is over, look at how you can contribute to your community in a voluntary capacity. There are now volunteer centres around the county that can help place you as a volunteer where your skills can be utilised. Avail of courses on offer to you via the various government initiatives. Now is the time to identify the gaps in your skills and fill the gaps.
Talk and Walk: It is really important to keep your mind and body in shape during a period of unemployment. No man is an island so ensure you have somebody to confide in or avail of free counselling services. Exercise is key to that feel good feeling. When we exercise the body releases feel good hormones. There will be no release if you sit in front of a television all day, watching Doctor Phil fixing a strangers problems. So, find a positive outlet for your frustration – work out or write it out. Whatever you do, find a way to channel the bad feelings you’re going to have, because they can build up and do terrible damage to you and the people around you if you don’t.
Re-evaluate: Given the current recession and lack of opportunities perhaps in your area of expertise, you might have to re-evaluate your employment goals. We can’t be as choosy as we could be seven years ago. Ensure, you are applying for all the jobs you could potentially do? Perhaps, a short-term course could give you that one skill you are missing.
coping with unemployment
It is somewhat reassuring that the government is responding to unemployment in a number of ways. New training and education programmes which provide upskilling and retraining measures have been introduced. The number of places on some programmes (e.g. the Back to Education Initiative) has been increased. A number of changes have also taken place with the dismantling of FÁS, the establishment of SOLAS, the establishment of NEES (the National Employment and Entitlements Service) and the reconfiguration of programmes in different departments, which also means the movement of staff across departments.

The National Employment Action Plan (NEAP), operated by the Department of Social Protection and FÁS is the main activation measure for jobseekers. Under the NEAP, everyone who is approaching 3 months on the live register is identified by the Department of Social Protection and referred to FÁS for interview with a view to assisting them enter or re-enter the labour market. This will include information on the latest training and education options available to you.

The Department of Social Protection also provides jobseekers with one-to-one assistance through its facilitator service. Jobs Facilitators work closely with FÁS and other agencies at a local level and help jobseekers develop individual progression plans to develop their skills with the aim of improving their employment options.

The new Pathways to Work programme was introduced in February 2012. Speaking at the launch, the Taoiseach said: ‘Pathways to Work is all about people and making sure that, when economic recovery comes, those who lost their jobs in the recession are not left behind. We are completely overhauling the way the State supports jobseekers by introducing best international practice. Pathways to Work will introduce a new code of rights and responsibilities where, in return for welfare support, jobseekers must actively seek employment or engage with employment or training services. When new job opportunities come we want unemployed people to be at the front of the queue. Pathways to Work is fundamentally linked to our Action Plan for Jobs.’

The VEC Adult Education Services offer a number of accredited education and training options for adults, many of which are relevant to the labour market. Each VEC has an Adult Education Officer, who co-ordinates the provision of education and training for adults. A range of options is available to suit everyone, from adult basic education, right through to the Back to Education Initiative, which offers flexible learning opportunities for people in employment.

Springboard is a third level intervention for people who are unemployed. Applicants are generally required to already have a qualification at level 5 or more. This initiative which is ideally suited to people who have substantial work experience but who need a third level qualification to upskill or retrain in growth areas such as ICT, the Green Economy or the Food and Beverage Industry.

FÁS currently co-ordinates a number of training measures which respond to the learning needs of people who are unemployed. Courses available include anything from short courses, to blended learning options which include an online element, to specific skills training relevant to particular industries or sectors. Courses are run at different times in the day and may also lead to FETAC accreditation. Some of the courses provide a training allowance, as well as a contribution towards travel, meals and accommodation.

Some other options if you are unemployed for a longer period of time include:
VTOS (The Vocational Training and Education Scheme) – VTOS offers a range of full time second chance educational opportunities, from basic education right through to vocational education. You must be at least 21 and in receipt of social welfare for at least six months.
Community Employment – Community Employment schemes funded through FÁS offer part time training and work experience opportunities for people who are long term unemployed. Qualifying criteria vary, but in general you must be in receipt of a social welfare payment for at least a year.
FÁS recently joined forces with the Library Council to set up a new e-learning initiative. Learners can now avail of a number of learning opportunities from the comfort of their local library and learn at their own pace. There is no fixed date to sign up for a course and learners have the support of a facilitator who will be present at the library. There are currently no entry requirements, no allowances paid and no charges to those participating. Contact your local library to see if this service is available.
NALA (The National Adult Literacy Agency) recently developed as a distance learning resource which can help people achieve a FETAC Award at Levels 2 or 3 through a blended learning approach.
JobBridge (the National Internship Scheme) is a government intiative which offers internship places to people who have been on the live register for more than 3 months. An internship can last from 6 to 9 months. You will receive an internship allowance equal to your current social welfare allowance plus an additional €50 a week top up which will be paid by the Department of Social Protection.

Unemployment has to be taken very seriously when it happens to you. It can trigger serious mental health difficulties along with causing relationships to break down. You can negate against the negative effects of unemployment by formulating a plan to beat unemployment. Remember, failing to plan is planning to fail.

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