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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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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Future People LimitedFuture People, Tipperary

Future People Training & Placement provide high quality IT, Project Management and Microsoft Office Training. In partnership with Global Knowledge(the leading global IT Training company), Future people provide a full range of IT Vendor courses i.e. Cisco, VMware, Microsoft etc. Also on offer are PMI certified Project Management Training in partnership with Liam Dillon of Turlon & Associate..

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The Sandford Language Institute has been running courses in German since 1989. Absolute beginners. This course is for students who have no previous knowledge of the German language. All of the main language skills of Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and Use of language (Grammar) are developed in class. The course is held in Westmoreland Street, Dublin city and also in Milltown Park, Dublin 6…

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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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It is easy to forget how important individual design is. How we dress ourselves and present ourselves to the world is almost as important as how we talk and what we say. Love it or hate it, fashion is part of how we express ourselves. Now wanting to dress the part is one thing, but following the fashion industry and understanding ramifications of individual fashion choices is entirely another thing. This is where a fashion stylist comes in..

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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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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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Action Plan for Targeted Education & Training to Curb Unemployment

jobs training coursesThe Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2013 was published in late February 2013. The aim of the plan is to support employment creation and provide targeted assistance to those who are unemployed to help them access the labour market, according to the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D.

With a rapidly changing economy, the measures the Department will take this year are focused on aligning the education and training system with labour market needs, addressing skills gaps where there are real opportunities for employment and also targeting youth and the long-term unemployed.

Welcoming the Plan, Minister Quinn said, “The Action Plan for Jobs demonstrates joined up Government thinking where we work closely across several Departments to address the most pressing problem facing this country – unemployment.

Some of the significant Department of Education and Skills actions in the plan include:

• The provision of up to 6,500 education and training places for the long-term unemployed under the Momentum programme;
• Ensuring that the skills needs of the manufacturing sector are incorporated in targeted upskilling programmes for unemployed people.
• The further implementation of the ICT Action Plan, including providing 760 further places on the ICT graduate conversion programme
• Review of international education strategy
• Review the Apprenticeship Training Model through consultation with key stakeholders on options for change.

The Action Plan for Jobs 2013 contains a number of measures surrounding the further implementation of the “ICT Action Plan”.  The joint Government-Industry Action Plan, which was launched in January 2012, was developed as a direct response to specific ICT skills shortages.

A second phase of ICT graduate skills conversion programmes was announced recently which will see more than 760 new places made available on 15 individual programmes in higher education institutions across the country.

Minister Quinn added, “International education is a €1 billion sector for the Irish economy.  For Ireland to attract globally talented international students, the education sector needs to work together, to be competitive and to be supported by the right Government policies and actions. To this end, the Department of Education and Skills will carry out a short, focused review of our international education strategy.”

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Mixed Welcome for New Jobs Plus Scheme

jobs plus schemeThe Irish Government are investing €50m in subsidies for employers who give jobs to long-term unemployed people, in the hope of creating around 5000 jobs and reducing the numbers on the live register. The scheme will start in June of this year and will see the State contribute one euro for every four to wages in the hopes it will encourage employers to create positions or fill vacancies they would otherwise be unable to afford.

It is expected that the largest sectors to make use of the Jobs Plus scheme will be manufacturing, services, and tourism. The scheme is part of the Government’s plans for action in job creation 2013. The Jobs Plus scheme will allow employers to avail of up to €7500 for filling a vacancy with a person who has been unemployed for over a year. If an unemployed person of over two years is hired, then companies may receive up to €10000. The payments to employers will be made over a two-year period.

The Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton stated that the current scheme, whereby there is a PRSI free allowance for employers hiring the unemployed, would wind down and be replaced by this new pilot scheme. It is hoped that a dramatic increase in jobs, (possibly three or four times the 1200 jobs created last year in 2012) will reduce unemployment figures. This will leave the Government liable to pay up to €50m to organisations that come on board to employ unemployed people through Jobs Plus.

This scheme will run along side the current government target, which is the creation of 100,000 jobs by 2016, as laid down two years ago.

How the Plan Will Work

This direct cash grant for organisations simplifies the complexities of other job-assist schemes and will allow firms to claim the allowance one month after salaries have been paid.

The action plan will see another 5,000 jobs created with a €70m fund. This will specifically be aimed at reducing energy costs in the public sector and businesses.

As part of the overall job creation plans, reforms for work permits will attract foreign workers, and an extra 2,000 ICT graduates will be available to the computing industry. Colleges are also part of the scheme and a target to turn out an extra 2000 honours graduates by 2018 is set firm in the plan.

The level of job creation was unsatisfactory in 2012 and the State has promised to double efforts under a new 333-point action plan linking in 16 government departments.

What Industry Said

A mixed reaction was forthcoming to the jobs plan from industry. The small firms association, hoteliers, and Chambers Ireland were enthusiastic about the scheme. However, the construction industry identified only five actions out of the 333 promised related to construction. The employers group Ibec questioned why the increasing costs of doing business would not be addressed, along with Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin said the Coalition over promised in the 2012 job plan, but under delivered.


With unemployment levels running at the third highest in Europe, all initiatives to get people back to work are welcome, but without proper training there is a danger of employers taking on unemployed people because it suits them to employ them cheaply without any proper career path and supplementary training. Without proper training especially for people who have been long term unemployed, employers may find that they do not have the increase in productivity they expect because of the transition time for someone who has been out of the work force for a long time. This scheme may well be a way of employers being able to “cherry pick” the best of employees, which of course is desirable but may well leave those less qualified or disadvantaged unemployed persons still no further forward.

This is why in addition to schemes of this type training at all levels must be an integral part of any job creation scheme. Unemployed people without skills and qualifications need to be given training in basic computer skills and health and safety to equip them for the market place.

While the Government are dealing in statistics, and making progress on some levels, unemployment remains unconscionably high, and needs to tackled. With the sheer number of training opportunities on offer, education for everyone is possible affordably. Employers need to realise that if they wish to avail of the Jobs Plus scheme then they must take the employment of long term unemployed people seriously and ensure they receive correct, proper training, and career development instead of being just a ‘cheap employee’.

Denise Colebrooke

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