Benefits of Learning a Language

language coursesReports in recent years have shown that there is a shortage of language skills in Ireland and that this could be holding Ireland back in terms of competing internationally. Ireland and Scotland are the only 2 countries in the European Union, where it is not obligatory to learn a foreign language in school and Ireland also has the highest percentage of citizens in the EU (66%) that are not fluent in languages other than their first language.

With this skills gap comes opportunity, graduates who have studied a foreign language are in a strong position in the labour market. A second European language has been shown to increase long-term job opportunities and graduates who have a language combined with another skill, like marketing or sales, are even more employable as the employment market continues to become more global. Many companies communicate with clients internationally and so the ability to speak another language can be an advantage in many fields.

Areas where language skills are asset are tourism, sales, marketing, conference management or customer relations as well as teaching positions, interpreting or translating. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) is an increasingly popular job and a great way to travel as many TEFL companies are looking for eager graduates to teach English abroad.

Sandford Languages Institute in Dublin offers courses in over 30 different languages including Arabic, Bulgarian, Spanish, Chinese and many more. The Institute runs these courses on a part-time evening bases and also provides in-company courses and private tuitions. The evening courses are typically 12 to 14 weeks long and cover all levels from beginner to level 2, including intensive introduction courses and advanced refresher courses. All the tutors are native speakers and fully qualified teachers. Check out www.sandfordlanguages.ie for more details.

Malahide Community School offers part-time evening courses in languages such as French, Italian, Spanish and German. The courses are 10 weeks in length and are aimed at beginners. For more information go to www.malahidecs.ie.

NUI Galway offers part-time evening diplomas in French, Italian and Spanish. Each of the courses are aimed at complete beginners and introduce the basic elements of the languages and run for 2 years, with a class once a week. There is also a distance learning course available; a Diploma in Italian, which is the first course of its kind to be developed by an Irish University. This course allows the student to be involved in the latest skills in e-learning and while having the flexibility of studying a language in their own time. The course, unlike other distance learning programmes, is based on a communicative, collaborative approach and students are encouraged to participate in online classes with their peers and tutor. For more information on any of the courses offered by NUI Galway go to www.nuigalway.ie.

Besides the obvious career benefits of learning a foreign language, having the ability to speak anther language can also be a great help when you are on holidays abroad. Rather than relying on dodgy sign language to communicate, just think how great it would be to be able to converse freely with locals with confidence! Whether you want to be able to deal with business professionals in French, teach English to students in Spain or order a glass of wine in Italy, there are courses out there for everyone and they are well worth checking out.

Find Language Courses on Findacourse.ie

Author
Fiona McBennett

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26 New Apprenticeships Announced

apprenticeship options in Ireland26 new national apprenticeships have been approved for further development in areas ranging from Animation to Healthcare. These new apprenticeships span a wide range of skills and sectors and will be developed in response to identified skill needs in the economy. A number of programmes in existing industry sectors such as construction, engineering, hospitality and ICT will be expanded. New apprenticeships will also be developed for the first time in a number of new areas such as healthcare, equine science and agriculture.

This Government has committed to more than doubling the number of new apprentices registered to 9,000 by 2020 and expanding further into new areas. Budget 2018 allocated €122m for apprenticeship training, an increase of almost 24% on the previous year.

All of the new apprenticeships are flexible, ranging in duration from two years to four years and will be offered at levels 5 to 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Following today’s announcement, the proposals will now move forward to the detailed development stage. It is estimated that the development process will take between 12 and 15 months.

The new apprenticeships going forward for further development are listed below;

1.
Applied Horticulture Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Teagasc
Certifier: Teagasc

2.
Arboriculture Level 5
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Caseys Tree Care Ltd, North West Tree Care, Kilcoyne Tree Care, Arborist Ireland
Certifier: Galway Roscommon ETB

3.
Associate Sales Professional Level 6
Duration: 3 years
Training Provider: Sales Sense
Certifier: Mayo Sligo & Leitrim ETB

4.
CGI Technical Artist (Animation, Games, VFX) Level 9
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Screen Training Ireland
Certifier: Dublin IT

5.
Equipment Systems Engineer Level 9
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: SL Controls
Certifier: University of Limerick

6.
Farm Management Level 7
Duration 4 years
Training Provider: Teagasc
Certifier: Teagasc

7.
Farm Technician Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Teagasc
Certifier: Teagasc

8.
Geo-Driller Level 6
Duration: 3 years
Training Provider: Geological Survey Ireland
Certifier: IT Carlow

9.
ICT Associate Professional in Cybersecurity Level 6
Duration 2 years
Training Provider: FastTrack into Technology (FIT)
Certifier: FIT

10.
Lean Sigma Manager Level 9
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Teleflex
Certifier: University of Limerick

11.
Logistics Associate Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Freight Transport Association Ireland
Certifier: Dublin IT

12.
Principal Engineer- Professional Doctorate Level 10
Duration: 4 years
Training Provider: SL Controls
Certifier: University of Limerick

13.
Professional Bar Manager Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Vintners Association
Certifier: Griffith College

14.
Professional Hairdressing Level 6
Duration 3 years
Training Provider: Hairdressing Council of Ireland, Limerick & Clare ETB & Image Learning and Development
Certifier: Training Network Ltd

15.
Professional Healthcare Assistant Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Kiltipper Woods Care Centre
Certifier: Griffith College

16.
Quality Assurance Technician Level 7
Duration 3 years
Training Provider: Ibec Biopharma cluster
Certifier: IT Tallaght

17.
Quality Laboratory Technician Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Ibec Biopharma cluster
Certifier: IT Tallaght

18.
Senior Quantity Surveyor Level 9
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Society of Charted Surveyors Ireland
Certifier: Limerick Institute of Technology

19.
Recruitment Practitioner Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: National Recruitment Federation
Certifier: National College of Ireland

20.
Scaffolding Level 6
Duration: 3 years
Training Provider: Construction Industry Federation
Certifier: Laois & Offaly ETB

21.
Software System Designer Level 9
Duration 2 years
Training Provider: Lero
Certifier: University of Limerick

22.
SportTurf Management Level 6
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: Teagasc
Certifier: Teagasc

23.
Stud Farm Management Level 7
Duration 2 years
Training Provider: Teagasc
Certifier: Teagasc

24.
Supply Chain Associate Level 7
Duration: 3 years
Training Provider: IPICS The Supply Chain Management Institute
Certifier: University of Limerick

25.
Supply Chain Manager Level 9
Duration: 2 years
Training Provider: IPICS, The Supply Chain Management Institute
Certifier: University of Limerick

26.
Supply Chain Specialist Level 8
Duration 2 years
Training Provider: IPICS, The Supply Chain Management Institute
Certifier: University of Limerick

What is an Apprenticeship?
Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training institution. An apprenticeship prepares participants for a specific occupation and leads to a qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications. Since the 1970s it is estimated that over 105,000 apprentices have been trained in Ireland. There is a current population of over 12,000 apprentices with 4,900 participating employers (November 2017).

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Fitness Instructor Courses

fitness instructor coursesIt has been said that if you can turn a hobby or passion into a career – you will never work a day in your life. With an increasing amount of Irish people becoming health conscious and more fitness focused, there is also a growing percentage of sports enthusiasts looking to leisure, sports and fitness as a potential career path.

This sector of our economy offers a very wide range of career opportunities. Employers include leisure companies, tour operators, local authorities, gyms and leisure centres, health and fitness clubs, hotels and sports clubs among others.

Apart from the level of fitness and qualification required; you also have to have an ability to communicate well with people along with a helpful attitude. Organisational and teamwork skills are often required and sometimes good business skills. One thing is certain – despite the growing number of fitness instructors in Ireland, those who are successful, are those who have established a credible name for themselves through determination and hard work.

Generally, there is a wide variety of courses that can help prepare for entry to this career area on a number of different levels: from Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses in Health and Fitness to Industry certified courses/qualifications. Students can also progress to Level 8 Honours Degree programmes in areas such as Sports Science.

Many jobs in this sector offer the opportunity for promotion to supervisory or managerial levels. There are plenty of opportunities to work abroad and in many cases it is possible to become self-employed as a Fitness Instructor or a Personal Trainer.
fitness instructor courses in Ireland

Course Providers:

Image Fitness Training runs courses that qualify participants as a NEFPC (National Elite Fitness Professional Certificate) Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer & Group Instructor. This qualification will help you build a career, not just a certification. Throughout this course, you will learn to conduct screenings of new members/clients and assess their fitness via a variety of methods. You will learn how to teach correct techniques in all aspects of fitness and utilise an array of exercise equipment to achieve results.

Litton Lane Training has been running courses in Ireland since 1987. Their courses run throughout the country. They specialise in Fitness Instructor programmes and also offer training courses to qualify participants as Personal Trainers or Pilate Instructors.

The National Training Centre offers an interesting course on Neuromuscular Physical Therapy which qualifies participants in treatment of soft tissue trauma and sports therapy. They also run a range of other courses on exercise and health studies, suspension training, pilates, pre and post natal exercise, kettlebells and more!

Motions Health & Fitness Training runs courses for people who wish to train as Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers. Their Certificate in Exercise & Health Fitness is accredited by University of Limerick.  They run both full and part-time courses.
Their courses are open to anybody who wants to attain a professional qualification in fitness instruction and personal training. Graduates are qualified to teach classes in circuit training, resistance & weights, body conditioning, step, flexibility and exercise to music. They are trained to carry out fitness assessments and design fitness programmes for a variety of people with different fitness objectives.

FitCert provides highly practical Fitness Instructor and Personal Training Qualifications at locations in Dublin, Louth and Offaly. Keith Martin is the founder of FitCert and has been in the fitness industry for well over 10 years, as well as providing top class fitness qualifications he runs a successful gym and martial arts business.

Based in Dublin, the Elite Fitness and Performance Academy offers a whole range of routes for you to start your fitness career: personal trainer training, gym instructor courses, as well as continued professional development courses like Kettlebells and Suspension Training.

The Sports Fitness Academy in Donegal delivers high quality teaching and learning with recognised qualification within the sport and fitness industry. Courses include fitness instruction, personal training and sports massage therapy. All the courses delivered are accredited and mapped to both the English Qualification and Credit Framework (QCF) and the European Quality Framework (EQF). These qualifications will provide students with access onto the Register of Exercise Professionals Ireland (REPs Ireland) and the Sports Massage Association (SMA).

Holistic College Dublin provides comprehensive, professional training in a wide range of therapies from foundation courses to the most advanced therapeutic training in Ireland. All of our training programmes are recognised for excellence in training standards and superb exam results! Holistic College Dublin is a registered provider for I.T.E.C. awards.

If you wish to gain a Higher Education award in the Health & Leisure business; there are many on offer via the CAO system. The Bachelor of Science in Health and Leisure in Tralee IT, is both well established and extremely credible amongst relevant professionals and professional bodies. The programme consists of an equal mixture of applied, active, often externally-certified leadership training programmes, and the theoretical foundations underpinning each subject area. Specialist streams are each supplemented with a one-year add-on Level 8 programme. Graduates will have a variety of qualifications and certifications and may be eligible for professional registration in certain disciplines. Graduates are typically qualified to work as gym instructors, activity co-ordinators, personal trainers, sports development officers, PE teachers (requires additional qualification), youth development officers, leisure facility managers, adapted physical activity specialists, health promotion officers, but are not limited to these roles.

If you wish to pursue a Further education/PLC course, there are a number of courses on offer throughout the country. An example of such courses is the Sport and Recreation Studies Level 5 and Sports Development Level 6 courses which are run by St Louis Community School in Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo. Like other similar QQI courses, subjects taught include: Nutrition, Circuit Training, Sport and Recreation Studies, Resistance Training, Physiology & Anatomy, Body Conditioning and Sculpting, Exercise and Fitness, First Aid, Health and Safety, Work Experience, Communications and information Technology. Graduates of these PLC courses can go on to pursue careers in: Aerobic and Gym Instruction, Sports Development Officers, Sport Retail Sales and Freelance Fitness Instructors.

If you are considering pursuing a course that qualifies you as a Fitness Instructor or Personal Trainer; it is recommended to discuss this area with somebody already established and qualified in this sector and then visit any of the course providers. If you are committed to working out, eating right, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is possible that you could turn your passion into a reputable income-generating profession!

To find Fitness Instructor courses and other fitness related courses view our Fitness and Health courses category on Findacourse.ie – www.findacourse.ie/fitness-health-courses-c5.html

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Survey of Student Engagement 2017

35,850 students took part in the 2017 Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) – a national survey of students in twenty-seven public higher education institutions – bringing the total number of responses to almost 125,000 since the survey was introduced in 2013.

student surveyThe Irish Survey of Student Engagement (ISSE) is designed to ask students directly about their experiences of higher education. Student feedback provides institutions with valuable information to identify good practice that enhances the student experience and to prompt awareness of, and action on, any particular issues or challenges that affect students.

In each year’s report, one chapter “looks deeper” into what students are saying. In 2017, the experiences of students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics subjects) are explored and present some expected and some surprising results:

Students studying non-STEM subjects, when taken all together, spend more time addressing higher order learning than those studying STEM. For the survey, higher order learning is defined as the extent to which work emphasises challenging tasks such as application, analysis, judgement and synthesis of information. For example, 15% of STEM students reported that their coursework emphasised ‘evaluating a point of view’ very much whereas 25% of non-STEM respondents selected this option.

Students studying STEM subjects spend considerably more time than other students dealing with quantitative reasoning, that is, evaluating, supporting or critiquing views by using numerical and statistical information. For example, 48% of STEM students report that their coursework emphasises ‘reaching conclusions on analysis of numerical information’ compared to 26% of those studying all other subjects.

Students’ interaction with academic staff offers another perspective on the value of the survey.  It is noted that these results are low compared to other countries with similar surveys and lower for first year students than for other year groups. This might not be surprising given the increasing numbers of students participating in higher education against a background of well-known funding constraints, but institutions are working hard to limit the impact on students. In fact, despite the low base, results for this indicator in 2017 are the highest since the survey started in 2013. However, lecturers, class sizes and group work feature very frequently in open text responses from students, as illustrated in the following:

“Tutorials are a great way of understanding and practicing questions. I find that being in these smaller groups really help as you are able to ask more questions and get a better quality of learning”.

“In a lot of the lectures, the lecturers interact with the students and assign groups to work together, which is a good approach to learning. There are also a lot of resources in the university for those who need it, in regards to learning. I always receive emails about some type of resource to avail of and it’s nice to know it’s there if I need it”.

“The continuous assessments allow us to engage in the work throughout the semester. Some lecturers have excellent in class work to help us understand topics.”

“We have group projects to do in our tutorials which force us to research and engage further in the material covered in the lectures. The group presentations help you get a deeper understanding of the material.”

The results of the survey are intended to bring benefits to students and their institutions, and to inform national policy. When introduced in 2013, the ISSE was the first national survey of its kind in Europe, although a number of countries have explored similar surveys since then.

Some results from the 2017 survey

  • 35,850 students took part in the 2017 survey
  • 56% have developed clear and effective writing skills quite a bit or very much
  • 63% often/very often improved knowledge and skills that will contribute to their employability
  • 59% of students feel they are well supported to help them succeed academically
  • 53% often/very often worked with other students on projects or assignments
  • 61% often/very often combined ideas from different subjects / modules when completing assignments

The full survey publication is available online at – http://hea.ie/assets/uploads/2017/11/ISSE-Report-2017-final.pdf

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Management Training Courses

management trainingModern managers are expected to have the ability to think creatively on top of having the necessary analytical skills and decision making skills. Contemporary courses therefore try to develop and promote soft skills like team-work and social ability along with the necessary hard core management skills. A good manager must be excellent at managing people as well as activities.

Whether managing a large company or your own business, essential management skills can be learnt, refreshed, or up-dated; thanks to a number of different colleges and course providers. You can even choose to participate in a one-day training course in a particular area you feel you need guidance or information on.

The College of Management and IT (CMIT) offer a QQI accredited distance learning course that equips Managers (and those new to Management) with comprehensive skills to improve their organisational and people management abilities.
Students will learn how to:
• Organise company structures/teams
• Complete internal and external organisation reviews
• Effectively lead and manage staff
• Manage their time more effectively
• Learn how to be more organised as Managers.
The course is designed for those working in Large Companies, SMEs or the Public Sector.

The Communications and Management Institute (CMI) run an advanced Diploma in Management. They focus on effective management for the individual participating in the course according to their style.

Griffin College offer a number of specific occupational training courses which focus on topical and relevant issues in the work place. An example of one of these courses is ‘Conflict Handling and Resolution Skills’. This course recognises that if an organisation is to thrive, it must be able to handle conflict. Upon completion of the course, participants should understand the stages of conflict and gain knowledge and the skills necessary to put resolutions into place. They also offer courses relating to interviewing, managing stress and developing and sustaining vision, amongst others.

The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) offer a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management. It is a one year part-time programme that analyses public management issues. This programme is suitable for anybody working in the public sector. This course is accredited by the National University of Ireland.

The Institute of Technology in Carlow offer a Bachelor of Business (honours) in management. This is a full-time four year course providing an academic qualification for those interested in a career in business and management. Its general nature provides students with a broad skill-base that will ensure that the graduate has a wide range of potential job opportunities.

There is no shortage of courses if this is the area you wish to specialise in. It is important to remember that most career areas require a certain level of management ability, whether it is self-management or managing others. Undertaking a management course also serves to improve your general employability or productivity.

Good management is essential to any successful organisation. A good leader achieves a hard working, productive and effective workforce that punches above its weight in its performance. A reflective and creative manager is a skilful administrator who is constantly looking for ways to not just improve productivity from staff, but one who seeks to acquire new knowledge, so that decisions made are informed ones, and issues are handled with credibility. Therefore, whatever management course you choose to participate in, try to ensure that the course content and philosophy reflects changing trends and will set you on the road to effective and productive leadership.

View Management Training Courses on Findacourse.ie at www.findacourse.ie/management-courses-c25.html

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Traineeship Information

traineeships in IrelandThe government has recently committed to doubling the number of trainees enrolled by 2020 and to significantly expanding the number of industries offering traineeship programmes. Budget 2018 allocated an additional €15m for traineeship training which represents an increase of almost 58% on the 2017 allocation of €26m.

Traineeships are programmes of structured training which combines learning in an education and training setting and in the workplace aiming to improve recruitment and employment outcomes for participants and increase retention and productivity within industry. Previously aimed at unemployed people, traineeships are now open to a wider range of participants, of all ages and background.

Key features of Traineeships in Ireland

  • They respond to an identified industry skills need
  • Lead to an award at NFQ Levels 4-6, or equivalent
  • Are between 6-20 months in duration
  • Have at least 30% of learning on-the-job
  • Combine transversal and technical skills development
  • Are designed for flexible delivery – online, blended learning
  • Provide open access to prospective trainees, unemployed people may be eligible for income support

Currently, there are over 30 traineeship programmes available around the country. This number will increase with the development of more traineeships across a range of industries and sectors.

The below list sets out the suite of current traineeship programmes.

  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician
  • Aircraft Structures Technician
  • Engineering
  • Laboratory Assistant
  • IT Support Specialist
  • Software Developer
  • Digital Sales and Marketing
  • IT Network Security
  • Animation Studio Assistant

CARE HOSPITALITY

  • Early Childhood Care and Education
  • Health Care Assistant
  • Hospitality NFQ Level 4
  • Hospitality NFQ Level 5
  • Food and Beverage Service

CONSTRUCTION LOGISTICS

  • Overhead Lines Operator
  • Interior Systems
  • Supply Chain Logistics
  • Logistics and Distribution

BUSINESS RETAIL

  • Office Administration
  • Business Systems Service Technician
  • Business Administration
  • Medical Administration
  • Legal Administration
  • Retail Associate
  • Pharmacy Sales Assistant
  • Retail Skills Health and Beauty

SPORTS AND LEISURE FASHION AND BEAUTY

  • Outdoor Activity Instructor
  • Equestrian International Instructor (BHSAI)
  • Sports, Recreation and Exercise
  • Beauty Therapist

FINANCE

  • Accounts Executive
  • Financial Administration

Eligibility

Traineeships are free of charge to participants. Trainees may include school leavers, older learners, those in employment and those who are unemployed. The minimum age for participation on a Traineeship programme is the statutory school leaving age of 16 years.

People who are unemployed and wish, following engagement with their Intreo Case Officer, to access traineeship to upskill for employment, may be eligible for a training allowance or income support.

As of November 2017, eligibility and support to participate in a traineeship has been expanded. In line with the Pathways to Work 2016-2020 strategy, the Comprehensive Framework for Employment of People with Disabilities and the Action Plan on Jobless Households, eligibility to participate in a traineeship now includes unemployed people who are in receipt of the following payments:

  • Jobseekers Benefit
  • Jobseekers Payment
  • One Parent Family payment
  • Jobseeker’s Transitional Payment (JST)
  • Disability Allowance

Eligible persons must also be resident in the state and hold a valid PPSN.
Those in receipt of one of the payments above are eligible to retain their payment while participating in a traineeship. Prospective participants who fulfil these criteria are referred by Department of Education and Social Protection (D/EASP) to an Education Training Board (ETB) and receive a training allowance for the duration of their training.

More Information

Intreo offices (www.welfare.ie), Local Employment Services (www.localemploymentservices.ie) and Education and Training Boards (www.etbi.ie) provide a guidance service locally and regionally to jobseekers and adult learners.

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STEM Education Subjects To Be Prioritised

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D. has launched his Department’s STEM Education Policy Statement 2017-2026 and Implementation Plan 2017-2019. In line with the objective to be the best in Europe, the plan being published today sets out the Minister’s intention to make Ireland a European leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) education by 2026.

Speaking at the Launch, Minister Bruton said “We are undergoing a technological revolution globally. If Ireland is to be at the forefront of this transformation, we must be a leader in nurturing, developing and deploying STEM talent. This Policy Statement focusses on the many strengths in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education in Ireland while providing a roadmap to address the areas for development”.

Key ambitions include:

  • Increase by 20% the total students taking Chemistry, Physics, Technology and Engineering for Leaving Certificate
  • Increase by 40% the number of females taking STEM subjects for Leaving Certificate
  • Increase participation in out-of-school STEM learning opportunities and STEM career activities
  • Introduce a new primary maths curriculum, which will include creative and computational thinking and coding
  • Accelerate the introduction of Computer Science at Leaving Certificate, with implementation brought forward to September 2018
  • Introduction of new Junior Cycle Mathematics and Technology curricula
  • Teachers will use a cross-disciplinary approach to incorporating STEM across all subjects
  • Enhance STEM teaching, learning and assessment practices in early years settings
  • Close the gap in achievement in STEM disciplines between students in DEIS schools and students in all schools significantly
  • Ensure that all schools, learners and parents have access to high quality information on the diversity of STEM careers
  • Build robust and sustainable partnerships between schools, business and industry, public sector bodies, research organisations, further and higher-level institutions and the Arts

Achieving these goals will require a significant step-up in support to teachers and school leaders and encouragement of innovation in teaching methods.

Actions to deliver on these ambitions will be included in the annual programme under the Action Plan for Education and their impact will be reported on.

The policy statement document can be viewed at the following link – https://www.education.ie/en/The-Education-System/STEM-Education-Policy/stem-education-policy-statement-2017-2019.pdf

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Effective Study Habits

study techniquesWith seasonal exams fast approaching, it’s good to make the most of the time put aside for study by putting in place some techniques and routines. Effective study habits are very important for achieving satisfactory exam results. They help to store information in long-term memory. Applying the following rules for studying should help in improving exam results.

Study Tips

1. Keep the area around your desk neat and tidy. If possible, the area should also be quiet. If you are having trouble finding a quiet place to study, try the local library or park. The library is a perfect place to have peace and quiet. The park may not be as quiet, but the fresh air can make studying less nerve-racking. If noise is unavoidable, then try listening to some relaxing music while studying.

2. Sit down for 45 minute intervals, followed by 15 minute breaks. Having an easily attainable goal, like sitting for set duration of time, is effective for increasing motivation.

3. Reward yourself if and only if you have met your goal for that study session. For example, if you plan to study one chapter and succeed, then you may reward yourself. Examples of positive reinforcement are: food, exercise, video-games, etc.

4. Have a scheduled study time for each school day. Remember that one classroom hour should be reinforced by two hours of studying at home.

5. Make correspondences between your class notes and your textbook. This will help you to fill in any background information not covered in class.

6. Prepare questions about the chapter that will be discussed in the following class. This will help you identify areas that you don’t understand.

7. Put any new words or concepts to use. The more you use the learned information, the more likely you will be to remember it. This is especially true for language classes.

8. Finally, review what you have studied just before you go to bed. You will find that you will remember the words very strongly the next morning.

Study Tips, Exam Tips

Study Downfalls

1. Procrastination. Cramming is not beneficial for producing long term memory.

2. Studying on the computer. You are bound to be tempted to check your email or surf the net. Studies also show that people skim over information more on computer screens, which does not effectively log the information in memory.

3. Leaving mobile phones on during study time. No matter who is calling or texting, usually it can wait 45 minutes. Having your cell phone on silent mode during study time can help remove distractions.

4. Study just after having eaten. Studies have shown that thinking is slower after having a meal.

5. Spacing out. When you feel your mind begin to wander, remind yourself to concentrate. If you are reading, using a pencil or pointer is a good way to keep your mind on track. Even moving your finger on the page forces you to pay more attention to what you are doing.

Of course studying and memorising are 2 different things. If you read something once it is likely that it will not remain in memory for long. It is usually necessary to go over notes between 2 and 7 times before they will become logged in longer term memory. It is also important to break up information so that the brain does not become overloaded. It may be worthwhile reading up on some memorisation techniques available online to be sure that your study time is being used effectively. One such resource is available at http://www.wikihow.com/Memorize.

Remember also, if there are parts of the course that you don’t understand or need help with, not to be afraid to get in contact with a course tutor, after all that’s what they’re there for. Most often they will be glad to see that students are making an effort and are trying to learn and will be happy to help with any parts of the course that are causing difficulty.

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Converting College Courses

Converting college coursesHave you ever wanted to convert your degree into something else? Have you ever wanted to specialise in a specific area of interest? Do you want to equip yourself with the necessary skills and qualifications that are currently in short supply? If you have answered yes to any of these questions, conversion courses could be the perfect fit for you to fulfil personal or professional ambitions.

The good news is that your existing undergraduate degree is not defunct; in fact it is the necessary foundation to allow you to gain access to a conversion programme of study. These courses are usually one-year taught postgraduate courses with a range of subject areas to choose from. Employers put a lot of weight on these courses as they are evidence of your ability and motivation to move with the changing economic forces currently at play in today’s jobs market.  A conversion course is the ideal way to address your lack of current skills, broaden your knowledge, or to progress further in your current career.

As with any course it is important to check with the individual HEI to ascertain the minimum entry requirements. Usually, the minimum requirement is a degree; the more competitive courses will require an honours degree of 2:1. Most conversion courses are open to graduates from any discipline, and this is the main advantage of undertaking a conversion course. However, there are certain programmes that will require specific subjects or specific undergraduate degrees.

There are a number of areas that are proving to be extremely popular at the moment; IT and Medicine being an example of these. In relation to IT, students do report how easy it was to convert to this area. IT conversion courses welcome students with degrees in unrelated disciplines, and other applicants with relevant experience who are looking to up-skill. Given the current shortage of IT graduates, it is little surprise to hear of the demand and interest for related courses. Participants who complete these types of conversion courses will have gained theory and practice in one year comparable to the level of competence of a computer science graduate.

Medicine is an area that was made inaccessible to those who failed to make the exorbitant points as leaving certificate applicants. The much welcome news is that The Graduate Entry Medical School at the University of Limerick and The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland both offer a four-year medical degree programme to graduates of any discipline. These four year programmes are not the typical conversion courses but they also do not require their students to have studied medicine at undergraduate level. Applicants must hold a minimum 2:1 bachelor honours degree and then pass the GAMSAT (Graduate Australian Medical Schools Admissions Test) to be accepted.

Before considering whether to undertake a conversion qualification, it is recommended to research thoroughly the area/discipline you are considering going into and speak to the individual HEIs in question. The obvious criteria would be:

  • Do I have a real interest and aptitude/ability for this area?
  • What are the career opportunities after graduation?
  • What percentage of graduates get employment from this course?
  • What will it cost me?

An example of an innovative and exciting conversion programme is the Master of Arts in Technology, Learning, Innovation and Change on offer from Saint Angela’s in Sligo. This is a one year full-time professional development programme which aims to equip individuals with the knowledge, skills and understanding necessary to utilise technology in an innovative way to enhance practices at the level of the individual and/or organisation.

This course is part-funded by the HEA under the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme 2011-2012 (NDP 2007-2013) and it consists of four College based modules and a ten-week workplace practicum:

• Module 1: Innovation and changing practices: contemporary debates and issues.

• Module 2: Technology, innovation and changing practices

• Module 3:  Enhanced learning and research practices

• Module 4: Implementing the Innovative use of technology to enhance learning and facilitate change. (includes a ten week workplace practicum)

The HDipPsych Conversion programme from NUIG is a one-year, full-time programme designed for students who have completed the BA with Psychological Studies at NUI Galway, or its equivalent. By combining the HDipPsych (Conversion) with the BA with Psychological Studies, students will have covered the course content equivalent to that of the NUI Galway BA in Psychology programme, thus qualifying graduates for entry to postgraduate professional programmes in Ireland and in the United Kingdom. This is the idea course for anybody who failed to access a pure psychology degree course but who still wishes to pursue a career in this field.

They say that some of us will change our career up to six times in our lifetime; for some that will be out of personal choice but for the majority it will be a case of necessity. Whilst conversion courses can be the ideal way to follow that preferred career path denied to you at an earlier stage or perhaps you only realised your real career interests later in life; these courses are evidence of ‘it is never too late’ to change from one discipline to the other. In fact your current degree puts you at the starting line for further study in areas related to Education, law, IT business, Medicine, Social Work etc.

All HEIs in Ireland have Programmes funded under the Graduate Skills Conversion Programme 2012-13. You can contact the HEI of interest to find out about conversion courses and funding available to you.

Author:
Catriona Lowry

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Benefits of ITEC Qualification

itec certificationITEC is one of the world’s leading awarding bodies specialising in the fields of Sport and Fitness, Beauty, Complementary Therapy, Hairdressing and Customer Service. Founded in 1947, with its headquarters in London and offices in Asia and South Africa, ITEC also has representation in Ireland and the U.S. It is partnered with 655 colleges across the world and ITEC’s international specialist examination board provides high quality qualifications that are recognised worldwide.

In Ireland, ITEC is regulated by OfQual and all ITEC qualifications are in line with the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the National Qualifications Framework Ireland (NQAI). To make sure that the trainings are of high standard, ITEC has an independent panel of experts who review all policies, procedures and processes every three months. There is also a Senior Management team who meet monthly with beauty and hair experts whose expertise and experience helps to continually refine and improve courses. All of this means that a qualification from ITEC is certain to enhance a student’s CV and improve employability.

There are many ITEC qualifications on offer around the country:

Litton Lane Training have courses based in Dublin, Meath and Cork and run an ITEC level 3 Award in Nutrition for Physical Activity. This course is run on a part-time basis and is held over a course of evenings and weekends.

Portobello Institute offers an ITEC Nutrition Advisor course, an ITEC Beauty Specialist Certificate course, an ITEC Holistic Massage course and an ITEC Manicure and Pedicure Certificate to name but a few. All these courses are run on a part-time, evening basis with locations in Dublin, Carlow, Clare, Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Louth, Meath, Sligo, Waterford, Westmeath, Wicklow and Wexford.

Haven Beauty Training in Westmeath is offering ITEC courses such as a Diploma in Holistic Massage, a Beauty Specialist Diploma, and a Diploma in Nail Technology; all run on an evening, part-time basis.

In Cork City, the College of Oriental Medicine runs an ITEC course in Anatomy and Physiology. It is a four day intensive course from 9am to 5pm.

In Dublin, Motions Health and Fitness Training offers an ITEC Certificate in Sports Massage Therapy over an eight month period on Wednesdays from 7pm to 10pm.

The Institute of Massage and Sports Therapy offers an ITEC Diploma in Diet and Nutrition in Galway, Limerick and Wexford. It takes place on alternate Saturdays between 10am and 4pm and applicants must have a recognised qualification in a complementary therapy if they wish to use the qualification professionally. If the course is for personal use then no prior knowledge or learning is needed.

So whether you want to learn a new specialist skill or update your CV, there is a range of ITEC qualifications available to suit anyone interested in working in the Health and Fitness and related sectors. With employment opportunities sparse these days, it’s all about making your CV stand out. An ITEC qualification can give you that extra feature that will be sure to catch an employer’s attention. As these qualifications are internationally recognised; completing an ITEC training course could also be the perfect passport for working abroad. Opportunities are plentiful when you are well qualified so be sure to check out an ITEC course near you.

Resources
• Fitness Training Courses on Findacourse.ie
• Beauty Training Courses on Findacourse.ie

Author
Fiona McBennett

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Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School Establishes Cork Location

Bronwyn Conroy Beauty School CorkBronwyn Conroy International Beauty School, Ireland’s premier school for beauty and skin-care courses, have now added Cork as a new Centre of Excellence for their CIBTAC & ITEC Courses. Bronwyn Conroy International Beauty School is a leading private Beauty School providing beauty therapy courses in Ireland for over 45 years.

On completion of the courses, students are fully prepared and armed with the knowledge and expertise to become leading beauty therapists and make-up artists in what has become a multi million euro beauty industry. Courses include training with Dermalogia, Environ skin care brand for all students. Bronwyn Conroy International Beauty School have expanded their range of beauty courses to specialize in areas of Advanced Skin Care, Laser and IPL as well as all the latest treatments new to the Beauty Industry.

The new Cork location on Pembroke Street will offer an expanding range of courses, similar to those on offer in Dublin. The first round of courses to be offered are shown below..

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Facial Skincare Certificate Level 2

Gain a qualification with CIBTAC & ITEC as a Skincare Specialist. This is a Level 2 course which will be the foundation of knowledge required to start a career in the Beauty Therapy & Skincare Industry.16 weeks, Saturday 10 – 4 or Monday 10 – 4

Level 4 Certificate in Education and Training

Especially suited to qualified Beauty Therapists, Hairdressers, Barbers, Nail Technicians, Make-up Artists and Qualified Beauticians who wish to start to move to a career as a Tutor or Beauty Teacher. 8 Sunday’s over 7 Months

Microblading Perfect Brows

Microblading is the latest technique within the permanent make-up industry. Bronwyn Conroy Eyebrow Microblading Course teaches this semi-permanent procedure which can last up to 2 years. Hair strokes are strategically placed between the epidermal and dermal layer of the skin for a technique more superficial than Tattooing. 4 days with 5th day for Assessment

ITEC Level 3 Holistic Massage

Gain a qualification in Body Massage in only 16 weeks , one day per week , Saturday or Monday. As the only School in Ireland certified to offer Lava Shell Massage , we include this treatment with all of our Holistic Massage Courses. This course when combined with the Facial Skincare course offers career opportunities in many Hotels and Spa’s throughout Ireland.

For more details about Bronwyn Conroy International Beauty School, view their course listings on Findacourse.ie – https://www.findacourse.ie/bronwyn-conroy-beauty-cg544.html

The Bronwyn Conroy International Beauty School website can be viewed at https://www.bronwynconroy.com/

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Student Assistance Fund

The Student Assistance Fund provides financial assistance for students in higher education who are experiencing financial difficulties whilst attending college.

Students can apply for Student Assistance to help them with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The Student Assistance Fund provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the Student Grant.

Each year, the State allocates a certain amount of Student Assistance funding to all approved higher education colleges based on the size of the college’s full-time student population. Students in need of financial support can then make application in the college for assistance under the Fund. The Student Assistance Fund is not available in further education/PLC colleges.

To find out whether you may be eligible for the Fund you need to be aware of the main conditions of the programme. The information below will assist you in this process. Each section below will guide you through the eligibility requirements of the fund.

The Student Assistance Fund is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014 – 2020’.

The following higher education colleges operate a Student Assistance Fund for eligible students. Most participating colleges have further information on their website on the operation of the Student Assistance Fund at local level.

Dublin City University
Maynooth University
National University of Ireland, Galway
Trinity College Dublin
University College Cork
University College Dublin
University of Limerick
Athlone Institute of Technology
Cork Institute of Technology
Dublin Institute of Technology
Dundalk Institute of Technology
Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology
Galway Mayo Institute of Technology
Institute of Technology Blanchardstown
Institute of Technology Carlow
Institute of Technology Sligo
Institute of Technology Tallaght
Institute of Technology Tralee
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
Limerick Institute of Technology
Waterford Institute of Technology
Church of Ireland College of Education
Marino Institute of Education
Mary Immaculate College
National College of Art and Design
National College of Ireland
St Patrick’s College Maynooth
Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
St Angela’s College

Eligibility

In order to be eligible to apply for student assistance funding a student must be:

Participating in a course in a university, institute of technology or other approved college.
Registered on

  • a full-time course, of not less than one year in duration, leading to a higher education award at level 6-10 of the national framework of qualifications

or

  • a part-time course leading to a higher education award at level 6-10 of the national framework of qualifications

Student must not be pursuing a second qualification at the same or a lower level.

Eligible Expenses
The Student Assistance Fund typically provides financial assistance to students who are having difficulty covering the following kinds of expenses:

Books
Class materials
Rent
Heating/lighting bills
Food
Travel of an urgent or essential nature
Medical expenses, i.e. doctor or dental visits
Expenses associated with family breakdown
Expenses associated with bereavement
Expenses associated with accidents
Childcare
Compulsory study abroad
(This is not a definitive list)

Students requiring financial assistance to help with tuition fees or registration fees cannot be considered under the Student Assistance Fund.

Application
Currently, each participating institution decides how the Student Assistance Fund will be operated at local level, within the overall guidelines set by the Department of Education and Skills. The application process may vary therefore between participating institutions.

All colleges have an application form which must be completed by students wishing to apply for Student Assistance.

Applicants may be required to attend a meeting with a member of the college staff to discuss the application. Applicants may also be required to provide documentation to verify details of the income and outgoings provided in the application.

In general, due to demand for Student Assistance, participating colleges are not able to approve all applications they receive. Likewise, participating colleges may not be able to award all the funding being sought by successful applicants. The Department of Education and Skills requires colleges to target the Student Assistance Fund at those students most in need of financial support. This may mean, for example, that priority is given to applicants who are in receipt of a maintenance grant, this being an indicator of limited means. In 2017, additional funding has been allocated to SAF for the support of part-time students who are lone parents or members of the other access target groups.

Further Information

Student services or Access staff in participating institutions can provide further information on the fund. Lastly, the list of participating colleges provided earlier in this section has web links to further information on institutions’ websites.

http://hea.ie/funding-governance-performance/funding/student-finance/student-assistance-fund/

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Lifelong Learning Conference, December 2017

Lifelong Learning Conference, LimerickHELLIN (Higher Education Lifelong Learning Ireland Network) is a consortium of Irish Universities and Institutes of Technology who work together collaboratively to promote and advance Lifelong Learning and Continuing and Professional Education for adults within Universities, Institutes of Technology and other relevant bodies throughout the island of Ireland.

The organisation are currently promoting an upcoming conference programme, which will include presentations on a series of key themes in lifelong learning including:

  • Technology Enhanced Lifelong Learning
  • Meeting the Challenges of Lifelong Learning: Policy, Institutional and Personal
  • Relevance of Lifelong Learning to Personal and Professional Development
  • Recognition of Prior Learning
  • Employer Engagement in Lifelong Learning

The conference is suitable for practitioners, educators and researchers in the field of adult learning, and will also be of interest to students who are currently adult learners themselves.

Prices
Register for the early bird rate of €65.
Late Registrations will be €90.
Student rate of €15 is also available.

Register today at: http://hellin.ie/upcoming-conferences/

4th Annual HELLIN Conference
Theme: Enabling Lifelong Learning
December 8th 2017- University of Limerick

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Community Education

Community Education IrelandCommunity Education refers to adult education and learning, generally outside the formal education sector, which aims to enhance learning, empower people and contribute to society. It is a distinctive element of the adult education sector in Ireland  and has the capacity to reach marginalised people in disadvantaged communities.

The community education sector grew out of the established Vocational Education Committee (VEC) adult education classes and adult literacy movement of the 1970s and 1980s. VECs have now been superceded by ETBs (Education and Training Boards).

What is community education?
Community education promotes personalised learning and flexibility within the learning group. Participants are involved as equal partners in identifying needs, designing and implementing programmes, and adapting them on an ongoing basis.

The goals of the community education sector include not just individual development but also community advancement, especially in marginalised communities. It allows participants to challenge existing structures and enables and encourages them to influence the society in which they live.

A key feature of community education programmes is that they provide the supports necessary for successful access and learning, particularly guidance, mentoring, continuous feedback and childcare.

Community Education Initiatives
Groups such as Travellers and other ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, rural smallholders, men’s groups, community arts groups and older people have made positive use of the community education on offer in their area. Women’s groups, in particular, spearheaded the development of the community education sector in the 1980s. One example was the NOW (New Opportunities for Women) programme which was funded by the EU Employment Initiative.

Community Education Facilitators
Community Education Facilitators work within the ETBs to give support to local community groups. This includes giving technical/administrative help, supporting the development, maintenance, and co-ordination of community education groups and strengthening links between the formal and non-formal education sectors. They assist and support the development of new community-based educational initiatives. The Community Education Facilitators Association is their professional organisation.

Back to Education Initiative
The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) is one of the key pillars of the White Paper on Adult Education. It provides opportunities for second-chance education to adult learners and early school-leavers who want to upgrade their skills. The initiative allows learners to combine education with family, caring or work responsibilities. It builds on existing schemes such as Youthreach, VTOS, adult literacy schemes, community education and PLC courses. Ten per cent of the places allocated under these schemes are reserved for the community education sector, with the remainder of places being allocated to the statutory sector providers. Those taking part in schemes under the Back to Education Initiative may be eligible for the Back to Education Allowance.

Role of ETBs (formerly VECs) in community education
• The Community Education Services operate within the ETBs and give support services to community groups who are interested in community education as follows:
• Community Education Facilitators provide assistance and support to new or existing community education groups. They provide information on sources of funding and helps community education interests to access funding.
• Course development: Assistance is also available for community education groups to develop their own educational programmes and courses. This back up may include technical, administrative or educational input.
• Networking: Networking with other groups and organisations with an interest in community education, and sharing good practice from other sectors.

Accreditation and qualifications
Community education courses generally use a combination of different types of assessment methods such as assignments, projects, learners’ records, observations, skills demonstration and examinations. Accreditation has always posed challenges to non-formal education providers as it is not always a goal or a necessary outcome for all learners. However, the validity of learning in both the formal and non-formal environment has been recognised and worked into the National Framework of Qualifications. This Framework was developed by the National Qualifications Authority and creates a single system against which all learning can be mapped. It allows for learners to move from non-formal into formal education, from basic to further education, and from further into higher education in a relatively straightforward way.

How to apply

For more details about community education courses in your area, you should contact your local ETB (www.etb.ie) or AONTAS (www.aontas.com)
The BTEI application form and guidelines as well as a list of frequently asked questions are available on the website of the Department of Education and Skills (www.education.ie).

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Fashion Styling Courses

fashion styling coursesIt 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.

A fashion stylist is, first and foremost, interested in fashion. Knowing individual designers’ collections, reading fashion magazines, attending fashion shows, understanding how clothes are made and the affect and consequences of different fabrics and colours are all components of a fashion stylist’s job.

On top of knowing about fashion, stylists apply their knowledge. When putting together a look, fashion stylists consider a number of factors, including colour and knowing what clothes will flatter particular personalities and body type, and all the time hiding flaws and enhancing strengths. Everyone wants to stand out in the crowd and so originality and creativity is incredibly important in this competitive job.

With the glamour and image industries booming, there are many opportunities for stylists in a wide range of areas. Some stylists concentrate on image consultation or personal shopping, others work predominantly in film and television styling actors, or photography styling models for photo shoots for catalogues, magazines, newspapers, or websites. They may also work with designers or public relations experts to celebrity and red carpet event styling.

Like many creative jobs, it can take some time to earn a good living from the work. Many start out with unpaid internships assisting an already established fashion stylist to gain experience and meet people in the industry. Fashion styling is very competitive and certification will most definitely help open doors. A fashion styling course is an excellent introduction to the industry and offers a strong foundation and understanding of the industry, providing support and career focused assistance.

Many courses on offer are practical and examine the ways in which colour, make-up, skincare, and clothing styles combine to make or break a person’s look. In addition, how to style for different body shapes and taking in to consideration personality and lifestyle are all basic features of any course. Other courses offer a wider perspective focusing on current and historical trends, specific designers, and the global fashion industry calendar. Some courses also include a focus on styling as a career and discuss business strategies on how to build your career and business.

The Colour and Image Academy in Cork and Limerick offers training in image consultancy including fashion styling for men and women, colour consultancy, and make-up application. Courses can be taken as one-offs or with the intention of building a career in image consulting.

CMI College in Dublin offer courses in Fashion Buying and Merchandising, one of these is accredited by QQI at level 5.

Portobello Institute offer a range of courses in the area of fashion styling, including their Fashion Buying and Merchandising full time course and an advanced certificate in fashion design.

Bronwyn Conroy offers a 5 day fashion consultancy course which runs in many locations around the country.

Courses in Fashion styling offer an introduction to a creative and artistic career, so if you think this might be for you why not check out the Style and Fashion courses on offer on Findacourse.ie – www.findacourse.ie/style-fashion-courses-c41.html

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