Student Housing Problems Continue in 2017

student housing 2017The latest Rental Price Report from shows just how difficult it is for students seeking accommodation for the approaching college term. The report shows a yearly increase of 11.8% in the asking price for rental accommodation (the fifth quarter in a row where rents nationally have increased by at least 10%).

Katie Ascough (President of UCD Students Union), describes in the report the shortages being experienced in the rental market; “There are now fewer than 3,000 properties to rent nationwide.This is the lowest figure on record for the country. In Dublin there were just 1,121 properties available to rent on August 1st. That’s over 20% less than were available on the same date in 2016.” Katie also highlights the knock-on effects of this chronic undersupply in the housing market; “In Dublin, where the lion’s share of new third level students will be looking, rents are now 18% higher than their previous peak. The average property in the capital now costs €1,741 a month to rent. That’s one and a half times the current average rent nationwide, €1,159.”

Kevin Keane (President of TCD Students Union) also shares his views in the Rental Report; “The situation is so bad that if it’s to be even partially resolved before September, it requires major collective action from a range of stakeholders. As an example of what that kind of initiative could look like, Students’ Unions from Trinity College Dublin & University College Dublin have started working together with to put more affordable, student specific beds on the market.”

Kevin also comments on the relatively low uptake of ‘digs’ due to negative stereotyping from both sides and the added expense of purpose built student accommodation; “Even the recent increase in purpose built student accommodation by private developers won’t alleviate pressure for the majority – as, on average in Dublin, students are spending €1,500 more in this type of housing than the average spend for what’s available in the general market. In this context, college authorities, students unions and Government need to promote college digs as a priority over the next few weeks to make sure Irish homeowners are informed of how they can contribute to solving this crisis and the cash flow gains to be made. Otherwise many young people coming from outside urban areas, who don’t live near a university and can’t shoulder the costs of a long, pricey commute, will have to defer their college courses this September.”

Some facts and figures from the report are shown below..

rent report

rental trends 2017

Full report available at

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CAO Offers And Acceptance Process – Video Guide

cao offers and acceptance processThe Central Applications Office (CAO) have a helpful online video tutorial aimed at students who will receive CAO offers this August. The 4 minute video can be seen below and also on the student resources section of the CAO website.

The video gives step by step guidance on the offer and acceptance process. It also answers some common questions that arise during this time. Eileen Keleghan (CAO Communications Officer) has encouraged students to share this video with fellow applicants to help them get the most from the offers they may receive from the CAO. The guide explains what to do on receipt of an offer and also some advice if no CAO offer is received.

Successful applicants to the CAO can receive notification through a variety of media depending on what they have chosen on their application form these methods include SMS text, email and also by post (arriving a little later than the electronic methods). Round one offers should arrive on 22nd August with round 2 offers arriving 10 days later.

Applicants are encouraged to check the available place listings on the CAO website. Students may apply for these college placements provided that they meet the minimum requirements (other restrictions also apply).

For more information on CAO application and student resources, visit

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Exam Helpline for Leaving Cert Students

As over 60,000 Leaving Certificate students prepare to get their Leaving Certificate results this week, a Free Examination Helpline is available for those who may need guidance or information about what comes next.

Hosted by the National Parents’ Council Post Primary (NPCpp), it will open on Wednesday, 16th August to offer support to Leaving Certificate students receiving their exam results.

The 1800 265 165 Freephone Helpline opens from 10 a.m. on results day, to take calls from students, parents and teachers seeking advice and information on what choices are available to students, and will continue until Wednesday, 23rd August (see Freephone operating hours below).

The Helpline is sponsored by the Irish Independent and Eir and is supported by the Department of Education and Skills. It is staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors who are fully qualified experts in their field. A representative of the grant-awarding body, SUSI, will also be on hand to answer queries.

Every year the NPCpp Helpline deals with thousands of calls and helps students to make informed decisions. Those seeking advice, information or reassurance can contact the Helpline on 1800 265 165 and speak to experienced, professionally-trained guidance counsellors. All queries on third level courses, such as the points system, rechecks, repeats, CAO procedures, apprenticeships and further training options will be dealt with in a professional and confidential manner.

To complement the Freephone Exam 2017 Helpline, will be running an interactive CAO blog on Wednesday August 16th from 10am and on Monday August 21st from 8am, Members of the IGC will also be staffing this, answering all queries and concerns around the results and further and higher education and career options.

The opening hours of FREEPHONE HELPLINE 2017 are:
Wednesday, 16th August: 10 a.m – 7 p.m
Thursday, 17th August: 10 a.m – 7 p.m
Friday, 18th August: 10 a.m – 1 p.m
Monday, 21st August: 8 a.m – 7 p.m
Tuesday, 22nd August: 8 a.m – 7 p.m
Wednesday, 23rd August: 8 a.m – 1 p.m

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Alternatives to the CAO

alternatives to the CAOThe CAO is the dominant method of gaining entry to college in Ireland and it is based on a points system (Click here to view online points calculator). Each CAO course is assigned a number of points as the entry requirement. This model has received some criticism as it is based on a supply and demand system. When demand is high for limited places the minimum level of points required can rise. Unfortunately for some this can mean failure to secure a desired course placement even though aptitude for the course might be high. So what are the alternative options when the desired course is not available?

Many people opt to repeat the Leaving Certificate. This can be time consuming and there is no guarantee you will be able to increase your points next time around (although most people will increase them somewhat). It is an option probably best suited to those who really did not give it a good enough shot first time round and feel that they can do much better if they give it their full attention and dedication. If you really can’t face another year in secondary school then fear not, education is increasing in importance in modern Ireland and luckily this means there are wider choices for those wishing to pursue further education outside of the CAO system.

Post Leaving Certificate courses are a popular option for those alternating from the CAO system. They provide an internationally recognised qualification and are one to two years in duration. A pass Leaving Certificate is required but entry is not based on the points system. Instead applications are made directly to the course provider and an interview process will determine candidate suitability. PLC courses offer a very wide range of subject areas and there are currently over 1000 PLC courses available throughout the country. Some examples are Childcare, Business Studies, Fashion and Hairdressing. PLC courses are orientated toward practical employment skills and include practical work, academic work and work experience. Many of these courses offer the option of progression to University or Institutes of Technology. PLC courses in Nursing Studies can help you progress to a Nursing Degree and some Engineering PLC courses are linked to University programmes providing access for those who have insufficient points. View PLC courses on at

Solas is a government body which promotes education and training for all. The most popular Solas training programme is the Apprenticeship Scheme. Apprenticeships are particularly popular with men who wish to receive qualifications outside the CAO system. Apprenticeships are not only for men and Solas offers grants to encourage employers in recruiting female apprentices. Apprenticeships offer training for those wishing become Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers and a variety of other types of craftsperson. Admittance is not based on Leaving Certificate performance but you must get a qualified craftsman to agree to train you. Apprenticeship schemes provide alternating periods of ‘on the job’ training and ‘off the job’ learning. Solas also provide training in other areas and it is a good idea to check out the options which are available.
apprenticeships in Ireland

Online courses are also a good way of gaining qualifications outside the CAO system. They do require a good level of personal motivation and it is important to thoroughly check the legitimacy of your qualification before paying any fees.

If you feel you need a more structured system, there are a number of private colleges who operate outside of the CAO system. An example of this type of college is Griffith College Dublin which offers a large number of courses not listed through the CAO. Instead courses must be applied to directly through the college itself. These courses do not operate on the points system but they do require the payment of fees which are usually upward of 5 thousand Euro per year.

If you would like to attend University but cannot presently afford it then a good way of getting around the points system is by applying as a mature student. A mature student is someone who is over 23 years of age so if planning to go this route a younger student might decide to work for a number of years and save money. This can be of particular benefit if work can be gained in the area of study that the student plans on pursuing further down the line. Many universities reserve a certain amount of places each year for mature students and although some colleges require applicants to apply through the CAO, entry is not based on points. Instead, it is based on CV, an interview and in some cases an aptitude test.

Yes, the CAO may be the dominant means of gaining further education in Ireland, but it is not the only way. The points system can cause a large amount of stress to Leaving Certificate students as they try to gain access to desired courses. Thankfully though, there are other options available. These options can have the benefits of offering employment options as well as helping gain entry to a wide variety of CAO courses further down the line. So, for those who don’t achieve the desired Leaving Cert results, why not consider an alternative route to your dream career.

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Apprenticeship Funding for Institutes of Technology

apprenticeship options in IrelandCapital funding of just over €8million has been announced for 10 Institutes of Technology. The funding will enable the institutions to purchase equipment and carry out enabling works for the implementation of new syllabi for four existing apprenticeships in Electrical, Heavy Vehicle Mechanics, Metal Fabrication and Plumbing. Funding is also being provided to purchase equipment and carry out enabling works for a new apprenticeship in Pipefitting in Cork Institute of Technology.

This funding is being provided by the Department of Education and Skills through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

The apprenticeships will take the form of structured education programmes and training which will formally combine and alternate learning in the workplace with learning in a classroom setting. 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. In 2016 there were over 3,800 new apprenticeship registrations. There is a current population of 10,316 apprentices with 3,919 participating employers (December 2016).

The recently published Action Plan to expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland sets out how state agencies, education and training providers and employers will work together to deliver on the Action Plan for Education’s commitments on the expansion of apprenticeship and traineeship in the period to 2020. The plan contains a commitment to enrol 31,000 people on apprenticeship programmes in the period 2016-2020 which represents a near doubling on current activity.

Announcing the funding, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD said:

“This supports our objective to expand apprenticeships and traineeships in the period to 2020 and ensure they are an attractive path for people to take. We plan to more than double the number of annual Apprenticeship and Traineeship registrations to 14,000 by 2020.

“Apprenticeships and traineeships give an exciting career path for many young people. As well as modernising existing apprenticeships we are also focused on supporting the development of new programmes.”


To view more details about apprenticeship opportunities and information view

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Child Psychology Courses

child psychologyThere are many branches of psychology to specialise in; child psychology is one of the most frequently studied specialty areas. Child Psychology focuses on the mind and behaviour of children from prenatal development through to adolescence. This area of psychology deals with the mental, emotional and social development of children. All strands of child psychology are distinct and different from adult psychology. Children are no longer seen as a different and smaller version of adults. Today, psychologists, recognise that child psychology is unique and complex.

When child psychologists look at the development of a child, they take into account, not only internal factors, like genetics and personal characteristics – but contextual factors like their environment, which includes: social relationships, their cultural world, along with their socio-economic context. For example: children raised in households with a high socio-economic status tend to have greater access to opportunities, while those from households with lower socio-economic status may have less access to such things as healthcare, quality nutrition and education. Such factors can have a major impact on child psychology. Contexts are also constantly interacting and a child psychologist will examine these interactions also.

A child psychologist’s ultimate task in not just to gather information that goes towards explaining a child’s existence, but to use that information to improve parenting, education, child care and psychotherapy. Some child psychologists use information gathered in the discipline of Child Psychology in a therapeutic/counselling setting. By having a solid understanding, how children grow, think, and behave; parents and professionals working with children can be better prepared to help the kids in their care. No matter what population a child psychologist chooses (whether toddlers or teens), his or her focus will be on helping understand, prevent, diagnose and treat developmental, cognitive, social and emotional issues.
Child Psychology Courses
If you are considering studying child psychology – expect to study the following topics:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental Influences
  • Prenatal Development
  • Social Growth
  • Personality Development
  • Language
  • Gender Roles
  • Cognitive Development
  • Sexual Development

The work a child psychologist undertakes depends upon where they work. Some professionals counsel young clients in therapeutic situations (as noted earlier), while others work in research to explore different aspects of child psychology including giftedness and development disabilities.

Career options could range from working as an adolescent psychologist, specialising with teenagers who suffer from psychological illness or distress including eating disorders, depression or anxiety to working as an educational psychologist, which involves the study of how people learn, including topics such as student outcomes, the instructional process, individual differences in learning, gifted learners and learning disabilities.

As a child psychologist, you must have a strong curiosity about a child’s behaviour and a desire to use your knowledge to help them. Those who choose to work with children must have the patience and skills to communicate with young clients who have not yet developed the cognitive or verbal capacity to express the problems that are causing them distress. This can make the process of diagnosing and treatment difficult and more prolonged. This work can be very demanding. You will need to be resilient and not become burdened by the problems you encounter.

Whether you want to become a Child Psychologist or simply want to develop an understanding of child psychology – there are many routes you can take.

There is no direct qualification leading to being a ‘Child Psychologist’. You either need to train as a clinical psychologist, then specialise in child psychology, or train in Educational Psychology to work with children in education. The first step to becoming a Psychologist in Ireland is to study for a primary degree at honours level in Psychology at University. There are psychology degree programmes available in most universities including: Dublin City University, Trinity College, NUIG and the University of Limerick, amongst others.

The BA in Psychology is accredited by the Psychological Society of Ireland. For those who wish to become professional psychologists, it is important to remember that the undergraduate degree is only the first stage in professional training that will require an additional two to six years of study and supervised experience.

Queens University in Belfast offer graduates the opportunity to study: Educational Child & Adolescent Psychology.

NUI Galway offer graduates the opportunity to complete their Doctor of Psychological Science (DPsychSc) in Clinical Psychology. This is a taught doctoral programme that provides professional training in clinical psychology. The programme is provided in partnership with clinical psychology services in the Health Services Executive and other health service agencies. The overall objective of the programme is to produce competent and capable clinical psychologists for the Irish health service, through the provision of high quality training in the clinical, academic and research elements of clinical psychology. All trainees have placements in mental health settings working with both child and adult clients.

Child Psychology Courses (NON CAO):

The College of Management and IT (CMIT)
run a FETAC (LEVEL 6) Child Psychology course. This is a course is designed to provide the learner with an understanding of child psychology relevant to childhood education and care settings, and to equip the learner with the knowledge and skills required to understand child psychology from 4 to 18 years. The module leads to a Level 6 component award on the National Framework of Qualifications. This course is ideal for: teachers, childcare workers, youth workers, childcare supervisors and childcare managers.

Portobello Institute also run a Child Psychology course. The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the methods, language and practice of child psychology. It examines the core issues in relation to psychological development including language, thinking and socialisation, with particular focus on the emergence of the child as an individual.

A knowledge of child psychology is useful when working in any setting that involves children. Understanding their development stage and how a child’s contextual world might affect them emotionally and mentally – will go towards providing children with appropriate responses to their needs.

If you wish to pursue a full-time career as a child psychologist – expect both a demanding but rewarding career. Like most careers, but specifically when working with children, it is best to have a genuine interest in a child’s behaviour and well-being, rather than just an interest in the general area of study.

Click Here to View Childcare Courses on

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Learning a Language

If it’s opportunity you’re looking for, if you want to shake up how you see the world, or even just see more of it, then maybe it’s time to learn another language. There is no doubt acquiring a second or third language can be challenging, but there are huge benefits for work, pleasure, and health reasons.

Career opportunities skyrocket when you have another language. During tough economic times job applicants can gain advantage by making their CVs unique and significant. Multi-lingual employees are more bang for their buck for their employers, and many companies reward staff who use the additional languages in their career with higher salaries.

Irish companies need people with second languages to create and maintain business in and with foreign-speaking countries. European languages such as German, French, or Spanish are in huge demand as the economy in continental Europe improves, and as both Africa and South America become more open to foreign business. Meanwhile foreign companies need employees who speak their language as well as English to help expand their businesses into Ireland and other English-speaking countries. Not only are the European languages in demand, but so are Mandarin, Hindi, Russian, Japanese, and Arabic. Irish employees with second languages are in particular demand as Ireland has a strong positive image abroad that people are aware of and can relate to. The demand for multi-lingual Irish employees has never been higher.
french, spanish, german and other languages courses in Dublin and Ireland
Of course second languages aren’t just for work. Travel can be a much richer experience when you know the language of a country you are travelling to. Connections will be more easily made with people living there. By making an effort to speak the local language you are more likely to be treated better because the locals will see that you’ve made an effort to integrate rather than expecting them to do all of the work. When learning a foreign language you will also gain knowledge about the culture and characteristics of different parts of the world. In a sense, language can be considered as the verbal expression of culture.

But it’s not all just work and play, learning another language is good for you and has been shown to improve memory and cognitive skills. Often when learning a second language many people discover they start paying more attention to English grammar and expand their vocabulary.

With formal instruction and a community of fellow learners to practice speaking with, part-time and evening classes are a great way to learn a language. There are excellent language classes all over Ireland. Sandford Languages Institute in Dublin offers over 30 languages to choose from. Classes vary from 10 to 14 weeks and start at approximately €200.

Learning a second language isn’t easy, it takes time and commitment, but in the long run it provides opportunities at work and offers new perspectives on the world. To see a wide range of languages courses why not take a look on our languages courses category of

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National Student Accommodation Strategy

student accommodationThe launch of the National Student Accommodation Strategy has recently been announced by several government ministers*. It come’s at a time when students will be beginning their search for accommodation for the oncoming term & encountering such issues as landlord’s looking for 2 months rent as a deposit and ever increasing rents for rental accommodation in popular destinations as Cork and Dublin.

A recent article from the Irish Independent has shown that while demand for student beds is put at 57,075 this year, only 33,441 spaces are available in dedicated student complexes, whether on campus or developed by private providers. The article also raised the concern from USI president Michael Kerrigan that “whilst the continued increase in dedicated student accommodation facilities were being increased, already we’re seeing newly built student accommodation climbing to almost €1,000 a month,” he said, warning that students were being priced out.

The National Student Accommodation Strategy includes 8 key targets and 27 actions to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation and an increase in take-up of digs accommodation. The Student Accommodation Strategy compliments the various initiatives being taken by the Minister for Housing to increase housing supply.

Key actions included in the plan are:

  • Work with the Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and the Housing Finance Agency on potential financing for Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA)
  • Support DIT to develop an off-balance sheet model to deliver PBSA for 2,000 students in DIT in Grangegorman; explore extending the DIT PBSA delivery model to other IoTs
  • DES and DHPCLG to continue to support the USI #HomesforStudy campaign with a view to increasing the take up of Digs accommodation;  €160,100 funding committed for USI in 2017 and 2018.  This will fund a full-time Student Housing Officer, the #homesforstudy campaign and training for Student Accommodation Officers.
  • DHPCLG to continue development of Housing Land Map and database to identify the availability of land for development;  DES to work with stakeholders to use this data to identify potential for PBSA and facilitate meetings between parties to drive development
  • Encourage HEIs to allocate additional bed spaces for student parents, lone parents and students with disabilities as additional on campus bed spaces are delivered.  This will be monitored through the interdepartmental group chaired by DES
  • Develop nomination agreements between private providers of PBSA and HEIs to increase the availability of good quality PBSA for students attending HEIs
  • Enhance co-operation between HEI Accommodation Offices and Student Unions and/or USI to alleviating difficulties for students in sourcing accommodation
  • HEIs in conjunction with USI and/or local students’ unions to promote awareness of the importance of ‘being a good neighbour’ to students
  • Expand the membership of the Inter-Departmental Steering Group on Student Accommodation
  • USI and interdepartmental committee to develop and carry out periodic National Surveys on Student Accommodation

Each Action Point has been assigned to a key stakeholder or stakeholders and delivery will be monitored.

Click here to view the National Student Accommodation Strategy

*(Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Renewal, Damien English, T.D.)

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A Career in Health and Fitness

career in health and fitnessIn years gone by, the closest many people would get to health and fitness courses might be physical education hours at school. However, times have changed and today there are lots of opportunities for professionals in the many health and fitness fields. With the increase in legislation that governs the industry, it has become necessary to have well educated employees. This coupled with the health & fitness requirements of fitness seekers are the reasons why courses in this area have become much more popular in recent times.

In terms of course types, there are several bachelor degrees and also higher certificates and diplomas. The majority of degree courses last four years, with certificate or diploma courses lasting one or two years. They will all end with a final examination, as well as several practical case studies designed to assess your ability to apply the skills that you have been taught.

Health and Fitness Ireland

Health and fitness courses generally have an introduction to exercise, the influence it has on the body, modern health problems and solutions, health promotion and the practice of behaviour change. Some focus on physiology, whilst others focus on the running and management of a health facility or coming up with lifestyle plans for individuals who need a health overhaul. Therefore, the course you choose largely depends on the career you envisage for yourself at the end of your studies.

In terms of career development, health and fitness courses can open up a range of opportunities for you. You could work in a health centre, go on to qualify as a fitness instructor, enter management of a health and fitness centre, become a physiotherapist or massage therapist, become a health consultant… the list goes on.

The courses at the institutions listed below can provide you with a great start to your research.

1. Motions Fitness was established in 1984 and today it runs three main courses. The courses on offer are: Certificate in Exercise & Health Fitness (Accredited by University of Limerick), Diploma in Holistic Massage and Diploma in Sports Massage (Both accredited by ITEC). These professional qualifications are highly regarded in Ireland and abroad.

2. Institute of Massage and Sports TherapyIMST was established in 1998 by Rachel McCarthy, to provide a professional center of training for complementary and sports therapists. Courses are run in Limerick and Galway.

3. The National Training Centre offer a wide range of fitness training courses in Physical Therapy, Personal Training, Holistic Massage, Strength and Conditioning and Nutrition.

4. Portobello Institute run a range of Health and Fitness courses in both Further Education and Part Time Learning sectors. Courses range from posture and pilates workshops to sports massage and personal trainer certification.

5. Image Fitnes Training provide training opportunities for fitness professionals who are interested in working as personal Trainers and Gym Instructors. They also offer ongoing workshops for upskilling.

6. Litton lane Training run a range of highly regarded ITEC accredited courses in Dublin, Cork and Galway. The courses are run on a regular basis.

7. Fitcert provides highly practical Fitness Instructor and Personal Training Qualifications at locations in Dublin, Louth and Offaly.

8. The Sports Fitness Academy in Donegal provides a wide range of sport and fitness related accredited course, including sports massage, fitness instruction and personal training.

View Health and Fitness course listings at

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Secretarial Courses

secretarial coursesThe key skills necessary when it comes to landing a secretarial position are arguably not complex, but mastery of them is essential if you want to go far. An entry level position may require you to be good with computers (expect to have your typing speed and knowledge of basic computer programs examined extensively at interview), as well as strong people skills – if you’re enthusiastic – smaller companies might allow you to train on the job. Getting certified, of course, is always going to give you a better chance of landing a position with more pay and more responsibility.

How far it’s worth you going in order to attain these skills depends entirely on your aims. It’s worth remembering that even those with a high level diploma in secretarial work are unlikely to be taken on by major firms without at least one to two years work experience, so combining work and study could be a sensible option for more than just financial reasons. If you’re looking to enter at the bottom, qualifications like the European Computer Driving License will get your foot in the door, as will learning to type correctly. Picking up some skills in data entry and even languages can be a big help, too.

Secretarial courses Ireland

Of course, the best way to really get yourself noticed is to pick an industry and specialise. There’s barely an industry that doesn’t have some requirement for secretaries, and with a little effort you could find yourself anywhere from manning the desk in a local office to working in a top multinational firm, writing letters to investors about the transfer of millions of Euro. The key specialisations, which are key to increased salaries, revolve around the most specific and demanding of professions.

Legal secretarial work is competitive, but the staff are in demand and paid substantially more than standard positions. You will need to learn all about confidentiality in particular, and later specialisations in subjects such as criminal law, litigation, family law, civil law, probate, business law and intellectual property is almost as desired as the lawyers themselves. Secretaries in these areas can go on to become legal executives, as well as earning substantial salaries in their own rights at major law firms.

There’s not as much financial reward in medical secretarial work, though it is arguably more satisfying in other ways. Medical secretaries skills are extremely specialist, and aimed at helping doctors to perform their jobs. You’ll be dealing with some difficult situations (is there ever a time when people are more emotional?), and can also be involved in things like the completion of insurance forms. You’ll need to have a good grasp of what’s going on around you, which in this particular work place is easier said than done. Many medical secretaries are highly skilled, specifically trained and eager to give something back. Unless you’ve undertaken an extensive course, this is certainly not an entry-level position, nor a specialty to be taken lightly.

The range of options, salaries and required qualifications for different secretarial positions is enormous, and while you’re never going to out-earn the CEO, you might become an essential part of his team, privy to the companies most important deals and paid appropriately. In other words, it can be a career direction well worth considering.


Secretarial / Admin courses in Ireland

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Basic Computer Courses

Some of us take our computer skills for granted; we type up a word document, edit it, save it and often attach it to an email. However, there are some people that are almost afraid of computers and their applications, as they don’t yet have the basic skills to be computer literate.

beginners computer courses

Recently, on a popular radio chat show, that came from Google headquarters in Dublin, many older guests admitted to their difficult and often comical relationship with computers. One mother, in her 50s, admitted that her first email involved typing it up, printing it and posting it in an envelope, with the ‘To’ and ‘From’ email addresses visibly displayed at the top of the page. Another person described their frustration at the mouse pointer not moving on screen despite their increasingly exaggerated gestures with the mouse to get it going, unfortunately they were holding the mouse in the air instead of on the mouse-pad.

According to Google and Age Action Ireland, young people should try to get their parents using the Internet. It is often the case that older people know how to email but do not use other services the Internet offers such as: online banking, photo sharing or social networking. The show highlighted, that with a lot of sons and daughters having to emigrate, that email and Facebook is an ideal way for parents to keep in contact with their loved ones.

If you are an absolute beginner; you are not alone! The good news is that there are many courses that can help you take that first step into the computer world. You will learn everything you need to know – from working that plastic mouse to accessing and watching that ‘missed episode’ of Fair City via the RTE Player. Beginner courses should cover topics like: how to control your computer once it is on, moving and restoring windows and word-processing (Microsoft Word helps you to create letters, flyers, posters etc). Some beginner courses also cover Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

If you are looking for a beginners computer course that is more comprehensive – you might consider learning Microsoft Office with Pitman Training. Microsoft Office is the most widely used software suite in business and office environments. It is essential if you want to keep up to date with the skills demanded by many employers and to progress your career.


After you have completed a basic computer course – you will be as comfortable holding a computer mouse as holding a pen. Writing an email will be as normal as writing a letter. You will understand that windows are more than something you look through! You will be computer literate. I am afraid to say if you don’t like computers, you might just have to rethink that relationship, as computers are now considered a basic tool to daily living.

It is in your best interests to become computer literate. If you are seeking employment – many employers presume computer literacy is a given. Computer literacy does not mean you need to know how to use every single piece of software you may encounter. It does not mean you need to know how to write programs or network computers. You just need to know some basics — how to save and open a file, how to use a word processing program (which is actually just processing ‘words’ – similar to how our  mind processes thoughts except you have a keyboard and a screen!), and how to send and receive email — for starters. It means having some sort of level of comfort around computers rather than a look of fear.

A basic computer course will help you begin your new relationship with computers. Remember, one way to overcome a fear is to face it!

Find more computer training and IT courses on Computer Training Category >>

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975 extra Special Needs Assistants by end 2017

sna coursesThe Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, has announced the provision of 975 additional Special Needs Assistants which will be available for allocation to schools over the period September to December 2017, a 7.5% increase, in order to meet the level of assessed demand. Special Needs Assistants are responsible for looking after the care needs of children with special needs, while resource teachers are responsible for supporting them in their educational needs.

This will bring the total number of Special Needs Assistants to 13,990, at a total gross annual cost of €458m. The number of Special Needs Assistants has increased by 32%, from 10,575 to 13,990 since 2011. This increase reflects the growing participation of children with special educational needs and will support their full participation and progression within the educational system. The number of Special Classes has increased by 120% with over 600 new special classes opened since 2011, bringing the total number of such classes to over 1,100.

The new model for allocating Resource Teachers to schools has been successfully introduced, with 900 additional teacher allocated from September 2017 to support the model and to ensure that children with special needs can access additional teaching supports.

The Minister also announced that following the recent receipt of a progress report from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), on the Comprehensive Assessment of the SNA Scheme currently being undertaken by the NCSE, he has requested the NCSE to establish a working group, comprising relevant stakeholders, to assist in proposing an improved model for providing care supports to provide the best possible outcomes for students with special educational needs who have additional care needs.

The NCSE will now proceed to notify schools of their SNA allocations for the coming 2017/18 school year and will publish details of these allocations on their website

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PLC Courses as a Route to Third Level

plc coursesThere was a time, not too long ago, when your Leaving Certificate grades and the points that they translated into determined whether you would become a third level student, go directly into employment or head for distant shores. Thanks to the Further Education system, more options have become available for those leaving secondary education or those wishing to return to education.

Today many view the PLC (Post Leaving Cert) route as their alternative stepping stone into Higher Education Institutes. At the end of your studies it doesn’t really matter the method of entry, but the qualification and experience gained in the process.

Who is the PLC route for? Many argue it is for those who are more practical than academic. Not necessarily so anymore! As year after year, many entrants into the PLC sector of education also have the offer of CAO courses. Some PLC students don’t want to commit to a 3 or 4 year course in a third level institution until they have actually experienced or studied a similar Level 5 or 6 certificate course. PLC courses can assist students in making a more informed decision prior to further commitment.

There are PLC courses that prepare you for specific further study as well. Courses such as Nursing Studies, Art-portfolio preparation and Pre-Engineering courses are some of the examples. Some students attend a PLC college in order to have a second opportunity to score higher points than they got in their leaving cert.

plc courses in Ireland

Whatever the reason for doing a PLC course, you will find over 1400 further education centres registered with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland – Formerly FETAC). The distinctive feature of further education is its diversity and breadth of provision, and its linkages with other services such as employment, training, area partnership, welfare and community and voluntary sector interests. Further education and training programmes typically have a vocational or work focus and reflect national, regional or sectoral economic needs. An element of work experience and job preparation is inbuilt into all programmes, which are essential components for students who wish to enter the employment market. PLC courses are not just aimed at the student leaving school but also at adults retuning to education.

The buzz word these days is ‘progression’. Many PLC/FE courses lead to QQI Level 5 and 6 awards, and in some cases you can progress with this award via The Higher Education Links Scheme or The Pilot Scheme to a third level course in a variety of higher education institutions including universities, institutes of technology and even private colleges. The Higher Education Links Scheme facilitates progression to specific third level programmes whilst the Pilot Scheme allows you to compete for CAO places alongside leaving certificate students. Most Higher Level Institutes now reserve a quota of places for QQI graduates. If you look at the National Framework of Qualifications you can place yourself according to your level of education on the framework (. From your starting point you can go from one level to the next should you wish to do so. One level becomes a ladder to the next.

The National Framework of Qualifications is now the single structure mechanism for recognising all education and training in Ireland. All framework awards have an NFQ Level (1-10) which tells you about the standard of learning and an NFQ Award-Type which tells you about the purpose, volume and progression opportunities associated with a particular award. A key element of the NFQ is to improve access (entry) to education and training, transfer within and between education and training and progression within and between education and training. (see for further information)

National Framework of Qualifications

NFQ Diagram – Fan diagram showing the 10 certification levels and overlaps within the National Framework of Qualifications – see for more details.

In order to progress with your QQI award – it is important to remember that applicants must have obtained a full QQI major award. Many students who complete a level 6 programme have been successful in gaining advanced entry to year 2 of a relevant programme in The Institutes of Technology. Some FE colleges even have individual progression agreements with their local IT, affording students access to a specific number of reserved places. Links with the UK have developed over the years between individual colleges and specific universities in the UK.

Further education courses are open to those with a Leaving Certificate or an equivalent qualification. It is recommended that students check individual course entry requirements. FE courses are also open to mature students subject to Leaving Certificate standard of education or suitable life/work experience. It is important to keep in mind that some of the most popular courses fill up by April each year. Some courses also require that you attend for an interview.

It is worth keeping in mind the fact that there has been a decrease in the numbers of mature students applying to third level colleges and an increase in those accessing further education at QQI Levels 5 and 6. Guidance Counsellors have also noted the increase in students making both PLC/FE and CAO applications each year.

The PLC/FE route may not be part of the third level system but it certainly has as much credibility as an education option and it continues to go from strength to strength.

To see more details on PLC courses and further education courses, check out the following link –

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New Level 8 Degree in Creative Music Production

summer courses iadtIADT launched a new Level 8 Degree in Creative Music Production– a joint collaborative Programme between the Institute of Art, Design and Technology and Sound Training College.

Rihanna, the Black Eyed Peas, Snow Patrol, Michael Jackson, Van Morrison, The Corrs, Morrissey, The Script and The Frames – are just some of the artists that lecturers on this course have worked with!

IADT and STC are leading the way in Higher education music provision for music producers, technicians and musicians, offering engagement with internationally renowned artists and access to world-class facilities.

Working alongside some of Ireland’s most experienced sound engineering and music industry practitioners, students will learn how to creatively use industry-standard equipment and software. Working out of the Temple Bar Studios, students get unrivalled industry experience, access and contacts as they have the opportunity to work on live sound engineering projects as well as studio recording and music production activities with world famous artists.

Speaking at the announcement of the new programme, Dr. Annie Doona, President, stated that IADT is “ pleased to continue the successful partnership with Sound Training College on this new programme which has already attracted significant interest from music production students”.


The agreement was signed by IADT President, Dr. Annie Doona and STC Director, Paddy Dunning at Apollo Studios, Temple Bar on Tuesday 27th June.

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Masters in Teaching with Hibernia College

masters in teachingThinking of a career in Teaching? If you have a Level 8 degree and a C3 (higher level) in Irish, now could be the time to find out if this is the right fit for you. An independent teacher panel can assess you, as regards to your potential as a teacher.

A successful interview will enable you to plan for your Professional Master of Education in Primary or Post Primary Education, by allowing you to:
A) Accept a place now on one of Hibernia Colleges’ September 2017 programmes, or
B) Defer out to one of Hibernia Colleges’ programme intakes in April or September 2018 allowing you time to plan accordingly.

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If you would like to explore these options further then fill in the form or call one of the Hibernia College advisors on 086 1449 044 from 9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. weekdays or 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. on weekends and they will be happy to assist you on your journey to a successful career in teaching.

There is a highly favourable employment outlook for our primary and secondary school teaching graduates.

According to the Irish Independent, Public Expenditure Minister Howlin said the country would need an extra 3,500 primary and secondary school teachers by 2021.

A Masters in Post Primary Education – Professional Master of Education is perfect for you if you want to be a part of the growth and development of teenagers aged 12-18.

As a secondary school teacher, or post primary teacher, you will specialise in two subjects and you will teach these to students from the first year to the sixth year. It is your enthusiasm and focus on your subjects that will motivate and foster a love of the subject material by students, thereby ensuring that they bring as much learning as possible with them in their future endeavours. As the famous quote goes “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.”

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