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

View SNA Courses on

View Press Release on

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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.”

View Hibernia College Courses on

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Personal Development Courses

personal development coursesEnhance Your Employability.
Personal development courses can make a big difference to your employment prospects as well as greatly increasing the chances of achieving job fulfilment. When they were first introduced, they were perceived by many as an unnecessary extravagance. Now, with such fierce competition for many jobs, these courses have become increasingly popular and an important consideration in career progression.

It is not only the lack of jobs and fierce competition that make personal development courses a good option to consider. It is also the value of the course itself and what it can teach you. The topics covered are not usually within the spectrum covered by careers and guidance counsellors. As a result, training in this area can really enlighten you on the skills that will help you not only in your career but also in your social and personal life.

Personal Development Courses Ireland

The types of Personal Development courses vary, for example courses on dealing with stress management will teach how to deal with trying situations more calmly. Courses on assertiveness can be very effective for those with low self esteem or confidence issues. There are also courses on time management, public speaking and many others that deal with all aspects of developing ones personality to increase confidence & relationship skills.

Most courses will include the creation and maintenance of a personal development record and will usually take the form of seminars rather than lectures. With seminars, you can actively participate and discus any issues that you have with your peers, which will thus help you to grow and develop, as well as increase the people skills you have, often without you even realising it! You are encouraged to assess your own skills, and the effectiveness of these courses will largely be down to you and your willingness to make use of the knowledge gained from the course.

Usually personal development courses usually last for four or five working days. There are individual day courses available as well. This obviously varies from course to course, as does the cost. Courses may qualify for a subsidy if being completed whilst at college or in employment so this may well be worth investigating.

Normally a personal development course will not have an examination at the end of it. The general rule is to contribute to the class if you want to pass. However, it would be a good idea to take it seriously because the advantage that a personal development can give you in terms of career progression can make all the difference. The providers below host various personal development courses, including some that focus mostly on employment up-skilling;

1. Personal Development Certificate – Griffin training, Dublin City Centre

2. Communication at Work – Pitman Training, Dublin North

3. CBT Skills for Everyday Life – PCI College, Dublin

4. Working with Assertiveness – Pitman Training (Nationwide Locations) lists a range of Personal Development courses at the following url;

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CAO Change of Mind

cao change of mindThe July 1st deadline to change CAO course choices is approaching and offers the opportunity to re-examine the options available to students for the years ahead. Now is the time to really identify the courses of interest & do some research on courses and colleges available, the outcome of poor choices can mean courses are dropped out of in the first year or never completed. This has an effect on any future studies where grants and fees are involved and can leave the student short on options in the years ahead.

Course choices will benefit from planning and research. Like all journeys with an ultimate goal, preparation is vital. Most students at this stage are aware of their options regarding courses depending on examination results but it can be useful to revisit the CAO website that has information on all courses available with a useful search facility that enables the user to refine their choices based on specific criteria. Study and course content needs to excite and motivate the student especially when they are not under direct supervision.

Self-motivation is essential to college life and if the wrong course is being followed, walking away from it all or spending more time in the student bar than lectures can be the outcome. It is best not to project too far ahead to what a career path may hold, it is far more important to study subjects that encourages the student to keep going back for more based on their own specific interests.

Suitable Courses
Between study sessions and Leaving Cert completion, the student should ask themselves some soul searching questions. They should ask themselves what motivates them. Are they fascinated by science? Mesmerised by the arts? Inspired by technology? Whichever questions are answered should lead into the right course being chosen.

Naturally CAO points are major part of the consideration but sometimes it is possible to pursue the course of choice at colleges where there are lower points required, so it is worth looking at all options outside of the preferred ones.

Even if there is confidence in the choices that have been made, it is wise to review them before a final decision, as new courses can be added and old ones discontinued. There are many more courses available to explore since the CAO handbook was printed.
The wrong course choice can be costly. Dropout rates are high for those studying unsuitable courses and the financial impact can be far reaching. If a student drops out or fails exams in the first year and it is decided to start a new course the following academic year, it will cost another registration fee and another course fee, each costing thousands of euro. That is a large price to pay for not spending some extra time making the right choices.

Once suitable courses are selected, they must be validated against whether the student fulfils the entry requirements, is studying the right subjects and of course the necessary CAO points will need to be achieved. Visit prospective colleges and take advantage of open days. There are always career guidance counsellors on hand to talk to. It is helpful to discuss options with respected adults and friends or professionals.

Secondary to choosing a course is choosing a college. When choosing a college, some factors to consider might include the following;

  • College location. Is there a higher cost of study at the chosen college in comparison to other colleges offering the same third level course? – e.g living expenses are higher in the capital than in rural areas.
  • Is student accommodation easily obtainable? e.g is there on-campus accommodation available to first year students, is it possible to commute to a college if reasonably affordable accommodation cannot be found?
  • What are the academic achievements of the college? e.g is the college regarded as having a well regarded department in your chosen field of study? (This can be part of a future employers selection criteria for new hires).
  • Does the college offer job placement programmes to help students obtain a job after graduation?
  • Are there good sporting and social events on campus? This is important for new students adjusting to college life and making new friends as they may be selecting a different college to other friends from secondary school.

When all necessary research has been done and a short list is made, list the final choices on the CAO record in order of preference. The video tutorial below from the CAO ( will assist in this process.

The change of mind period is one that is of the utmost benefit for students and if used wisely, will allow college to get off to a great start with a student brimming with confidence, assured that the course they have chosen will lead to an interesting and challenging time ahead.

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Courses in Psychology

psychology coursesPsychology is the study of human behaviour and mental processes. It is, therefore, as varied a field as human behaviour.  Choosing to study psychology opens up a multitude of opportunities to work in a diverse range of specialities from research based work to counselling psychology.

People undertaking a psychology course should be aware that psychology is, fundamentally, a science.  Many people believe that is centred entirely on the human psyche and behaviour when in fact there is vast areas of psychology that deal primarily with biological studies.  An undergraduate student of psychology is expected to master the more mundane areas, such as research and statistics, as well as prove they have a comprehensive understanding of the human eye, ear, brain and central nervous system before they even begin to study the more popular areas of forensic, abnormal and social psychology.
Psychology courses in Ireland
However, psychology is still an extremely popular choice of for students because it offers excellent levels of employability and the opportunity to specialise in a variety of areas.  A downfall of this variety, however, is the tendency for students to change their minds frequently about the area the wish to specialise in. It is important for students to make an informed decision once they have finished their undergraduate degree about area they wish to specialise in. Indecisiveness can damage future employment opportunities.

The main areas of psychology that people choose to specialise in are as follows:

Biopsychology: concentrates on the study of the relationship between the brain and behaviour.
Clinical psychology: this is the largest are to specialise in.  It is focused around researching, diagnosing and treating mental illnesses.
Developmental psychology:  the study of psychological development from infancy to adolescence but can also include geriatric development.
Industrial-organisational psychology: psychologists in this area develop ways of applying psychological principles to improve productivity and behaviour in the workplace.
Health psychology: concerned with understanding how psychological factors can affect physical health.
Educational psychology: use psychological principles to help understand and improve how people are educated.

There are many ways to begin studying psychology.  Foundation courses are available at many colleges.  Although these courses do not provide any kind of qualification to begin practicing, they do provide participants with an informed idea of what they should expect to encounter should they decide to carry on to undergraduate level.  Psychology is also a popular subject for students studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree.  In this format, it is known as psychological studies and is combined with another subject.  Most universities offer the option of doing a year long conversion course upon completion of a BA in psychological studies to those who wish to continue on to pure psychology, although this is usually only offered to a select few students. The quickest way to become a psychologist is to go for an undergraduate degree in psychology.  The vast majority of career opportunities in psychology, however, do require further postgraduate training.

When considering a career in psychology, one must be prepared for many years of study and so it is important to make an informed decision.  However, with good employment opportunities and an extensive choice of specialisation, it is an area where hard work can reap excellent rewards.

To see a selection of psychology courses in Ireland view the following link:

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Occupational First Aid Level 5 (5N1207) No Longer Meeting HSA Requirement

HSA Occupational HealthFrom 1 September 2017, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) will no longer recognise the QQI component (award code 5N1207) as meeting the requirements for occupational first aid in all workplaces. This change has arisen from the HSA’s decision to recognise the Prehospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) First Aid Response Education and Training standard (FAR). The HSA statement about the transition to FAR can be found here.

The HSA will recognize training and assessment relating to QQI’s Level 5 OFA (5N1207) that took place up to 31 August 2017. That recognition will be for a 2 year period. (Please note that it is possible that the QQI component certificate could be dated post 31 August 2017 e.g. October or December 2017).

Refresher certificates issued by recognised training providers up to 31 August 2017 will also be recognised by the HSA for a 2 year period. Thereafter existing occupational first aiders can apply to have their qualifications individually assessed by a participating PHECC recognised institution (RI) in accordance with the RI’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy and procedures.

Status of QQI component in OFA

The QQI Level 5 component will remain in place and available for certification until further notice. QQI is establishing a process for reviewing award standards and a decision on retaining or deactivating the Level 5 OFA component will be taken in that context and due notice given to providers. The Level 5 OFA component is named in the following major awards:

5M2009 Early Childhood Care and Education
5M2083 Hospitality Operations
5M2110 Security Studies
5M2181 Applied Social Studies
5M3782 Health Service Skills
5M4339 Healthcare Support
5M4349 Nursing Studies
5M4732 Youth Work
5M5011 Tourism with Business
5M5146 Sports, Recreation and Exercise
5M5148 Outdoor Sport and Recreation

Impact for Providers and Learners

Providers with validated programmes leading to the above major awards, or where 5N1207 is used as residual credit, should consider its continued use in their programme in light of the HSA decision. They should also ensure that, under their procedures around information to learners, they advise learners of the HSA decision and its potential impact for them in the workplace. Providers who may be considering submitting a programme for validation for Level 5 Occupational First Aid are advised to consider the suitability of doing so in light of the HSA decision.

If you have particular questions around this matter, please submit your query via QHelp.

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Leaving Cert Study Tips – To Cram or Not to Cram

Cramming for Leaving CertWith the Leaving Cert and other state exams fast approaching, many students will find themselves facing that age-old, time versus workload dilemma. Faced with this problem, the popular solution of ‘cramming’ is the answer for many and whilst it is not an ideal approach to exam success, it can bring varying degrees of reward if done correctly. See some tips below for some cramming tips and study advice..

Balance – As in most areas of life, balance is important. When studying intensively it is vital to take short breaks to relieve stress and allow the information to sink in. Eating healthily, getting some exercise & fresh air and getting good sleep nightly should all play an important role in study leading up to exam-time.

Plan – As the old adage goes ’fail to plan, plan to fail’. Check your exam time-table, plan the most effective study times in the days leading up to the exams, any free evening hours and on the days you don’t have any exams. Create a study plan, marking out the times clearly for study based on subject & time per subject. Try not to spend too much time on any one subject at a time. Changing a subject after a few hours can be as good as a rest for a beleaguered brain.

Notes – Highlight the important points from notes or textbooks. Jot the most important of these down in point format using Flash Cards or small sheets of paper. Try to memorise these important points by rewriting them or saying them aloud. It has been shown that we need to use information at least 7 times before it becomes logged to long-term memory. This can be done by repeating (aloud if possible) or rewriting important points without looking at the original text.

Memorise – Memorisation techniques are another highly effective way of recalling important information at exam-time. One such technique is to write a series of points on a sheet of paper or flash card. Highlight the first letter of each point and create a rhyme or statement as an acronym from these letters. The more nonsensical & humorous the better as it will be remembered easily. Now try reciting the points based on the acronym created.

Sleep – Numerous studies have shown the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive function. Not only will memory be impaired but general mood, energy levels and reasoning will all suffer. So don’t be tempted to pull an all-nighter. If you have to limit sleep, try to get the most you possibly can as it will be important for stamina throughout exam-time.

Positive Thinking – Many things come down to perspective. It is easy to get carried away at exam time and become anxious about performance and the importance of good results. Try to keep the mood upbeat by listening to some positive music or having a laugh with friends and family. A positive mental attitude will not only stand to you at exam time but may be more important than any exam results when the time comes to step onto the career ladder.

The tips above may be helpful for exam success, however the most important thing to remember is that the exams are simply another stepping stone on the route to further study & future career. If you trip on that step then there are plenty of other routes available as shown by many successful people. Alternatively bear in mind that even with excellent results there are plenty of other steps ahead and choosing a suitable college course should not be influenced too heavily by academic results but also by genuine interests and aptitudes. Best of luck to all those sitting state exams in the weeks ahead!

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Summer Camps 2017

Summer Schools for StudentsWith the summer sun beaming down (well sometimes at least) and free time soon to be in abundance for many students, the need arises for activities to pass the time. Options include part time work, travel, volunteering or education activities. Summer Camps are one such activity and there are a number of them taking bookings for the weeks ahead. See below for some upcoming summer camps taking place around the country..

  • The Institute of Art, Design and Technology in Dun Laoghaire, County Dublin are running a range of short term Summer courses starting in June. The courses are from 1 to three weeks in duration, depending on the subject. More details available at
  • UCC Summer School operates on UCC campus  from 19th June until 4th August for teenagers between 12 and 16 years old. Students will undertake four different modules during the week under the guidance of our qualified module instructors. More details at
  • Anyone 4 Science was established in 2005 to provide fun hands-on science and engineering activities for children and teenagers. The teen camps for 2017 start on 12th June & will be running between the times 9.30am – 2.30pm, Monday to Friday. More information at
  • Maynooth Summer School are running a range of camps starting on Monday 12th to Friday 16th June, 9am to 4pm daily. More information can be found at
  • NUI Galway is holding a series of Summer Schools for students interested in studying at university. This is an excellent opportunity for prospective students to get a real taste of university life and to enjoy a wide range of hands-on practical activities. More information available at
  • University of Limerick are hosting a Nursing and Midwifery Summer School. A fun and interactive two day camp suitable for post-junior cert, transition and fifth year students, where they can iscover more about Nursing and Midwifery as career choices. More info at
  • Letterkenny Institute of Technology will hold an exciting Computing Summer Camp for secondary school students throughout Donegal. Three Computing Summer Camps will take place from the 26th to the 29th of June. More information online at
  • Cork Institute of Technology are hosting the CIT Enterprise Camp where 60 young entrepreneurs in Cork City and County will learn entrepreneurial skills over a 5 day period. Application deadline is 12th June and more information can be gotten at
  • The Entrepreneurial & Innovation Summer Camp at AIT Summer School will be held on campus at Athlone Institute of Technology, 19th – 23rd June 2017, from 9:30am to 4:30 pm. More information available at

There are other summer camps and activities running in many education institutes nationwide, so if none of the above matches your requirements, why not contact your local colleges and training providers to find out if they have something similar in your area.

For more events and open days view our Education Events page at

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Springboard Plus 2017

Springboard 2017Springboard which was first launched as part of the Government’s Job’s Initiative in 2011, is a strategy which targets funding of free higher education courses to enable jobseekers to upskill or reskill in areas where there are identified labour market skills shortages or employment opportunities.

Springboard courses range from levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) . Courses are delivered in areas such as ICT, manufacturing, international financial services, hospitality and entrepreneurial/business start-up skills. Work placements are offered on almost all of the courses.

The ICT skills conversion programme is being provided as part of the joint Government-Industry ICT Action Plan 2014 – 2018. The programme is targeted at jobseekers who already hold a level 8 or equivalent qualification and have the capacity and underlying aptitude, to undergo an intensive full-time programme of study and work experience, to acquire honours degree level ICT programming skills. The ICT skills conversion programme is also available to eligible participants on a part-time, two year option.

Springboard courses and the ICT skills conversion programme are now run as a joint initiative under the banner brand Springboard+.

Springboard+ is funded by the National Training Fund with co-funding from the European Union under the European Social Fund, as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020. No fees are charged to participants.

Springboard+ 2017 which incorporates Springboard courses and the full-time and part-time ICT skills conversion programme, provides for 6,471 places on 198 courses in public and private educational institutions throughout Ireland. All courses selected for funding under Springboard+ 2017 are in areas of identified enterprise skills needs. Courses were selected, following a competitive call for proposals, by an independent evaluation panel using published criteria that included value for money, flexible delivery, engagement with industry and skills relevance. Courses approved for funding in 2017 will be in the following skills areas: • ICT • Manufacturing (including the biopharma sector • Financial services • Entrepreneurship • The hospitality sector.

Expansion of the eligibility criteria for Springboard+ 2017: Under Springboard+ 2017, the eligibility criteria has been expanded to include homemakers and those in employment including those in self-employment who wish to upskill, reskill or cross skill in the Biopharma/Med Tech sector and those in employment, or self-employment in the ICT sector who wish to upskill from a level 7 to a level 8 qualification.
To date over 35,000 free higher education places have been provided under Springboard+

How to Apply
Further information on Springboard+ 2017 including entry requirements and eligibility criteria are available on the dedicated information and applications website: Applications are submitted online and decisions around the award of places on the programmes are a matter for individual course providers.

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