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 www.corkcity.ie. You can also email learningfestival@corkcity.ie 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.

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Findacourse.ie March 2013 E-News

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March 2013
Findacourse.ie 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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Featured Education Provider

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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Sandford Languages German Level 1

(Dublin City)

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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Dundalk Institute of Technology Small Enterprise Support

(Dundalk, Co. Louth)

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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Category Focus Category Focus – Fitness and HealthFitness and Health

Interested in becoming a Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer or Nutritionist? If so then why not check out our Fitness and Health Category on Findacourse.ie..

Featured Education Article Fashion StylingFashion Styling Courses

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 Findacourse.ie..

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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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Nail Technician Courses

nail technician coursesYes, it seems getting your nails done is one cosmetic luxury that most ladies (and some men!) won’t live without in recessionary times. A recent survey in a leading women’s magazine had women citing that their nails were part of their self-expression, femininity; and having them manicured or painted boosts their self-confidence and self-esteem. This is all good news for those working in the industry and those contemplating entering it.

As a Professional Nail Technician – expect to work in a nail bar or a beauty salon. Some Nail Technicians hire a space in a hair/beauty salon, or choose to work from home or visit clients in their own homes.

A Nail Technician’s role is to apply false nails, nail extensions or decorate nails by using a number of different techniques. It is important to discuss with the customer the most appropriate type of nail extension and the options available for decoration. You will then clean the customer’s nails to rid any bacteria and provide a manicure before applying false nails or extension. Ultimately, you may decorate the nails by using a number of techniques such as applying a coloured varnish, glitter, gems, or stencilled designs painted with an airbrush or you may choose a free-hand design.

However, there is a serious dimension to the work carried out by a Nail Technician. You have to check the customer’s nails for signs of skin or nail disease.  If there are signs of disease, false nails or extensions will not be applied. In the nail industry health and safety is vital. The chemicals that are used can be extremely dangerous if they are used or stored in the wrong manner. The proper maintenance of nails is necessary to prevent damage to the natural nail.

What skills are needed to be a Nail Technician?

In order to be a nail technician you should:

enjoy working with other people
be creative and artistic
be patient, well organised and methodical
have excellent customer service skills
have an active interest in the latest fashion trends
be able to stick to rigid health and safety procedures

There are a variety of different classes you can attend in order to become a qualified Nail Technician. They mainly fall under two categories. Firstly, nail Classes for nail maintenance: This is where most Nail Technicians make their ‘steady’ money. As the natural nails grow the enhancement moves with it and alterations are needed to keep fingers looking kept. This is how technicians build up repeat business and a regular source of income. Secondly, there are various nail Classes for nail art. These classes allow those in the area to be creative and innovative.

Kilroys College offer a Nail Technician Specialist Diploma training course, via distance learning.This Nail Technician course is an excellent way to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge you will need to succeed in this very popular activity as a professional or as a hobby. As well as learning how to dress nails professionally, as part of your course you will also cover all the areas you need to work as a nail technician, such as the anatomy of the hands and skin, and the health and safety aspects of work.

Throughout this course:
– You will learn about the importance of good grooming and various forms of good communication.
– You will be able to carry out a consultation and maintain client records. You will learn to differentiate between sanitation and disinfection and how to carry out the necessary procedures.
– You will learn how to recognise and understand the consequences of cross infection and the methods necessary to avoid them.


Gel and Acrylic Nails

Portobello Institute run this course on a part-time basis. Gel and Acrylic nails are two of the most popular innovations in the world of professional nail enhancements. They are recognised as strong, durable and most importantly beautiful to look at. As two of the most in demand nail treatments on the market, a knowledge of both is essential for any beautician or nail technician. On completion of this course you will be awarded the ‘Portobello Institute Certificate in Gel & Acrylic Nails’.

Course Content:

Client consultation
Sanitation & Hygiene
Natural nail tip anatomy
Application and understanding of both gel and acrylic product
Infills & maintenance
Home care and case advice
Pricing structures
Career routes
How to start and promote your own business

Portobello Institute also offer a one day course in how to apply UV Gel Nails. This course is ideal for those who wish to enhance their skills as a Nail Technician. UV Gel Nail application is the latest craze in nails and provides an alternative to acrylic nail tips. The overlay of gel is used to create a natural extension which is then curved and sealed using an ultraviolet lamp. This course is designed to provide the learner with all the skills required to produce UV Gel nails from preparation through to file and polish. It is the perfect add-on to practicing beauticians who want to be up to date with all the latest nail trends.

This institute also run a part-time Manicure and Pedicure course. This is probably the ideal course to start with if you are interested in starting a career as a Nail Technician. Once you have gained this qualification, you are eligible to study for further Nail Courses such as Nail Art and Nail Technician (Gel & Acrylic Nails). The Manicure & Pedicure course gives you the knowledge that you need for Nail Therapies and the certification to take this skill to a higher level. This course is ITEC accredited.

A Nail Technician is a cosmetic position. It strikes a nice balance between science and art, as there are routines and techniques that you must master in order to become proficient at it. However, when you do put designs on people’s nails, including stencilling and freehand, it gives the nail technician the latitude to use their own imagination to create unique patterns.

As you might imagine, a large majority of clients wishing to see a nail technician tend to be female; however, be prepared for an increase in the number of male clientele seeking nail attention. Nails are nails after-all!

View Nail Technician courses on Findacourse.ie at www.findacourse.ie/Nail-Technician-courses-s27-60.html

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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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Raising the Profile of Part Time Education

part time courses for adultsThe National Strategy for Higher Education has stated that much more progress needs to be made in terms of innovation and flexibility to raise the level of higher education attainment and lifelong learning for adults. While there has been growth in this sector, to achieve the objective, the needs of adults returning to education must be paramount. Adults who combine work or caring responsibilities with studies, unemployed people who want to gain new skills and seek qualifications while remaining available for work are typical for those seeking education and training and supports must be available to allow them to partake.

An essential part of the strategy is to enable broader ways of accessing appropriate learning, combined with a funding model that will support part time and full time students in equal measure. The higher education sector will also need to respond to external demands from employers and communities for continual professional development programmes and specific up-skilling.

Socio-Economic Factors

There are very strong social and economic reasons for extending the focus on raising education levels in the broader adult population. Evidence shows nationally and internationally the link between educational achievement and employment opportunities and the downside of lack of appropriate education – unemployment.

The cost of failing to consider long-term exclusion from the labour force is not to be underestimated. While the costs of education and support may seem significant, the cost of failing to provide these supports is greater resulting in long-term social welfare dependency, crime, poor mental and physical health, financial insecurity, housing insecurity, and social unrest. There are many reasons why people do not avail of education from school leavers who wanted to earn the easy money of the tiger years, to those who have dependents or were financially unable to attend college.

Part-time and Mature Student Profile

  • Mature students comprise 92% of those entering part-time, undergraduate programmes, compared with only 15% of full time entrants.
  • The majority of those entering part-time courses are from a broad range of age groups, compared to full-time students, who are predominantly 17 to 20 years old (79%).
  • There are distinctions between the age of full and part-time mature students with 25% of full-time entrants aged 23 or 24 while the majority (80%) are below 40 years of age, compared to part-time mature students, where 95% 23 to 56 years of age

There is not a wide range of socio-economic data available but recent findings about mature students will assist educational institutions of all kinds to focus the courses on offer for the potential new student population.

  • Mature students are slightly more likely be disabled in some way (9.5%) than the broader student body where this figure drops (5.9%). They are three times as likely to have a psychological condition or physical disability.
  • Estimates show that in general, there are a greater proportion of mature students (36%) from a manual worker background (unskilled, semi-skilled, and skilled). This compares to only 22% in the younger age groups, particularly in Institutes of Technology.
  • The proportions of mature students from non-manual worker backgrounds are similar to the wider student body (11-12%).
  • There are higher retention rates for mature students on Level 6 and 7 than those on Level 8 courses.

Improving Awareness of Part Time Education

There is a need to improve the existing systems of information and guidance for higher and further education opportunities and in advice sources for those not engaged in education. Further work will be needed to promote the availability of the various part-time courses and supports on offer to a wider audience. Many part time mature students when canvassed indicated that around half did not receive any type of guidance to pursue their education. This is something that urgently needs rectifying. If guidance was received, it was invariably from the further education course provider.

Clearly there is a need for agencies to work together more and for the availability of information to be more accessible. The key to economic recovery in Ireland depends on an educated workforce at every level and the part time course is a vital element of this progress. Information and marketing to put the message out to adults who may be at a crossroads and looking for guidance plus sensible options for financing and support will lead to a more inclusive society, relief on the social welfare system and will make Ireland ready to catch the wave of emerging technologies.

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Free Training Programmes with the Irish Centre for Business Excellence

icbe sligoTwo innovative 20 week programmes for jobseekers are now available for application, delivered by The Irish Centre for Business Excellence (ICBE) in conjunction with City & Guilds.

Combining a unique combination of certified training (4 weeks) and work placement with mentor support (16 weeks), these programmes will provide jobseekers with the targeted training and skills needed to support their jobhunt.

Technical training options include either Warehousing and Logistics or Business Process Improvement.

Business Process Improvement participants gain skills in continuous improvement and ‘lean’ techniques which will enable you to contribute to the productivity and efficiency of an organisation. These skills are transferable and sought after by multinationals, SMEs and start-ups. This specialist programme is well suited to the professional or graduate who wishes to creatively build on their existing skills and transition into new areas.

Warehousing and Logistics offers an understanding of the supply chain process and gain new skills in this much sought after arena. Participants will cover topics such as: Modes of Transport, Recycling and Disposal, Receiving, Storing and Dispatch, International Transport/Haulage etc.

Both programmes are supported by employment mentoring with each participant to find a suitable work placement where both existing skills and new knowledge acquired on the programme can be applied. This is a significant opportunity for unemployed people to revitalize their careers.

These programmes are funded by government under the Momentum Skills programme which is investing €20 million in 2013 to provide free education and training places for up to 6500 people.

There are upcoming programmes beginning in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Meath in March.

The programmes are open to those who are at least 12 months on the Live Register and in receipt of jobseekers’ benefit or allowance or signing on for social insurance credit for at least 12 months and actively seeking work.

For further information on the programmes and how to register please visit the City and Guilds website www.cityandguilds.com/ireland/momentum

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Green Pathways

green pathwaysApplications to ECO-UNESCO’s newest initiative, Green Pathways, is now open to all young, unemployed job seekers under the age of 25. The six month programme, which is part of the newly launched Momentum initiative, aims to train and progress participants onto employment in the green economy.

Green industry is set to be a key growth sector for Ireland over the next decade. Through Green Pathways, ECO-UNESCO, the country’s leading environmental educational and youth organisation, will train and certify 80 participants, enabling them to take full advantage of green employment opportunities as they arise.

The focus of the Green Pathways programme is to build strong environmental, business, communications and leadership skills. Participants chose one of three pathways: the Green Leader path, the Green Enterprise path or the Green Youth & Community path. Through a programme of intensive learning, work-placements and project work, participants will achieve a FETAC-accredited qualification that will make them uniquely employable in the future.

Commenting on the initiative, ECO-UNESCO’s Executive Director Elaine Nevin said, “Green Pathways is an exciting and ambitious addition to our catalogue of educational initiatives. It’s aimed at getting young people out working and making them employment-ready once they finish. Youth unemployment is a serious problem in Ireland, we have one of the highest percentages of unemployed young people in Europe. Green Pathways will be an amazing opportunity for young people and will provide them with the security of employment in a growing, sustainable sector.”

ECO-UNESCO has been a FETAC accredited centre since 2005 and its headquarters, “the Greenhouse” is a dedicated training building in Dublin. The organisation has developed and provided a range of training courses aimed at up skilling young people in areas such as environmental auditing and impact practices, education and facilitation methodologies, systems thinking and sustainable development practice.

Green Pathways will begin in February 2013. For more information about the project and how you can sign up, visit www.ecounesco.ie

More details about ECO Unesco can be seen on their Findacourse.ie Page

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Film and Television Courses Popular as Industry Stays Buoyant

film and media coursesBord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) and FÁS have announced that the training resource for the television, film, and animation industries – Screen Training Ireland (STI), is to transfer to the IFB from February 2013. Personnel and budget will also transfer from FÁS to IFB after an agreement between the Department of Education and Skills, Heritage, Department of Arts and the Gaeltacht.

The core function of STI will remain the unit will deliver bursary awards and training courses to the audio-visual industry. Ireland’s significant film, animation, and television industry needs a highly skilled workforce. It is a fast changing industry in which Ireland has played a significant role through the years. Therefore, a dedicated resource to provide ongoing training and assessment of industry shortages is vital for continued success.

Arts Culture

Ireland has always had a thriving Arts culture and is a popular location for film shoots and television series. Some of the recent television productions made in Ireland have been global successes such as The Tudors, Camelot. The blockbuster Braveheart amongst many was also filmed on location in Ireland.

The Irish film industry has had huge growth over the last ten years and disproportionate to the size of the country and population, boasts huge film making talent. The film production sector in Ireland is estimated to be worth around €550 million with over 6,000 employees and over 560 small and medium businesses operating within the sector. Moreover, the value of Ireland’s film production and film locations is the amount of tourists that visit to experience the countryside, cities and villages they have seen in films. The tourist industry has tours devoted to films and the location tour for “The Quiet Man” remains one of the most popular.

Location route maps are available from the Irish Film Board for this purpose. In many ways while film seems like a magical realm, it offers practical career options and opportunity in an industry that is becoming even more sustainable now it has come of age.

There are many opportunities in the film and television industry and its associated offshoots with many courses available to students that love film and want to know more or those who wish to pursue a film industry career.

These various media courses are ideal also for those pursuing self improvement and self confidence with performing arts courses and the budding videographer who wants to build a career in wedding and corporate video has a wealth of film and camera courses to choose from. Film buffs will enjoy going “backstage” and learning about how a production comes to life and budding writers can hone their skills with course tailored to screenplay.

For those who wish to have a career in the broader film and television industry, a foundation course in a specialist area is the way forward to entering further education or direct to the industry.

Film Industry Courses

Many courses begin with a foundation year course and this article gives a brief overview of some that are available through Irish colleges.

Performing Arts Acting Foundation Year (Certificate award 1 year duration)
Bray Institute of Further Education – Fetac Level 5

Ideal for aspiring actors, this production-led intensive course develops imagination, self-confidence, concentration, and flexibility for students who wish to advance in performance theatre.

Masters in Interactive Media
Full time and Part time options – UCC

This course familiarises students with project management, animation technology and project work consisting of 2 and 3D animation.

FETAC Level 6 Media Production
Pulse College – 1 Year

Students will gain extensive experience while making television programmes, short films, and documentaries.

Animation Drawing Studies
Ballyfermot College of Further Education – 1 year

This inclusive foundation emphasises development of strong drawing skills with a broad course introducing animation.

Ballyfermot College of Further Education – 1 year

This is ideal for budding filmmakers and explores the role and function of the camera through hands on projects using 16/S16mm film cameras.

Audio Visual Media Production FETAC Level 5
Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute – 1 year

This course offers an introduction to the industry where the necessary skills are taught so the student may follow a career in a chosen area or continue education in the media and film industry.

Shorter FETAC courses are available on the national framework of learning allowing modules to be completed at the student’s own pace building up to a major award. At present new modules are being developed for the Photography, Television and Film, Radio Broadcasting, Multi Media, Graphic Design, Performing Arts, Acting and Theatre which will serve to enhance these courses.

Whether Hollywood is your destination or you just want to be able to film family occasions professionally, a film and television course could be a rewarding choice.

Denise Colebrooke

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Childcare Courses – Looking After the Future

childcareChild care professionals have an incredibly important job – nurturing children and looking after their safety and wellbeing. As such it is important that people this direction are well prepared and receive adequate training. The majority of childcare training courses available similar core topics, these include child development, early childhood education and communication. These days IT training is also included to a certain extent. This may only be simple computer skills, but a basic knowledge is required in order to operate some computer based learning systems that some childcare groups and companies employ.

Childcare Courses Ireland

Childcare courses, regardless of the nature of the content and the manner of teaching employed at the various colleges, can be quite comprehensive these days. There are certain laws and guidelines that everyone in this profession has to adhere to, and as a result these form an important part of any course. Modules on caring for children, appropriate behaviour, occupational first aid and a general introduction to working in childcare are all necessary and any good course will include them.

The other essential element of any good childcare course is work experience. Whether the course itself lasts one, two or three years, there should be an element of work experience to introduce you to the unpredictable world of work! This is most definitely the fun element! The length of the placement all depends on the individual college & the length of the course. Some placements may last just weeks, whereas others will require you to send an entire year working. This information will be available to you before you enrol on the course and the experience you would like can often determine which course you go for!

In terms of the career prospects on offer for individuals looking to complete a childcare course, there are a wide range of options. Some people choose to go on to teaching, others become a nanny in a private home or work in a day care centre. There would also be options to work with disabled or disadvantaged children which can be an extremely rewarding career choice for suitable candidates.

Childcare Resources

1. http://www.inchicorecollege.ie- Inchicore College offers two childcare courses, Childcare Studies and the CACHE Diploma. The choice allows you to choose the best one for you and your career

2. http://www.carlowcollege.ie – Carlow College?s Masters degree course is designed to help those working with troubled children and is perhaps one of the best courses in Ireland for that purpose.

3. http://www.ucc.ie – University College Cork offers a BA in Early Childhood Studies that is designed for individuals continuing from school or wanting to return to education.

4. http://www.limericksc.ie – Limerick Senior College offers a whole host of evening course and part time courses for people wanting to supplement their knowledge or change careers.

5. http://www.corkcollegeofcommerce.ie – Cork College of Commerce offers courses for those already in childcare and looking for career progression.

View Childare Courses on Findacourse.ie at www.findacourse.ie/childcare-courses-c26.html

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Third Level Merger Plans May Result in Technology Universities

colleges mergingNew proposals to cut the number of publicly funded third-level colleges in Ireland from 39 to 24 and eventually to 15 have recently been publicised. Supporters of the plans state the mergers will bring greater efficiency and improve quality. In the biggest shake up of universities and technology institutes for decades, colleges will pool their resources and try to reduce duplication of courses and administration.


Instead of separate human resource departments and payroll systems, the merged colleges would have a streamlined single system for functions of this type. Critics are sceptical and say the plans for these “super colleges” are always shifting and remain inconsistent. The sector has been buried under many different reports, recommendations, and plans.

There have of course been rumours and proposals before and a year ago, there were plans for two institutions. One merger was to result in a Border Midlands West (BMW) University covering Louth to Letterkenny and another the Technological University of Munster. These plans however, were cast out.

An expensive report commissioned by the Higher Education Authority resulted in a Dutch academic finding for a merger of UCD and Trinity. This proposal was not to popular taste and was discarded.

The continual shift and change of plan for these mergers is like trying to hook a duck at a fairground sideshow with the colleges bobbing this way and that. In this latest proposal, publicly funded third-level colleges throughout the country would be cut at first from 39 to 24 and then to a final 15.

The current plans include:

  • The merger of three technology institutes in Dublin namely DIT, Tallaght, and Blanchardstown.
  • ITs in Sligo, Letterkenny and Galway would merge
  • ITs in Carlow and Waterford ITs would come together with a view to becoming a technological university.

Collaboration between ITs and geographically close universities would be encouraged and Teacher-training colleges would be part of a merger with universities.

How Will The Merger Plans Work?

If two ITs merge that offer similar courses, does this mean one of the courses will be discontinued and the students and lecturers moved to another campus?

The Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) thinks this is possible and is concerned that students and lecturers will have to move many miles as part of this policy bringing further issues.

Many students will have additional travelling time, costs to study, and may need to avail of grants for living away from home adding pressure to already stretched grant budgets.

With mergers of this kind, lessons need to be learned from the debacle of SUSI where a centralised system introduced for efficiency resulted in chaos. It was unable to perform the function it was designed for leaving many students without any means of grant support for weeks and months.

Depending on how the mergers are played out, demand for courses could result in similar or duplicate courses remaining at each physical location. More specialised courses will be centralised at one location which makes sense as this concentration is a component of building centres of excellence so that is one benefit of merging institutions.

Merger in Practice

The Institutes of Technology in Limerick and Tipperary hasve already amalgamated and so far, the change has not been as drastic as expected for students and lecturers.

The new institute encompasses four campuses – the art college in Limerick city, the main LIT campus and the Tipperary campuses in Clonmel and Thurles. The result is an increase from 400 to 800 students on the Tipperary campuses, a reduction in staff numbers from 105 to 90 and cost savings of €3m. The campuses offer the vast majority of its previous programme of courses.

Business courses are still spread over three campuses in Limerick, Thurles, and Clonmel but the specialist areas of taxation, accountancy, law, and finance are based in Limerick.

Despite teething troubles, the merger worked well and student services have improved. Financial, computer and human resource departments were centralised with some staff redeployed.

There are issues associated with remote campuses and the merged institute has separate sports teams, because it would not be possible to centralise training.

Whether some of the institutes of technology become technological universities post merger will depend on fulfilling certain academic criteria. For example to qualify as a technology university, 45% of teaching staff will have to have doctorates.

The Network for Irish Educational Standards warns the recent proposals from the Higher Education Authority are structural changes with little to do with improving quality.

Denise Colebrooke

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Findacourse.ie February 2013 E-News

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February 2013
Findacourse.ie Update
News and Events Technology Universities Third Level Merger Plans May Result in Technology Universities

New proposals to cut the number of publicly funded third-level colleges in Ireland from 39 to 24 and eventually to 15 have recently been publicised. Supporters of the plans state the mergers will bring greater efficiency and improve quality. In the biggest shake up of universities and technology institutes for decades, colleges will pool their resources and try to reduce duplication of courses and administration..
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