The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Second Round Offers 2017 -

It is worth tak­ing time to think about your post-school op­tions as there are a myr­iad of routes into qual­ity em­ploy­ment, not all through the CAO. Many Leav­ing Cert stu­dents and par­ents see the op­tion of study­ing for a level 5/6 award in a post leav­ing cert (PLC) col­lege, un­der the aus­pices of the lo­cal Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Board (ETB) as be­ing an in­di­ca­tion of fail­ure. Noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

PLC pro­grammes of­fer many young peo­ple, and those not so young for that mat­ter, a set of skills which will se­cure them en­try to qual­ity em­ploy­ment in a wide range of in­dus­tries, travel, hair­dress­ing, beauty, to name but a few.

Stu­dents who need to de­velop a qual­ity port­fo­lio of work to sup­port an ap­pli­ca­tion to cour­ses in ar­eas such as Arts, De­sign, Ar­chi­tec­ture, and so on, in­vari­ably do so through a lo­cal PLC port­fo­lio prepa­ra­tion pro­gramme.

PLC pro­grammes, taught in col­leges where class sizes are never more than 30 plus, where teach­ing staff know ev­ery stu­dent, but where stu­dents have to­tal free­dom to come and go as they wish, are per­fect en­vi­ron­ments for many stu­dents who find the tran­si­tion from the to­tally cos­seted world of the sec­ond-level school, to the world of to­tal free­dom in third level, hard to nav­i­gate.

That is why up to 20 per cent of stu­dents on many CAO pro­grammes drop out each year.

Many stu­dents who may feel the prospect of third-level col­lege daunt­ing today, will af­ter a year con­sol­i­dat­ing their skills in a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject area at PLC level, go on in a year’s time to blos­som in Univer­sity or in an IT.

All PLC col­leges have as­so­ci­a­tions with third-level in­sti­tu­tions so that the smooth tran­si­tion of stu­dents from one to the other can take place at the end of the one- or two-year pro­gramme.

All fur­ther ed­u­ca­tion (FE) col­leges are still tak­ing en­rol­ments and stu­dents can go on to any col­lege web­site to ap­ply on­line. Classes start in early to mid-Septem­ber, so there is plenty of time to find a course. Some col­leges hold open days over the com­ing week, so check out your lo­cal col­leges’ web­sites. As­sess­ment and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for FE cour­ses are based on both work dur­ing the year and ex­ams at the end. In the south Dublin re­gion, Black­rock (BFEI) of­fer a two-year level 6 ad­vanced cer­tifi­cate in busi­ness. On suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion, stu­dents gain ad­vanced en­try to the sec­ond year of the level 7 bach­e­lor of busi­ness in en­ter­prise at the nearby In­sti­tute of Art De­sign and Tech­nol­ogy (IADT), Dún Laoghaire. There are sim­i­lar ar­range­ments for its cer­tifi­cate in web de­sign and dig­i­tal me­dia course.

Also at BFEI is a one-year level 5 ap­plied psy­chol­ogy course which has pro­gres­sion op­tion to level 8 cour­ses in ap­plied psy­chol­ogy at IADT, Dún Laoghaire and the Water­ford In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy. Grad­u­ates also have the op­tion to progress to the sec­ond year of a three-year hon­ours BA coun­selling and psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Wales.

As with many FE col­leges, BFEI of­fers a one-year level 5 cour­ses in com­puter sci­ence, graphic de­sign and in­te­rior de­sign course. Grad­u­ates can ap­ply through CAO for de­gree cour­ses in UCD, IADT, DIT, IT Tal­laght and ITB, Blan­chard­stown.

BFEI are one of the FE col­leges of­fer­ing the new ac­count­ing tech­ni­cian practicum course in con­junc­tion with Ac­count­ing Tech­ni­cian Ire­land. This is an al­ter­na­tive to a full-time pro­gramme whereby you can earn while you learn. Trainees will work in an ac­count­ing firm four days a week and at­tend lec­tures at BFEI one day a week over two years.

In the City of Dublin Ed­u­ca­tion Train­ing Board (CDETB) area, Rath­mines Col­lege has a long tra­di­tion in busi­ness, mar­ket­ing, ac­count­ing, me­dia, of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tion and com­puter pro­gram­ming. It also runs a lib­eral arts ac­cess course where stu­dents can move to arts in UCD and Maynooth Univer­sity. Cour­ses are at level 5 and 6, with the lat­ter giv­ing di­rect ad­vanced en­try to sec­ond year of de­gree pro­grammes in var­i­ous col­leges.

One in­ter­est­ing point to bear in mind is that some­one wish­ing to get an ac­count­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tion doesn’t have to do a busi­ness de­gree first. A pri­mary de­gree is not a pre- req­ui­site for en­try to pro­fes­sional ac­count­ing. Rath­mines stu­dents can take an ACCA diploma in ac­count­ing and busi­ness with three higher level H5’s plus two O6’s grades at or­di­nary level in the Leav­ing Cert.

Af­ter com­plet­ing this pro­gramme and a research project, stu­dent get a BSc in ac­count­ing from Ox­ford Brooks Univer­sity in the UK. Rath­mines also has em­ploy­ment ori­en­tated pro­grammes in med­i­cal and le­gal ad­min­is­tra­tion, re­tail and se­cu­rity stud­ies or Lo­gis­tics and Distri­bu­tion with al­most guar­an­teed em­ploy­ment. The fees in Rath­mines Col­lege are ¤460, or ¤210 with a med­i­cal card.

Sim­i­lar pro­grammes are of­fered by FE col­leges in ev­ery county in the coun­try. For de­tails of your lo­cal FE col­leges and the cour­ses they of­fer go to qual­i­fax.ie and ca­reer­sportal.ie to see links from those cour­ses to CAO pro­grammes where re­served places are al­lo­cated to stu­dents tran­si­tion­ing from FE to HE. Ap­pren­tice­ships are the new kid on the block when it comes to ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for young peo­ple. Over the past year an in­sur­ance ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme has been in op­er­a­tion through IT Sligo, in which stu­dents spend four days work­ing in a firm and one day study­ing on­line at IT Sligo.

There are also a se­ries of ap­pren­tice­ships in the poly­mer pro­cess­ing and med­i­cal de­vices in­dus­tries.

Over the past year, 120 ac­count­ing tech­ni­cians with ma­jor firms have been en­gaged in what is in fact an ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme, but has not yet got for­mal sign off, so it was op­er­ated un­der the strange sound­ing name of a “practicum”. It is now hoped that it will be able to op­er­ate as a fully recog­nised ap­pren­tice­ship in the com­ing year.

The pro­gramme has been in op­er­a­tion in a link-up be­tween the in­dus­try body, Ac­count­ing Tech­ni­cians of Ire­land, and sev­eral ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing boards, in Dublin city and county, Cork, Ca­van, Mon­aghan and Wick­low. Par­tic­i­pants have spent four days a week in the work­place and one day a week in a col­lege, such as Coláiste Íde, Fin­glas, Black­rock FE In­sti­tute, Rath­mines Col­lege of FE, Bray In­sti­tute of FE, Mon­aghan In­sti­tute and Cork Col­lege of Com­merce.

In Dublin’s IFSC, ap­pren­tices will in the com­ing aca­demic year have the op­por­tu­nity to work in an in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pany for two years, and study at the same time, with an­nual salaries of ¤23,000 and ¤32,000. The IFSC is of­fer­ing two pro­grammes, one called IFC As­so­ciate Level Ap­pren­tice­ship, a Level 6, higher cer­tifi­cate, aimed at school-leavers or those who have com­pleted a Post Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate (PLC) busi­ness course. There are 30 places and ap­pren­tices will be paid ¤23,000 a year.

The IFS Spe­cial­ist Level Ap­pren­tice­ship is aimed at grad­u­ates of all dis­ci­plines. It leads to a higher diploma in fi­nan­cial ser­vices an­a­lyt­ics, a Level 8 (hon­ours de­gree) qual­i­fi­ca­tion, with a start­ing salary of ¤32,000. There are 50 places on this pro- gramme. The Na­tional Col­lege of Ire­land in the IFSC is the co-or­di­na­tor and will man­age re­cruit­ment. In­ter­ested can­di­dates should ap­ply by ex­press­ing their in­ter­est on if­s­ap­pren­tice­ships.ie.

Mean­while, two new ap­pren­tice­ships in in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy (ICT) are planned, with about 250 places na­tion­wide.

Both will be for two years and will lead to a Level 6 award. One is the ICT As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sional Net­work En­gi­neer Ap­pren­tice­ship, which will have mod­ules in ar­eas such as net­work op­er­at­ing sys­tems, net­work­ing tech­nolo­gies and in­ter­net server man­age­ment. The other is the ICT As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sional Soft­ware De­vel­oper Ap­pren­tice­ship, which will cover top­ics such as sys­tems anal­y­sis and de­sign, soft­ware ap­pli­ca­tions test­ing, web de­vel­op­ment and web­site soft­ware, and soft­ware de­sign fun­da­men­tals.

Fastrack to In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (FIT), an in­dus­try-led ini­tia­tive, is the co­or­di­na­tor and will man­age re­cruit­ment. In­ter­ested can­di­dates should ap­ply by ex­press­ing their in­ter­est on the FIT web­site at fit.ie/cour­ses/fit-ic­tap/. Salaries are not fi­nalised.

Since the demise of the Fáilte Ire­land cour­ses in the early noughties, there has been an in­creas­ing short­age of qual­i­fied staff in the area of food and bev­er­ages. To ad­dress this cri­sis, the Ir­ish Ho­tels’ Fed­er­a­tion and the Restau­rants’ As­so­ci­a­tion are of­fer­ing a two-year com­mis chef ap­pren­tice­ship lead­ing to a Level 6 qual­i­fi­ca­tion, with 112 ap­pren­tices na­tion­ally to be re­cruited on its first in­take.

Early Oc­to­ber is the planned start­ing date and re­cruit­ment will be through lo­cal em­ploy­ers ad­ver­tis­ing their po­si­tions. Kerry ETB is the co-or­di­nat­ing provider, and there will be five part­ners: Cork ETB, Gal­way-Roscom­mon ETB, Lim­er­ick and Clare ETB, City of Dublin ETB and Ca­van Mon­aghan ETB. The pri­vate ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor has a wide range of cour­ses still avail­able, ei­ther through va­cant places on the CAO or by di­rect ap­pli­ca­tion to the col­lege. Fees are about ¤5,000-¤6,000 and tax re­lief of ¤400 can be claimed.

Given the high points re­quire­ment for Law de­grees in many Dublin re­gion uni­ver­si­ties, many av­er­age-to-good stu­dents con­sider de­grees in pri­vate col­leges such as Grif­fith and DBS.

In Grif­fith Col­lege, the Law pro­gramme in­volves stu­dents in clin­i­cal prac­tice through the col­lege’s In­no­cent Project which re­views cases where mis­car­riages of jus­tice may have oc­curred. In the re­cent past, stu­dents were re­spon­si­ble for hav­ing the mur­der con­vic­tion on Harry Glee­son, who was ex­e­cuted in the 1940s, over­turned.

Grif­fith also of­fers a film de­gree cov­er­ing di­rec­tion, pro­duc­tion and edit­ing of film and TV, and a four-year com­puter sci­ence de­gree with a six-month work place­ment, which has vir­tu­ally a full em­ploy­ment record.

Dublin Busi­ness School (DBS) has a range of other level 8 de­grees which may be at­trac­tive to those look­ing for al­ter­na­tive routes into dis­ci­plines such as BSc in com­put­ing, BA in psy­chol­ogy, and a BA in busi­ness ac­count­ing and fi­nance. Al­though the ap­pli­ca­tion dead­lines have passed for many con­ti­nen­tal Euro­pean de­grees , they are still open for a wide range of cour­ses for en­try this Septem­ber, par­tic­u­larly in the Nether­lands. A wide se­lec­tion of these pro­grammes is on eu­ni­cas.ie, There are plenty of op­tions avail­able to those who take a dif­fer­ent route and ex­plore other ar­eas. PHO­TO­GRAPH: GETTY IM­AGES to­gether with ap­pli­ca­tion dead­lines and fees.

Study­ing in con­ti­nen­tal Europe is a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity, but I would hes­i­tate if I was yet to cel­e­brate my 18th birth­day. Euro­pean uni­ver­si­ties are rel­a­tively easy to get into be­cause of the lower birth rates EU coun­tries have ex­pe­ri­ences in the past 40 years.

But suc­cess­fully com­plet­ing first year can be a real chal­lenge, as very high stan­dards are de­manded, in what are some of the top-rank­ing uni­ver­si­ties in the world. So, con­stant and in­ten­sive com­mit­ment to the pro­gramme is es­sen­tial if you want to make it into sec­ond year, and on to grad­u­a­tion.

All de­grees se­cured in EU uni­ver­si­ties are au­to­mat­i­cally recog­nised by the reg­u­la­tory bod­ies in Ire­land un­der EU law.

Fees in many con­ti­nen­tal EU coun­tries are low to nonex­is­tent and stu­dents can have ac­cess to low in­ter­est loan schemes once they es­tab­lish their res­i­dency.

‘‘ Stu­dents who need to de­velop a qual­ity port­fo­lio of work to sup­port an ap­pli­ca­tion to cour­ses in ar­eas such as Arts, De­sign, Ar­chi­tec­ture, and so on, in­vari­ably do so through a lo­cal PLC port­fo­lio prepa­ra­tion pro­gramme.

t‘ Over he past year, 120 ac­count­ing tech­ni­cians with ma­jor firms have been en­gaged in an ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme

Re­peat­ing is very much a last op­tion for many of this year’s Leav­ing Certs. The numbers do­ing so in pub­licly funded schools have dropped by over 50 per cent in re­cent years.

If you be­lieve that you will sub­stan­tially im­prove your per­for­mance in a sec­ond shot at the ex­ams, you can do so in the pub­lic-school sys­tem, for ex­am­ple at the CDETB in Rath­mines, Plun­ket, Pearse and Ringsend col­leges. There are also pri­vate providers such as the In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion in Dublin, Bruce Col­lege in Cork, the Tu­to­rial in Lim­er­ick and Yeats Col­lege in Gal­way.

If you are con­sid­er­ing re­peat­ing, un­less you had a spe­cific rea­son why you missed a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time in school over the past year or so, there needs to be a ma­jor change in your ap­proach to all as­pects of study and exam prepa­ra­tion if you are go­ing to im­prove on your re­sult from this year. As the say­ing goes, “if you al­ways do what you’ve al­ways done, you’ll al­ways get what you’ve al­ways got”. Not ev­ery­body is ready to go di­rectly to col­lege af­ter the Leav­ing Cert, par­tic­u­larly if they are un­der 18. If so, do not go off to col­lege course just to be with your friends or to feel part of the group.

There are many creative ways to spend a year, in­clud­ing vol­un­teer­ing at home or abroad, while you fig­ure out what you re­ally want to study in col­lege. Step back and re­flect at leisure.

It’s far bet­ter than charg­ing in and drop­ping out af­ter a few months.

With the econ­omy im­prov­ing, you will have lit­tle dif­fi­culty se­cur­ing a job, which will en­able you to put aside some sav­ings to fund you through col­lege next year, when you have fig­ured out what you re­ally want to study.

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