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


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


  • 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:

Class materials
Heating/lighting bills
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
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.

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.

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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.

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

Register today at:

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 ( or AONTAS (
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 (

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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 –

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Mid Term Taster Days with IADT

The Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology have announced a range of workshops from 31st October – 2nd November at the IADT Campus in Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire. These workshops are primarily aimed at CAO 2018 applicants (including mature students and PLC students), however 4th and 5th year students are also welcome to attend. These workshops allow prospective students to experience a taste of the courses on offer at IADT.

Students take part and learn about the subjects in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Students can book a place on a range of workshops including Art, Applied Psychology, Creative Computing and Creative Media Technologies, more details about the workshops are included below..

taster days IADT

For further information and bookings please visit

View IADT Courses page on

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A Career in Childcare

childacre courses in IrelandThe demand for high quality childcare continues to increase in Ireland and as a graduate in this sector – you are entering a flexible career with a wide range of placements to choose from.

A level 5 QQI award in Childcare could gain you employment in creches, nurseries, playgroups, early start programmes or as a classroom assistant in a special school. Of course your award can also be used as an educational passport to progress further in your career and travel up the national framework of qualifications or it can be converted into points which will allow you to apply for any number of courses in non-childcare disciplines in third level institutions. (see for further information).

If you choose to specialise in an area like Montessori Education – you are broadening the age groups you can work with.  As a graduate in Montessori you can work with children aged 3-6 and 6-9 inclusively. The Montessori Education Higher Certificate in Arts course provides students with the relevant knowledge and skills to empower them to make a significant contribution within the highly acclaimed Montessori sector. The Montessori College AMI (Association Montessori Internationale) offers a full time three year course. At the end of year 3 you can work with children up to 12 years of age. This course is recognised by the Department of Education and Science for teaching in special primary schools for children with disabilities, as is the BA in Montessori Education in St Nicholas’s Montessori College in Dun Laoghaire.

Portobello Institute also offers a number of different courses including certificate and diploma options with regard to Montessori training. It is important to note that this specialised area of childhood education continues to grow in Ireland. With experience, many teachers set up their own schools, and there are good opportunities for trained Montessori teachers in the rest of Europe and the USA.
childcare courses in Ireland
Throughout their career, childcare and Early Years workers can undertake work-based vocational and professional qualifications and go on to do part-time or full-time degrees. With appropriate training and qualifications staff can become supervisors, managers, open their own business or become Early Years Specialists. Therefore the idea of progressing further in the field you are passionate about is always an attractive option professionally and financially.

NUI Galway’s Early Childhood Studies and Practice degree course offers the student an extensive range of topics to study – ensuring the graduate will be skilled in a wide range of issues and areas that could see them employed in community and outreach settings to family and community resource centres or even in the policy development area. Graduates of this course may even progress further to higher diplomas or master degrees in Early Childhood Care and Education, Community Development and Family Studies and Support.

An example of a progression route would be if a graduate of a 1 year course in Early Childhood and Education course went on to apply for and complete a BA Degree in Applied Social Studies and Social Care. Immediately career opportunities as a graduate expand and arise in the voluntary, statutory and private sectors – in areas such as health care, residential childcare, special education and judicial services.

A variety of opportunities also exist to work with disabled persons, children, adolescents and older people in residential care, in day care and in the community. The BA in Applied Social Studies in Social Care is the nationally recognised qualification for working as a Social Care professional. Other related courses available in higher education to progress to include: Social Science, Psychology, Social and Community Development and other related disciplines.

As a childcare graduate you should be able to find a job that suits your own circumstances, stage of life and work experience. You can work full-time or part-time to suit your family or other commitments. Whatever area of the workforce you choose, you will be doing a job that makes a difference to the quality of life for children, young people and their families.

To see a wide range of childcare courses on offer around Ireland, use the following link –

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National Learning Network

free courses for unemployedHave you been out of work for over 6 months, and need skills training to get back into employment?
National Learning Network provides a variety of certified training courses in over 50 locations in Ireland, for people who are unemployed and need skills training to get back to work. Jobseekers benefits and allowances are not affected by participating in any of these courses.

What are the benefits of NLN training courses?:

  • Closely aligned to the Irish labour market, they give practical skills and experience to trainees
  • They offer nationally recognised  FETAC, ECDL and City & Guilds qualifications
    They are FREE, with Jobseekers able to keep their allowances and benefits for the duration of the course
  • They offer one-to-one training support, career guidance and advice and personal development modules to help build learners confidence and provide them with the practical skills they need to apply for jobs and succeed at interviews.

NLN Training Courses are designed for jobseekers:

  • Full-time duration lasting 12-24 months, allowing you to finish at your own pace
  • Work placement – choose the industry you want to work in.  The Employer Based Training courses combine practical on-the-job training with in-centre learning to improve your chances of getting a job when you finish the course
  • NLN offer a range of training options, In-centre training, blended learning:  learning in a training centre combined with training in a learner’s local community, online training from the home or skills training in a work environment
  • Courses include modules on CV development and writing cover letters, applying for jobs, securing and successfully completing interviews.   Instructors will guide you on how to find jobs that suit your skill set and help you apply for jobs.

Do you need extra support with learning? NLN offers:
Learning supports: a dedicated key worker to support you, literacy and numeracy skills training, basic I.T.  skills training, are available to all students who require extra supports
Job seeking skills training: CV development, interview skills training, job search methods, support to find suitable further education and training options
Removal of barriers to learning:  offering advice and help on how to access allowances and support agencies in your local area such as community welfare groups, you local Intreo office, medical supports, transport links etc.  Courses are flexible, allowing you to make necessary appointments.

Certified Courses available: Art, Craft and Media, Business Studies, Computers and IT, Catering and Culinary Skills, Tourism & Hospitality, Sport & Leisure , Horticulture and Environment, Career Exploration and Employment.
National Learning Network provides training and specialist support to people who, for a variety of reasons, may find it difficult to gain employment. Whatever your circumstances – whether you are long term unemployed, have an illness or a disability – National Learning Network can help you.
As Ireland’s largest non-governmental education and training organisation, NLN offer over 70 different training courses from art and cookery to computer and business skills in centres across the country.
You can access training programmes in a variety of ways: in your local centre, with a local employer; or even from the comfort of your own home. All National Learning Network courses are funded through SOLAS or the Health Service Executive and therefore most students receive an allowance for participation.  90% of students who completed a course with us last year went on to further education or training.

NLN Courses
National Learning Network has a wide range of training and further education courses that can open the door to exciting new careers and employment opportunities for you. From business and computer skills, through to graphic design, art and leisure studies, National Learning Network has the course where you can achieve your potential. The courses offer a variety of awards including FETAC (Level 1-6), ECDL, MOS and City & Guilds. National Learning Network facilitates students to recognise previous learning in order to gain a credit towards a full award.

The vocational courses are funded by SOLAS and include the following: Arts, Craft and Media, Catering, Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure, Business Studies and Administration, Computer and IT, Horticulture and Environment, and Career Exploration and Employment.
NLN also offer a large number of rehabilitative training programmes which are designed to assist students in improving the quality of their lives through greater inclusion and involvement with the local community and through learning new skills. The rehabilitative programmes are funded by the HSE.

More Information:
National Learning Network
Roslyn Park College, Sandymount, Dublin 4
Tel: 01-2613400

View NLN courses on

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Progress Continues on Apprenticeship Development

apprenticeships in IrelandThe 2017 Call for Apprenticeship Proposals was launched on 04th May 2017 and closed at 17:00 on Friday 01 September.

Generation Apprenticeship is a major expansion project to more than double the number of learners taking the apprenticeship route.

Proposals will be assessed during October 2017. Assessment will be completed by a subgroup of the Apprenticeship Council, overseen by an independent process auditor.

Following assessment and short-listing of the initial proposals it is planned that the assessment subgroup will engage with the short-listed proposers to gather further details including the developmental and operational funding sought for the apprenticeship.

Where similar proposals are received in the same or similar industry areas, the assessment subgroup may convene the groups involved, including industry representatives, to discuss the proposals and to explore whether the apprenticeship proposals should be configured differently.

The engagement process with the short-listed proposers will be completed before formal approval of proposals for apprenticeship development.

It is intended that the outcome of the process will be communicated to all parties by early November 2017.

Information on current apprenticeships is available on

In the case of apprenticeships currently in development, 8 of these have occupational profiles which have been formally approved. These occupational profiles are listed below for reference purposes:

  • Baker
  • Butcher
  • HGV Driver
  • ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer
  • ICT Associate Professional Software Developer
  • IFS Advanced Specialist
  • OEM Engineer
  • Telecommunications Field Engineer

For more details on these and other apprenticeship programmes view

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IAESTE Traineeships

iaeste paid work experienceIAESTE (International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experiences) is a worldwide network that organises paid, course-related traineeships for students and recent graduates of technical subjects such as Engineering, Science, and IT. A huge variety of employers, ranging from multinational companies to university research departments to start-up enterprises, offer traineeships through the programme. IAESTE was established in 1947, operates in 87 countries worldwide and has approximately 4,000 international participants each year.

IAESTE is open to students currently enrolled, preferably in the third year or above, in technical courses such as Engineering, Science or IT in third-level institutions in the Republic of Ireland. Graduates can apply within the first year of their graduation. Applications are accepted online between September and December each year. Traineeships can last from two to 12 months and be hosted in any IAESTE country other than Ireland.

All IAESTE countries have a national office to coordinate the programme and liaise with employers and trainees. The majority of countries also have a wide support network of local volunteers who help trainees settle into and explore their host countries. In Ireland, IAESTE works with diverse employers including Trinity College Dublin, SAP, Ericsson, and Threefold.

There is an application fee and a further placement fee on acceptance of a traineeship, to contribute to the running costs of the programme. IAESTE trainees pay their own travel costs, including any required visa or work permit processing fees. All trainees must have valid international health insurance before travelling.

More information about this years IAESTE application process can be viewed online at

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Pre Nursing Courses

pre nursing courses in IrelandPre-nursing programmes are designed to give a solid foundation in the theory and practice of Health Care and Nursing Care for those who intend entering the nursing, paramedical or community care service.

Pre-nursing courses have a number of different aims. Firstly, they provide foundation skills and entry requirements to access degree courses in Nursing. They develop and foster a range of personal and interpersonal qualities necessary for work in a range of care environments. They teach and emphasise the importance of creating and maintaining appropriate relationships with the client, their family, and other professionals involved in their care. On completion, graduates will have acquired specialist knowledge, skills and competence in the role of the care assistant.

Principal Areas of Study:

Nursing Studies Course Modules
Introduction to Nursing
Anatomy and Physiology
Human Growth and Development
Care Skills
Work Experience
Health and Safety at Work
Social Studies

Irish based pre-nursing programmes are designed to prepare students for academic programmes in the nursing sector and/or employment in the health sector as a care assistant.

Holders of a QQI Level 5 pre-nursing award may be in a position to apply to UL, NUI, UCC, NUI Galway, and the Institutes of Technology for entry to the first year of Nursing Studies Degree Programmes (through the Higher Education Links Scheme). A distinction in 5 modules in the  Level 5 course, is required, which must include a Distinction in: D20001 (Anatomy and Physiology), D20012 (Introduction to Nursing), and D20032 (Human Growth and Development) or C20006 (Biology).  A reserved number of places are allocated to applicants presenting with QQI qualifications. Places are allocated on a competitive basis. The best eight modules, at a single sitting, are considered for scoring purposes. Of course, there is also the option of applying for other related Health Studies degrees in Universities and Institutes of Technology in Ireland and various colleges in Britain, like Social Care and Health Promotion.

Most course providers require a Leaving Certificate standard or equivalent and an English language proficiency test where deemed appropriate.  The College Registrar for the Nursing Studies course will discuss and advise you on the course details and career options. Mature students with relevant prior experience may be exempt from the above requirements.

Most Nursing Studies programs are delivered over one academic year and work experience is usually a mandatory part – where students are given a chance to blend classroom theory with hands-on practical experience.

A number of PLC course providers and private colleges offer pre-nursing courses, the courses are usually named Nursing Studies courses and are at level 5 on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), some of these are listed below:

Dunboyne College, Meath

Moate Business College

St Louis Community School, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo

Dorset College Dublin

Portobello Institute, Dublin

In an age where some people are reluctant to commit to a four year program, (especially if they are unsure of their suitability or the future employment prospects) a pre-nursing course is an ideal way to sample a course and a work environment to ascertain your compatibility. At the end of the academic year, even if you do not wish to pursue a nursing career, you have a certificate, that entails many valuable transferable skills, that you can take into other career areas related to health care and community work.

View the following link for some Pre-Nursing course listings on –

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Time To Move 2017

time to move 2017Eurodesk Ireland are inviting youth workers, guidance counsellors, career professionals and students to a collection of events for young people throughout October 2017. These activities will introduce participants to the hundreds of possibilities through which they can go abroad and take part in an international project, explore Europe or gain experience.

All the activities are run by Eurodesk information experts, who are available to have a discussion and helping find the international project most suited to individual needs. Interested in volunteering in another country for a few months? School exchange for a semester? Internships abroad? If so visit for more information.

The events will enable participants to:

  • Discuss benefits and challenges of youth mobility in the current context in Ireland and in Europe
  • Meet and network with organisations interested in supporting young people in their mobility projects
  • Find out about opportunities for young people to work, train, study and volunteer in Europe

Today, a network of more than 1000 youth professionals work with Eurodesk in 34 countries to raise awareness among young people on learning mobility opportunities and to encourage them to become active citizens. As a support organisation to Erasmus+, Eurodesk makes information on learning mobility comprehensive and accessible to youth professionals.

Opportunities under the Time to Move programme fall under the following categories;

Studying – Information on programmes such as Erasmus+ and other initiatives can be found at

Volunteering – Information on volunteering opportunities and organisations who facilitate this can be found at

Internships – Information about the latest recurring European and international internships, traineeships and job opportunities can be found at

Travelling – Information on accommodation options, rail and alternative travel methods, health insurance and other info visit



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Zeminar 2017

zeminarZeminar is a social enterprise created to bring all those invested in the development and well-being of young people in Ireland to one place. It is an event for ‘Generation Z’, particularly those aged between 15 and 20, and their parents, teachers, mentors and coaches. RDS – Dublin, October 10th, 11th, 12th 2017.

Zeminar aims at facilitating the introduction of young people to some of the best and most innovative organisations in the country. Throughout the event there will be workshops, influential speakers, essential resources and fun activities. Attendees will leave the event with new knowledge to help them live happier, safer, and more fulfilling lives.

The first Seminar event in 2016 saw almost 15,000 people visit the RDS over 3 days for 41 workshops, 75 Z-Series talks and over 100 exhibitors. Zeminar 2017 will take place in the RDS Oct 10th-12th.

Zeminer will showcase over 125 participants including; Foroige, PwC, Jigsaw, Bank of Ireland, Seo Linn, Youth Reach, WIT, BIMM, Irish Red Cross, High Hopes Choir, DIT, Badminton Ireland, RNLI, NUI Maynooth and many more..

While the career aspect will be covered, it will represent just 1 of 8 designated zones, setting Zeminar apart from the traditional careers fair. According to research conducted by, anxiety, stress, sleep issues, cyberbullying and isolation are some of the difficulties hindering academic and personal growth today. These factors in conjunction with fast-moving technology, academic pressures, unhealthy diets and ever-changing career options present an increasingly complex and challenging environment for young people to navigate.

Zeminar will give attendees the chance to explore the above, discuss career opportunities, hear from inspirational speakers such as The O’Donovan Brother, The Rubberbandits, Sr Stan to name but a few, and discover invaluable tools to assist them on their educational journey.

The 8 designated zones at the event are listed below;

  • Main Stage – Amazing speakers sharing their stories.
  • Youth Org United – Local and National Youth Organisations.
  • Well-Being Gym – Learn how to look after one’s Mind, Body & Soul. This zone will feature interactive content aimed at encouraging attendees to explore and develop their personal toolkit in terms of mental, physical & spiritual welfare.
  • Club Corner – Discover new sports and hobbies.
  • CEO –BOSS IT! Careers, Exams & Opportunities – Not like any other careers fair the ethos of this event is dynamic and interactive. Organisations that exhibit here will not be simply handing out free paraphernalia but displaying what it’s like to actually work or study in their environment.
  • Activation Zone – Spectacular exhibitors captivating your imagination. An open book for exhibitors with one strict caveat: It cannot be passive! It must be an engaging concept that will leave attendees with something thoughtprovoking, inspirational, relevant and practical.
  • Teachers’ Lounge –Teachers, we will look after you! A Zeminar all on its own containing tailored content provided in a relaxed and collaborative environment. Main stage contributors will also present in this area, modifying their content for the other side of the desk.
  • The Social Scene – Eat, meet & have lots of fun.

For more information visit

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Autumn Options for Part Time Learners

evening courses in AutumnSeptember and October are jam-packed with exciting opportunities to sign up to new learning experiences with many evening courses and part time classes on offer throughout the country. Attending a part-time evening course is a great way to enhance a CV, to socialise and make friends, as well as learn something completely new. The abundance of courses available means that there is something to suit everyone.

The following are just a sample of what’s on offer around the country:

CMI (Communications and Management Institute) in Dublin, offers evening courses in everything from Fashion Buying and Merchandising to a Diploma in Criminal Forensic Psychology. There are also courses in Management and Team Leadership, as well as a Diploma in Addiction Studies.

Dunboyne College of Further Education in Meath offer a large selection of adult education evening classes. These include hobby courses, Fitness & Health, IT & Computers, professional courses as well as a range of talks & seminars. More details can be viewed on their online brochure at

IADT (Dun Laighaire Institute of Art Design and Technology) specialises in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship and has a range of part-time evening courses on offer. These courses will be of benefit to any students hoping to prepare a portfolio of art or to try out some creative skills courses before pursuing further study in these areas. More information is available on their website at

NUI Galway The Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development continues to offer its Short Courses Series commencing October 2017. Courses consist of 8 weeks of lectures in a number of general interest areas including Literature, Writing, Film Studies, Philosophy, History, Languages, Astronomy and many others. The NUIG short courses brochure can be viewed online at

PCI College is based in Dublin city but offers training in the field of counselling and psychotherapy in other locations including; Cork City, County Dublin, Kilkenny, Limerick City and Athlone. Courses provided include a Bsc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy and an MA in Integrative Counselling.

Malahide Community School in Dublin, offers part-time evening courses in subjects including French and computers as well as yoga and ballroom dancing. The classes run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7.30pm- 9.30pm.

The Sandford Language Institute in South County Dublin offers language courses for all levels. Dutch, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and Italian are just some of the languages available to study in the institute.

– Dorset College in Dublin, offers a selection of courses including an ACCA Diploma in Accounting and Business, a CIPD Certificate in Human Resource Management and level 6 course in Leadership (Supervisory Management and Leadership).

Pitman Training offer a large variety of job specific courses to enhance or kick-start career opportunities. With a range of courses on offer at your local centre such as; Management, Medical and Secretarial Diplomas, IT courses and Diplomas, Sage and Accounting Diplomas, plus Audio Typing and Shorthand courses. Pitman Training have locations all over the country in: Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, Limerick, Maynooth, Mullingar, Naas, Sligo, Swords, Tralee, Waterford and Wexford.

For more information on part-time evening course options, view our Part Time and Evening Course Listings on To view articles and other information view our Evening Courses Information Feature on

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Taster Days – What Are The Benefits?

taster days 2017 & 2018It can be very beneficial to gain some experience either working or studying in a field related to a chosen course of study. Especially if that course is going to take three or four years of work and dedication. This has been made easier with the growth in popularity of ‘Taster Days’.

What is a Taster Day?

Taster Days are events held by colleges, whereby the student gains hands-on knowledge and experience of a particular area of study. The students are usually shown the facilities, the type of course material they will be studying and sometimes the work of professionals who have qualified in that area of study. These events can run from one day to several, with longer events usually giving a more comprehensive flavour of the course and career prospects.

How do I find one?

Not all colleges run taster days, but many do and the best way of finding out is simply to give a call to the college you are interested in studying with and ask them if they have any scheduled. It is best to do this well in advance of the course start date as many colleges run these many months before the course begins.


Some upcoming taster days and events are listed below..

Institute of Art Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Taster Day

Running from 31st October to 3rd November this event showcases a range of courses including the following;

  • Photography
  • English, Media and Cultural Studies
  • Creative Media technologies
  • Applied Psychology
  • Creative Computing
  • Entrepreneurship and Management

If you have any queries in relation to the Taster Days, please email More information on IADT Webpage.

Physics Transition Week – University College Dublin

Running for 5 days from December 4th to December 8th 2017. Highlights the work of researchers, academics and clinical professionals in this field. For more info, contact Bairbre Fox on 01 7162210 or email

Construction Day – Limerick Institute of Technology

LIT is running a one day construction event on 12th December. More info can be obtained from Pat Gill on 061 293000 or

Engineers Week

This is a week long schedule of events taking place from the 24th February to the 2nd of March 2018 in venues throughout the country. For more information on these events, visit

Arts taster Days – NUI Galway

Arts Taster Days will be held at NUI Galway on Wednesday 25 April, Thursday 26th April and Friday 27th April 2018.

There are also a wide range of open days taking place, to view some upcoming open days, visit

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Higher Education Links Scheme

hels schemeProgression Routes into Higher Education
The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) gives learners the opportunity to use their QQI Level 5 or 6 major award to apply, through the CAO, for a place in the first year of a higher education programme.

Programmes leading to Level 5 and Level 6 Major Awards are available through providers who have programmes validated with QQI. Application to participate in the programme is made directly to the provider.

Rules for Eligibility to the Scheme
Level 5 and Level 6 Major Awards are made up of a number of Minor Awards known as components. Different combinations of components lead to different Major Awards.

Each component has a credit value, typically between 15 and 30. A Major Award needs 120 credits, made up by combining components. For example: 8 components of 15 credits each = 120 credits.

  • Progression requires a full Level 5 or Level 6 Major Award, with at least 120 credits. In some instances, progression is on the
    basis of specific Level 5 or 6 Major Awards.
  • Components (Minor Awards), or achievement of less than 120 credits, will not suffice for progression under the HELS
  • The applicant is responsible for ensuring that their college/provider applies to QQI for Major Award status on their behalf,
    prior to application to the CAO

Applicants MUST check both the individual Higher Education institution and the CAO websites to ensure they meet any special or essential requirements specified such as:

  • A specific Major Award.
  • A specific grade in specific components.
  • Additional Award requirements such as mathematics.
  • That all credits used for scoring purposes are achieved in one ‘single sitting’

What does ‘single sitting’ mean?
Whilst Major Award may be achieved over more than one year, it is important to note that some higher education institutions require that your 120 credits are achieved within a ‘single sitting’ between 1 August and 31 July of any certification year. Check the CAO and individual college websites for specific requirements.

The Scoring System for FET awards
Once all of the above requirements have been met, a learner can apply for a place on the linked higher education programme. The best score for each applicant is caluclated and the results are forwarded to the CAO in July of each year.

You can calculate your score using the free online points calculator at, which is based on the following scoring system:

Each level 5 and level 6 component is scored:

  • 3.25 for a Distinction
  • 2.16 for a Merit
  • 1.08 for a Pass
    This number is then multiplied by the individual component credit value to a maximum of 120 credits (a total of 390 points).

It may be easiest to multiply the individual component credit value by 3 for Distinction, 2 for Merit, and 1 for Pass, multiplying by 13 and dividing by 12.


Note: It is the responsibility of applicants to confirm linked awards, any additional requirements, application processes and scoring systems with the Admission Offices of participating higher education institutions or by visiting

Detailed information on these progression routes and entry requirements, and on progression routes for apprentices made redundant after Phase 4 of the Apprenticeship Programme, are available from individual higher education institutions.

Note: All information relating to linked higher education courses has been provided by the participating higher education institutions to the CAO and every effort has been made to ensure that it is accurate and current.

More about the HELS
Since its inception almost twenty years ago, higher education institutions have used the scheme to expand transparent progression routes to higher education programmes. While awards standards have been updated over time, once a higher education institution links an award, admissions processes typically continue to consider that linked award as part of an application to participate in higher education programmes, along with revised awards and other new awards.

Linked awards, special requirements and available higher education programmes are published by the admissions office of the individual higher education institution and on

More Information –

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