At the best of times, selecting a course can be a very difficult decision for Leaving Certificate students. These are not the best of times.
With so much uncertainty over the past number of months, it has been very challenging for any young person trying to make decisions which determine their future.
And, there are so many options to choose from – what career or course to pursue. Where they might like to study or train? What kind of educational route offers the best progression in the field of study they choose?
Further education and training (FET) and the opportunities for students, is sometimes overlooked. But, the breadth of courses and progression routes in the FET sector is huge!
FET offers a wide variety of education options to anyone over 16. From stonemasonry to journalism and media, science to accountancy, engineering to culinary arts and everything in between, there are post leaving cert courses (PLC), apprenticeship and traineeship options to take students on any career path.
Further education and training in Ireland has produced countless leaders in their field, from world champion beauticians to international award-winning chefs (at age 19!) and graduates of one college have racked up no less than seven Oscar nominations.
But these headline grabbing stories are not the only ones to focus on. There are also the stories of lab technicians, healthcare workers and childcare workers around the country, the value of whose work has been so acutely revealed in the last number of months. There are the first responders, and the logistics experts and the software developers. There are thousands of professions open to FET graduates through PLC and other FET courses.
While this range of courses doesn’t necessarily make the post-leaving decisions for students easier, it certainly opens up many options.
Further education and training courses are QQI accredited and awards range from NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) Level 1 to 9, providing students and learners with the option of going straight into work in their chosen field or studying further.
Many universities, institutes of technology and some independent higher education institutions offer places to FET graduates on the basis of their FET award, based on certain criteria.
A number of level 6 awards (Advanced Certificates) achieved through FET courses also provide enhanced progression into year two of higher education programmes, where the higher programme is in a similar discipline. This is known as ‘advanced entry’. In some cases, based on the chosen course and meeting certain criteria, a candidate with a level 6 award may be offered exemptions from elements of programmes within the first year.
Applicants are always advised to check with the Admission Officers and with the information of both CAO and the relevant higher education institution.
Apprenticeships and Traineeships
FET also includes apprenticeships and traineeships, which are becoming ever more desirable for particular careers across Ireland. We continue to see a rise in the number of apprentices in the more traditional apprenticeships but we now have a whole new range of apprenticeships in areas such as cyber security; biopharma and chemistry; information and communication technology; and finance.
Likewise, there is a huge range of traineeships, a programme that combines learning in the classroom and experience in the workplace which will provide you with an opportunity to develop cutting edge skills and on-the-job knowledge, enhancing your career options and improving your employability.
The opportunities are diverse. Read some of our stories on Aircraft Maintenance Engineering apprenticeship and Auctioneering and Property Services apprenticeships to Digital Sales and Marketing traineeship and much more.
Further education and training opens the doors for thousands of young people across Ireland every year. It opens the door to careers they didn’t even know about, to careers they might have only ever wanted to do, to further learning or to space and time to figure out what route they wish to take.
In colleges, institutes and learning centres in every corner of Ireland, there are students realising their dreams. Their journey started here.
To find out just how many opportunities and paths there are to take, students can get inspired by some FET stories at http://www.thisisfet.ie