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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NAS Offers Free Defibrillator Training Courses in Waterford

NAS waterfordA Waterford company which is the driving force behind the provision of AED and CPR training in the city has teamed up with the Solas Centre, the South East’s cancer support service centre, to provide training in the use of AED (Automated External Defibrillators).

Throughout May NAS Training Centre will deliver a series of free training courses to the Solas Centre on AED instruction and practice along with adult and child CPR.

According to Ray Power, General Manager NAS Training Centre, the importance of AED and CPR skills can never be underestimated. “In Ireland approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease (CVD), coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases. Proficiency and knowledge about what to do if this situation ever arises is paramount.”

“We offered these informative and practical courses to the volunteers, clients and staff at the Solas Centre in order to allow them to deal competently and capably if ever such a situation arises and also because we greatly admire and respect the work of the Solas Centre.”

Ray added, “The course is designed for those with a duty to respond to an emergency in the workplace environment and the participants will learn by practicing all the steps of AED and CPR under the guidance of a qualified instructor.”

Each year 2,000 people are diagnosed with cancer across Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, Carlow and Kilkenny. Since opening its doors at Ardkeen over three years ago, the Solas Centre has provided support services, such as counselling, relaxation therapies and group support services to over 1,000 people affected by cancer and anticipates that the numbers visiting the Centre in 2013 will continue to rise.

Mick Nevin, Manager of the Solas Centre is delighted that the staff and volunteers will undertake such a practical course. “At the Solas Centre our staff and volunteers receive the highest level of training in all relevant disciplines and we are delighted that NAS invited us to partake on these AED and CPR courses which will give our staff and volunteers the knowledge and skills to deal any cardiac or circulatory emergencies.”

“The philosophy of the Solas Centre is manifold; to provide cancer patients and their families with a safe place to talk things over and to help them cope with living with cancer. It also will work closely with the hospitals of the region in promoting and supporting patient-focused, cutting-edge cancer research and continues not only to educate people about cancer prevention, but also to change our mindset around cancer,” Mick added.

For further information about courses available at NAS Training Centre call 051 333960 or visit For information about the Solas Centre and the services it provides call 051 304604 or visit

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WebActivate Information Event

digital marketing programmeWebActivate is a free programme for the long term unemployed which is operating under the new government Momentum Scheme.

The programme aims to teach participants how to become self-employed web publishers and digital marketers who will service local businesses or to become employees in the digital marketing and web publishing fields.

WebActivate runs for eight months and includes the following topics of study;
• Web Publishing
• Digital Marketing
• Web Authoring Tools
• Writing for the Web & Content Management Systems
• Information Architecture & Content Strategies
• Digital Photography & Graphics
• Project Management & Self Employment Business Skills
• Professional Skills for the Workplace

Work placement is provided during the course of study and participants will receive a laptop, software and 3g broadband access.

The final information event for the WebActivate program takes place this week in Dublin on April 12th at the Digital Skills Academy on Crane Street in Dublin 8.

To book your place and to be eligible for a place on the WebActivate program you can email admin@digitalskillsacademy

To find out more you can visit the WebActivate website at

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Alternative Therapies

alternative therapiesAlternative and complementary therapy includes herbs, vitamins, minerals, and physical exercise and massage for use in healing the mind, body, and soul. An increasing number of people are realising the benefits of these alternative therapies, and the demand for services is growing. Therapists are employed in sports and leisure centres, health clubs, hotels and spas, among other areas of the care industry. Many graduates have also successfully set up their own practice from a private clinic or from home.

Reflexology is a type of massage that relieves tension by applying pressure to parts of the feet, hands, or ears, and is based on the belief that there are reflex points in these areas that are connected to every part of the body. The Natural Healing Centre in Cork specialises in reflexology and has been training students for over 25 years. The Reflexology Course trains students to professional therapist level and is recognised by the BCMA, allowing graduates to practice in Ireland and the UK. The course is compromised of a theory module, in which students study both health sciences and client care, and a practical module, in which various reflexology techniques are put into practice. The course takes place over 14 months on a part-time evening course basis. Classes are twice a month, on a Monday and Wednesday evening of the same week from 7.00-10.00pm.

Homeopathy is a medical treatment that uses very small doses of natural substances, called remedies, to stimulate a person’s immune system. The British Institute of Homeopathy is located in Cork and Galway and offers a wide range of introductory and specialised courses in homeopathy including courses tailored for pharmacists, dental practitioners, and midwives. The Introductory Course concentrates on the fundamentals of homeopathy. The course is taught by distance education and takes place over 4-6 weeks.
For students who are interested in a career in homeopathy The Advanced Practitioner Diploma is a four-year professional course, the first 2 years of which are provided through distance education, while the last two years focus on clinical training. The British Institute also offers many specialised courses for medical professionals and homeopathic practitioners, for example the Diploma Course in Homeopathic Pharmacy that is 6-9 months in durations.

Acupuncture is used to treat pain and disease, and involves strategically inserting fine needles into points on the body’s surface. It is based on Chinese traditional medicine and stimulates the production of natural painkillers. The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ICTCM) in Dublin offers the professional Acupuncture Practitioner course over 3 years part time on weekends in Dublin starting in October 2011. The syllabus includes the history and philosophy of Chinese Medicine, specific theories of Chinese Medicine, principles and methods of diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and clinical techniques and procedures. Graduates are automatically eligible for membership of the professional body that sets standards for Acupuncture training in Ireland.

Qigong, another type of Chinese Traditional Medicine, is the forerunner of Tai Chi. It is a meditative practice that uses slow graceful movements and controlled breathing techniques to promote the circulation of qi within the human body. Qi means energy and Gong means to gather with skill, thus Qigong is to gather energy with practiced skill.

This is just a sample of training courses on offer; each school offers many more courses for both the novice and the expert. In addition, the Health and Fitness courses category on contains details of the many nutrition and massage training courses on offer around Ireland –

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Acupuncture Courses

acupuncture courses IrelandWe can accept that any therapy practice that has survived thousands of years is guaranteed to deliver benefits and results. Acupuncture, which originates from China, is such a practice, and it continues to grow in popularity in the Western world.

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine which involves the insertion of very thin needles to various depths through the patient’s skin at specific acupuncture points on the body. Traditional Chinese medicine works on the premise that by stimulating these points, the practitioner can correct imbalances in the flow of qi through channels known as meridians. Whilst difficult to comprehend at first – acupuncture is quite easily explained.

Chinese medicine believes that the yin and yang in your body must be balanced. Balance ensures that the body is maintained in a healthy state but if they are not in balance then your vital energy flows are being blocked. This vital energy is also known as qi and when it is not allowed to flow freely through specific body channels called meridians, you are experiencing different health problems or illnesses. By inserting acupuncture needles in certain points on your body along these meridians you can unblock the qi and restore your overall balance.

Your first visit to an acupuncturist will involve him/her making a diagnosis; this can be done in a number of ways. It will most likely involve measuring your pulse and asking a number of questions to ascertain and build up a picture about your lifestyle and health. The acupuncture practitioner may also check your tongue, stomach or facial skin for certain indicators of bodily ills.

Once the diagnosis is made, the therapist will choose specific acupuncture points (at least five) on your body and insert sterile needles in them. The insertion points may be far away from the area of discomfort or pain, for example, if you are suffering from neck pain, the acupuncturist may use some points located on your hand. The needles are solid and very thin – ensuring that your treatment is pain free. They usually remain inserted in the patient’s body for about 20 minutes and after they are removed the therapy has ended.
acupuncture courses in Ireland
Like any other alternative therapy – you must be patient with this treatment. Most people report feeling energised and feeling a sense of calm straight away. This gives a sense of immediate belief in this treatment – which is part of any therapy working. However, more than likely you will require several treatments.

Whilst, it is not quite known how acupuncture works scientifically; it does have some excellent therapeutic benefits. People use it to relieve any bodily pain and for therapeutic reasons – relieving nervous tension and mental health issues. The World Health Organization states that acupuncture is effective for treating 28 conditions, and possibly many more.

The Western world has been familiar with this type of treatment only for a few decades but it has already become quite popular there. With prescribed medicines and treatments often not working and people wary of chemical intervention in disease, there is a willingness and interest in trying out alternative Chinese therapy.

Given the demand for credible practitioners; it is little surprise that there is an increasing amount of people becoming acupuncture practitioners. Accreditation and proper training is very important if you want to establish yourself in this business.

The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ICTCM) offers an excellent three year course which can be undertaken on a part-time basis. The Acupuncture and TCM professional qualification is the Licentiate in TCM (Lic.TCM). Other courses can be viewed at the link below.

View acupuncture courses at the following link –

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April 2013 Update
News Feature Leaving Certificate Reform for 2016

Leaving Certificate ReformThe Leaving Certificate points system has survived for twenty years in the belief it is transparent and fair but major plans for change in the entry procedure for college and the Leaving Certificate look set to be in place for 2016. The points system to date has worked particularly well for students blessed with great memory, an aptitude for revision and study with the ability to draw deep on their memory banks to withdraw the right information on exam day.

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Featured Provider Motions Fitness

Motions FitnessMotions is a course provider offering the highest standard of professional qualifications in fitness instruction and sports massage therapy. The fitness courses are accredited by the University of Limerick and they are the only university accredited fitness qualifications in Ireland. The Certificate in Exercise & Health Fitness is a professional qualification with graduates qualified to teach in fitness centres, gyms or work as self-employed personal trainers or instructors..

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More Featured Course ProvidersFeatured institutes
Featured Courses
Trainingpoint Limerick Advanced Sales Techniques(Limerick)


This course concerns understanding people – including yourself, understanding how your buyer thinks, what your customer really wants and choosing the right approach to successfully develop that customer. Delegates attending this highly practical workshop will develop and practice advanced interpersonal skills needed to win increased business, particularly from more challenging customers. More Details >>

St Louis Community SchoolBusiness Administration with MOS Fetac Level 6 (Mayo)

Course outline :• Administration practice
• Word processing and text production
• Customer service
• Web authoring
• Spreadsheet methods
• Work experience
• Payroll
• Book keeping and MOS.

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Category Focus Category Focus – Computer Training Computers and IT TrainingFrom PC Basics for those unfamiliar with computing and wishing to learn how to email and use the internet, to typing skills and Microsoft training for those wishing to advance past this level, onto Web Design, Programming, e-commerce and more for those who wish to pursue or further a specialist career in Information technology. Why not check out our IT Training Section for a full list of courses available in this field or see some Computer Training articles in our articles section..
Featured Education Article Fitness and Nutrition CoursesFitness and Nutrition Courses Why isn’t chocolate a food group and is it really possible to get abs of steel without doing a single sit up? Understanding how our bodies work is not only interesting, it can be beneficial in allowing us to make educated choices about what we eat and how we exercise. Diet, nutrition, and fitness courses are excellent opportunities to learn more about taking care of yourself as well as for people who are interested in pursuing a career in this field…

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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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Leaving Cert Reform for 2016

leaving cert reformThe Leaving Certificate points system has survived for twenty years in the belief it is transparent and fair but major plans for change in the entry procedure for college and the Leaving Certificate look set to be in place for 2016.

The points system to date has worked particularly well for students blessed with great memory, an aptitude for revision and study with the ability to draw deep on their memory banks to withdraw the right information on exam day. Private grinds and extra-curricular tuition to fine tune learning skills are the ultimate in exam and revision technique for those who are able to afford them. These elements leave fairness a debatable point. However, irrespective of the student, performance pressure is on all Leaving Certificate students.

Shake up and reform of the second to third level transition is happening now. A concerted effort by all agencies involved across the second to third level platforms are addressing and attempting to correct the inherent problems in the existing system.

The Department of Education and five other bodies including the, Higher Education Authority (HEA),and the Irish Universities Association (IUA) are collaborating.

This first ever modification of the CAO system is focussed on improving teaching and learning quality to reduce the pressure and stress for Leaving Certificate students who currently are involved in a race to chase college places on highly contested third level courses. There is a series of cross-agency measures and work is being finalised to reform the process for the year of 2016 Leaving Certificate students.


Three priority areas have been identified for reform:

  1. There are currently 946 CAO Level 8 degree courses and this number will be reduced. The result will be programmes with a broader base across fewer courses for first year students.
  2. Cuts to the unwieldy 14-point grading bands A1 to NG (no grade) in the Leaving Certificate.
  3. Removal of predictability in examinations.

Reduction of Level 8 Courses

Concerns were raised about the significant increase in the number of CAO courses introduced over recent years. Changes now mooted are set to reduce the numbers of multiple courses of the same subject, this will prevent students from over-specialising in branch areas of a main subject too early in their studies. The belief is that when students have the option to specialise at an early stage, they become uncertain and the bottle necks for the main subject degrees with limited places leads to the situation where unnecessarily high points are required for these over subscribed courses.

Some courses will not be included in the changes and these include such programmes as medicine. However, consideration is being given as to whether the courses in the healthcare professional arena and others of this type should be open only to graduates.

Technology Institutes have also committed to review Level 8 programmes to ensure there is a mixed portfolio of courses with denominated and generic entry.

Leaving Certificate Grading Bands

Changes to Leaving Cert grading will see a reduction from 14 bands. Ireland currently has the most grading bands from all nations for examinations of similar type. The present points system was first introduced in 1992 as universities were concerned at the increased use of random selection for college students on similar or equal points.

While the intention was good to have more differentiation between applicants, the system bears blame for the extremes of pressure put upon students to push them to achieve maximum points, often seeing the course of their choice slip away as the popularity of the course increased the entry criteria. Anyone who has seen the devastation of a student missing his or her first choice course for the sake of a few points will welcome the reform. The pressure on teaching staff and students has meant the traditional curriculum relies on teaching students to pass exams and learning information by rote rather than promoting the ability to think critically and achieve deep-seated learning.

Predictability of Examinations

Teaching staff and students alike second-guess the examinations trying to predict what topics will come up in the Leaving Certificate examination for a given year. The teaching is then focussed on topics that have not featured for a few years. It is a gamble that often pays off but also has left students adrift when the examiners have not been predictable as forecast. Removing this element from examinations will lead to a broader based knowledge and the necessity to learn all of the modules in the subject area.

The reforms have been welcomed by Irish Business groups and IBEC said if the new reforms were properly implemented it would improve teaching, shift the emphasis away from old fashioned rote learning and assist students in making better and well-informed choices when it comes to choosing a college course.

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Evening Courses

evening coursesAre you looking for a career change? Making up lost time? Do you need a slip of paper to get that promotion, or maybe you want a new hobby, or to develop your language skills? Whatever your aims, you probably have too many responsibilities to drop everything and head off back to college. Entering full time education can mean hefty debts, a struggle to make ends meet and disconnection from a successful career path: a serious lifestyle commitment. Evening courses, on the other hand, might take up a small chunk of free time and a little cash, but don’t require you to drastically change your life.

Evening courses might not require the same sacrifices as going full time, but that doesn’t limit what you can achieve: it’s possible to spend your evenings doing anything, right up to becoming a doctor, though it’ll take a little longer than the intensive route. Another major benefit of an evening education is an entirely different learning environment. With many students having been out of formal education for significant periods of time, group classes tend to produce a more mature atmosphere. Students understand each other’s apprehension when it comes to learning, and many describe their classmates as supportive and dedicated. Many late night time students arrive after a full days work, have limited time to complete assignments and juggle numerous other responsibilities in their lives, but still enjoy complete courses, and do so successfully. Students tend to come from a much wider range of age groups: age, as they say, is no barrier to learning.

If you’re looking to gain a high level qualification you’ll have to plan ahead, as most providers of university-level courses run their evening courses on a similar schedule to the universities themselves, commencing in September or January each year. You’ll also need to think carefully about your long term future, as undertaking a high level evening course may require you to live near to the learning centre for a substantial amount of time. When studying in the evening, for example, PhDs regularly take at least 6 years to complete. Most universities now run a few of their regular courses with night time options, so your local university is a great place to start the search. By signing up with a major university, you’ll gain access to the extensive facilities (and perks) available to the full time students, and benefit from the universities reputation. Most courses at this level require prior lower level qualifications or extensive relevant experience, though if you’re doing something with a business focus, decent management experience is often more than enough.

If you want that advanced qualification, but the universities are just too far away (or you prefer to move at your own pace) there’s always the Distance Learning option. This market is dominated by the likes of the Open University, whose courses include almost anything that can be done without extensive onsite tutoring. Advanced photography, design and innovation, criminology and even a PGCE (teaching qualification) are all available. Whilst there are some time restrictions, courses run by centres like the OU are by far the most flexible, as you’ll able to do everything from your own living room, largely as and when you want to. You might not ever meet your tutors, but they will act as useful hands on guides via the Internet. Should it all get too much, you’ll even have the option to leave it alone for a few months.

For most people, the thought of a full on diploma, let alone masters or PhD, might be too much to contemplate. If you’re looking for something a little less long term and a little less strenuous, commonly available options include short courses, many only a few weeks in length, these cover subjects such as languages (at all levels), writing (a subject in which the Irish Writer’s Centre in Dublin attracts particularly prestigious evening lecturers), philosophy, music, child care and film studies. Universities are an equally valuable resource in these kind of areas, though you may find that smaller, private schools and specialised centres offer more flexibility when it comes to schedules and course length. For subjects like languages and music, private tutors (check the local papers) can produce tailor made classes at affordable prices, especially if you can form a group to study together.

Dublin is an obvious centre for Ireland’s evening courses, offering a huge variety of topics at varying levels over dozens of institutions, large and small. Elsewhere, the better known colleges in Galway, Limerick, Cork and Dundalk all offer impressive evening options, as do private schools in Waterford, Sligo and Roscommon (amongst many other areas). If you’re based in a more remote area, you may be able to find more limited courses on offer at local schools or through private tutors, but will have to travel or enrol on a distance learning course to experience more in depth and intensive subject matter.

Just for fun, or as an exercise in CV building and personal development, the large and varied selection of evening courses on offer around Ireland are likely to fulfil your educational needs without interfering with your career. From cheap, large-group courses lasting a few weeks to a full on doctorate that can take several years, there’s plenty on offer to please everyone.

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Family Fun Technology Day

lit technology dayLimerick Institute of Technology are hosting a family friendly IT and gaming event later this month. The technology day has been organised by the colleges event management students in conjunction with Coderdojo and Dell and will take place on March 29th (Good Friday) 12pm to 5pm.

The Coderdojo Generation Game’ will offer something for everyone – vintage games for adults, coding workshops for 7 to 17 year olds and fun games for the under sevens. The Generation Game is a charity event and offers a unique gaming experience incorporating vintage and modern gaming. Introductory coding workshops for children will run during the day as well as seminars for parents on technology awareness. participants will get the chance to meet new and upcoming games designers or just chill out and play some classic consoles and iconic games.

There will be a choice of three coding workshops; Scratch, Arduino and HTML. These aim to develop a general understanding in the basic building blocks for making websites, games and programmes.

Cyber bullying seminars will aim to tackle some of the technology issues parents are faced with, and will bridge the gap for parents and IT.

Tickets for the event are on sale for €5 with family tickets available for €10(includes 4).To find out more about the event and book your workshop visit:

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Electrician Apprenticeships with ESB

esb apprenticeshipsESB, Ireland`s leading energy company is currently seeking electrical apprentices to join the company to help deliver their 2025 Corporate Strategy over the coming years.

ESB Networks carries out the construction and maintenance of the electricity network in the country. This includes sub stations and the overhead and underground electricity infrastructure that are used to bring electricity to Ireland`s 2.3 million domestic, commercial and industrial customers.

Training will commence in Autumn 2013.

To Apply
Candidates must be over 16 years of age on 1st June 2013.

Educational Standards
Grade C or higher at Ordinary Level in the Junior Certificate (or equivalent) in the following subjects:
(i). Irish or English (ii). Mathematics (iii). Science* (iv). Any two other subjects.

Grade D or higher on Higher Level papers is acceptable.

*If you have not obtained the required grade in Science, the following is acceptable:
Junior Certificate – Technology, Art, Craft & Design, Technical Graphics, Materials Technology (Wood), Home Economics or Metalwork.

Leaving Certificate . Agricultural Science, Art, Biology, Chemistry, Construction Studies, Design and Communication Graphics, Engineering, Home Economics, Physics, Physics & Chemistry, Technical Drawing and Technology.

Application process

Applications must be made online and submitted by close of business (5pm) on Monday 25th March, 2013.

•    – Please have your Junior Certificate exam number / Leaving Certificate exam number* (*if applicable) to hand as you will be required to enter it as part of your online application.
•    – You will also have the opportunity to submit a current CV with your application form. If you have a current CV, please make this available to yourself before proceeding. However, submitting a CV is not mandatory.

For more information click here

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Cork’s Lifelong Learning Festival

corks lifelong learning festivalCork’s Lifelong Learning Festival is a 7 day event starting on the 18th March. The festival aims to promote learning for all ages and abilities.

The festival’s motto is Investigate, Participate, Celebrate, and visitors are invited to watch demonstrations, try out skills, and learn more about various forms of learning activities.

All events are free and there are hundreds to choose from throughout the week. They include walks and talks, performances, taster sessions, workshops, displays (from fingerprint analysis to Handball, from discovering how much French or Irish you remember to exploring biodiversity in a graveyard) and much more. At many of the events you are welcome to try the activity for yourself.

The Lifelong Learning Festival is organised by the Cork City Learning Forum (a group set up by the Cork City Development Board).

For more information about the festival, check out You can also email or call 021 492 4596

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Studying Stateside

study in the usaIreland remains a popular study destination for United States students; in fact, it is now ranked as the ninth most popular destination for those who choose to study outside of the US. However, the United States is also growing in popularity with Irish students, with an increase of 8% since 2007; despite increased competition for US college entry. This highlights the continued interest in and motivation of both Irish undergraduates and postgraduates to pursue studies and research in some of the top universities in the US.  Those choosing to leave Ireland to pursue further education stateside, have not only been successful in getting admitted to top US institutions but also in securing significant financial aid to support their studies.

The most popular institutions for Irish graduates are New York University, Columbia University (New York), Harvard University (near Boston), Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Notre Dame (Indiana). Those taking primary degrees are most likely to attend North-Eastern in Massachusetts, Scranton in Pennsylvania, New York’s SUNY Stony Brook University, Purdue in Indiana, or Harvard.

The Fulbright Commission in Ireland is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars, and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide. As well as sending more than 1,600 Irish postgraduate students, academics and professionals to US colleges and research institutes since 1957, including 23 in the current academic year, the Fulbright office in Dublin is also the country’s official source of information about educational opportunities in the US. They recently said: ‘In the last year, there’s been about a 15% rise in inquiries, more than 200 people contacted us from September to November. People realise there’s going to be an increasing cost to education in Ireland. They’re looking very critically and saying, ‘if I’m going to invest, I’m going where the best skills are available’.”

If you are an undergraduate, there are many US colleges that realise that students with a strong Leaving Certificate are strong candidates and with a range of other supports and financial aids also available, the option should remain viable for many second level students. However, with complex application procedures and entrance requirements for many colleges, those considering crossing the Atlantic for their degree should start the application process as early as possible. It is helpful to make yourself familiar with the US college entry procedures and requirements along with their approach to third level education. They follow the “liberal arts” approach – where students choose a selection of humanities, science, and business, subjects in their first and second year – before choosing specialist subjects such as law, agricultural science or history in their final two years of college. Most Irish students choose the US for their liberal arts approach which gives students a chance to sample a wide range of topics. For the first two years you are exposed to a diverse range of subjects. There are employers who place a high value on this approach to higher education as students need to be able to make connections between different subject areas. In one year as a student in the United States; you might end up studying any combination of subjects.

With over 4,000 colleges in the US, it is vital to do research and find which college is best for you – academically, financially and personally.

There are three types of colleges in the US:

o      Public or private colleges, which offer four-year degree programmes and also have a number of degree programmes.

o      Liberal arts colleges have an emphasis on teaching in the arts and science. They are smaller than universities, with smaller classes and a strong student focus.

o      Two year community colleges – also known as junior colleges, these are local institutions with lower tuition fees, offering two-year associate degrees (similar to diploma courses) and certificates as well as an entry point to a four-year college.

In order to take the first step in the application process, contact the admissions office of the college you’re interested in. You’ll need to sit the SAT (the SAT is one of two admissions tests, with the ACT being the other), which is often required for admission to US universities. It’s administered six times a year, with two test centres in Dublin and Waterford. A total of 456 colleges use a Common Application System. The SAT measures a student’s aptitude for writing, reading, and maths. Students from outside the US are at a slight disadvantage, as the US system is geared towards preparing students for the SAT. You can take SAT preparation classes in Ireland, to help you succeed in this part of the admission stage. Professional schools such as schools of law, medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine have special examinations

Most colleges will require a completed application form, an application fee, SAT scores, references, an essay about yourself or a personal statement and, in some cases, an interview. Students who have taken part in extra-curricular activities such as volunteering, sports, or drama, stand a better chance of getting a college place.

In terms of financing studying in the United States; a lot of Irish students in the US are on scholarships. There are many full and partial scholarships for Irish students who achieve decent grades in their Leaving Cert and SAT scores, excel in sport, or shine in extra-curricular activities such as music or debating.

Apart from it being advisable to start the application process approximately one to one-and-a-half year(s) before you hope to begin studies in the U.S., it is also advisable to apply to more than one institution. U.S. institutions receive many applications and often cannot accommodate all qualified applicants. You may decide which institution to attend after you have received your admission offers.

The United States of America is the land of dreams in the mind-set of many students. In reality, higher education in USA is among one of the best in the world and it attracts the highest number of international students from all over the globe. It has the best research institutes, universities, organizations and great atmosphere for innovation that makes it a number one destination for higher studies.

Helpful resources:

Fullbright: information on studying in the US – especially for graduate students.

Edupass: Guidelines on all types of financial aid, plus tips on completing financial aid applications.

International Students Organization in America
Information on scholarships, grants and other funding resources.

International Education Financial Aid
Database of scholarships available for study in the US. Search by field of study.

Sallie Mae College Aid Sources for Higher Education (CASHE)
Free online scholarship search offered by Sallie Mae. Offers scholarships in the form of grants, tuition waivers, fellowships, internships, competitions, work co-operative programs and loans.

The Princeton Review
Rankings for 311 undergraduate colleges and universities based on student surveys.

Follow and Share: March 2013 E-News

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March 2013 Update
News and Events Quality and Qualifications Ireland New Agency to Drive Higher and Further Education Change

A new integrated agency Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) was established on November 6th 2012. This agency effectively replaced awarding bodies National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), and Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), which are now dissolved..

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The Higher Diploma in Business in Small Enterprise Support course is targeted at people thinking of setting up or already running their own business, as well as small business advisors and mentors. The aim of the programme is to enhance your knowledge of small business development theory and practice, as well as your research and presentation abilities…

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New Agency to Drive Higher and Further Education Change

Quality and Qualifications IrelandA new integrated agency Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) was established on November 6th 2012. This agency effectively replaced awarding bodies National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI), Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), and Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), which are now dissolved. The new agency will also incorporate the functionality of Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB). Awards given by these former agencies will still be recognised as they are on the current National Framework of Qualifications.


Quality and Qualifications Ireland was brought about under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. The change means all quality assurance and awards are administered under one umbrella body that will also have responsibility for new statutory requirements in particular areas.

The new body, QQI is still at an early development stage and as progress is made, it will be reported transparently on its website. For providers of training and other interested parties, there will be many questions raised regarding the implications of this new body and some of these questions have been pre-empted and answered on the QQI website. QQI will work with existing providers of education and training in order to provide even greater opportunities for students to become involved in continuous high quality education in Ireland.

In the interim period while QQI are developing new standards, processes and methods, awards based on existing standards of the bodies to be replaced will continue but all logos used by these parties are now withdrawn. Instead, a variation will be used that has been revised by QQI until such a time as QQI brand identity has been fully established.

QQI Appointments

A recent round of applications via the Public Appointments Service (PAS) to sit on the boards of higher education bodies resulted in only five members of the public being elected out of 190 vacancies.

Sixty applicants through the public system to sit on the QQI board resulted in only three chosen from 81 applicants. Minister Quinn selected many candidates that had political affiliations. Those appointed included Joanne Harmon, education manager with the Health and Safety Authority and a former youth officer of Fine Gael, Jim Moore, a Fine Gael councillor for Co Wexford, along with Dr Margaret Cullen and Chairman Gordon Clark.

What Does This Mean To Students And Course Providers?

For students currently enrolled on any training programmes leading to one of the awards now administered by QQI, there will be no real change, only that the award will now be made by QQI instead of FETAC. The only difference will be a slightly different logo on the award certificate.

Providers of courses and training programmes will need to keep up to speed with the changes and service arrangements being rolled out by QQI, which includes those that were offered by HETAC, FETAC, NQAI, and IUQB previously. However, all registered providers of courses will receive updates by email contained in a periodic e-zine.

The establishment of QQI is part of a wider process where great changes are happening in training and education, which can only be a good thing for the future recovery of the economy and for those for who education was not easily accessible. Inclusive education combined with the emerging employment vacancies in new sectors will also mean the right courses at the right time will need to be available when industry demands dictate this. In future up skilling will need to be fast tracked so education providers will have to be responsive to the market needs. It will be interesting times ahead for the further and higher education sector.

Other Changes in the Higher and Further Education Sectors

 • Thirty-three existing Vocational Education Committees (VECs) will be restructured into 16 local Education and Training Boards.

 • SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanunaigh agus Scileanna) is currently under establishment as the new Further Education and Training (FET) authority. Under the Department of Education and Skills (DES), it will be a body responsible for both the funding and coordination of FET. The SOLAS mandate will ensure the unemployed are offered the training opportunities necessary to return to employment.

 • Technological universities are combining existing technological campuses to form centres of technological excellence to streamline and reduce duplication of courses.

With the positive restructuring of Higher and Further Education and the ability to respond to industry needs, the future could be brighter for Irish graduates and job seekers when these new changes come into effect.

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