The news last week that a record 84,000 people have applied to CAO this year has caused extra worry among Leaving Cert students at a time that is already stressful. The rise in applicants is likely to put extra pressure on the points system but work is happening behind the scenes in Higher Education Institutes (HEI) and by the Department of Higher Education to provide more places to alleviate the pressure. Three thousand extra places have already been allocated with the promise of more in the coming weeks. While you have no control over the points, you do have control over the practical steps you can take to make sure you give yourself every chance of moving on to the next exciting part of your career journey.
CHANGE OF MIND
Use the CAO Change of Mind facility up to the July 1 deadline to ensure that you have included up to 10 course options on both Level 8 and Level 7/6 lists. By filling up all 20 you give yourself a great chance to get offered a place. Points vary hugely between different colleges even for similar courses. Always check the entry requirements and module details of the course and the golden rule is to rank your courses in order of preference, not in the order of the points. A guide to the Change of Mind facility is available on www.cao.ie.
Apply for Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses in Colleges of Further Education (FE). Entry to these Level 5/6 courses is not based on points and the selection of options available mean that there is something for everyone. As well as preparing you to go into the work place, these courses give you a great introduction to and foundation in a particular area and a QQI FET/FETAC qualification, which once completed allows you to apply for progression routes into HEIs through CAO. A quota of college places on many CAO courses each year are reserved for QQI FET applicants which students can apply for on a competitive basis and there are also extensive opportunities in colleges in the UK and Europe. Details of courses can be found on www.fetchcourses.ie and for information on progression routes see the QQI FET/FETAC section of www.cao.ie.
Take a look at the expanding number of apprenticeships available, which provide skills-based training where participants get to ‘earn while they learn’. Under a new five-year Government plan numbers are set to double up 10,000 apprentices a year. Outside of the traditional ‘craft’ apprenticeships there are multiple options across many sectors including, ICT, finance, insurance, logistics, sales, agriculture, hairdressing and many more. Check out www.apprenticeship.ie.
Look at the options available in traineeships which are offered through FE Colleges and Education and Training Boards (ETBs) of which there are approximately 75 nationally. Traineeships include at least 30% work-based training in areas where there is an identified skills need. You will find the details on www.solas.ie/programmes/traineeship.
Take a look at study abroad options. A growing number of Irish students opt to study abroad each year with the UK and Europe being the most popular options. In many colleges in Europe, fees are cheaper and entry requirements are much more attainable than here in Ireland. While some deadlines have passed, there are a number of colleges overseas that are still accepting applications. Check out www.eunicas.ie and www.medicalpoland.ie for details. Students can apply for vacant college places in the UK through the UCAS Clearing system which opens on July 5 on www.ucas.com.
NATIONAL LEARNING NETWORK
Explore the National Learning Network which has over 40 centres across the country offering specialist training and support services for students and adults who need special support. You can get more information on www.rehab.ie/national-learning-network.
The key thing to remember is that there is not just one pathway for everyone but several possibilities. Explore them all and identify what options will work best for you going forward.
Possible return to campus for college students
By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors
The announcement by the Department of Education this week, that the Leaving Cert results will be issued on Friday, September 3, was followed by confirmation from the Central Applications Office that CAO Round 1 offers will be issued online, four days later on Tuesday, September 7 at 2pm.
This is about three weeks later than normal, although it is earlier than the 2020 dates. Coinciding with the release of these dates comes the news from Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, that it is the priority of Government to get college students back on campus for the 2021/2022 academic year. Because of the later issue of Leaving Cert results and CAO offers, this means that First Year students will start college a couple of weeks later than those who are returning to college in Second, Third and Fourth Year.
From the point of social distancing, the staggered start may be an advantage, as we will still be living with certain restrictions due to COVID-19. There are a number of contributing factors what will influence a safe and successful return to the college campus for students according to Minister Harris. They include the roll-out and take-up of vaccinations in the college-age cohort by September, the use of rapid testing on campus which has been run as a pilot in several universities this year, and a varied approach to face-to-face lectures. It is hoped that smaller classes, practicals and tutorials can be operated as before with social distancing while the larger lectures may need to be facilitated using a blended approach. It is also felt that if cafés, restaurants and bars are open everywhere else, there is no reason why they can’t open on campus. This of course is all based on vaccinations and public health guidelines.
A big concern for First Year students following the announcements is the fact that they will be looking for accommodation later than all other students. This is an issue every single year because when CAO offers are issued, many students get offers for colleges in locations where they have not secured accommodation. Naturally it is of particular concern to rural students and mirrors a greater societal shortage of accommodation. Minister Harris has also stated that he is bringing a proposal to Cabinet in the coming weeks to implement legislation which means that the owners of purpose-built student accommodation will only be allowed to charge rents a month in advance rather than insisting on payment of rent for half of the college year, something which has put enormous strain on students and their families over the years.
So, while any kind of certainty surrounding a return to ‘normal’ college life isn’t possible, it is both hopeful and exciting for new and returning college students to be able to look forward to the next college year with the prospect of getting to enjoy a real college experience and all that has to offer.
I will be hosting a free webinar for Leaving Cert parents on June 16 at 7pm on ‘How to help your son/daughter with CAO Change of Mind and other career options’ ahead of the CAO deadline on July 1.
To register see links on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: @mycareerplan or email me on email@example.com.
Niamh Dwyer is a Guidance Counsellor in Scoil Phobail Sliabh Luachra, Rathmore, and Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors. She is also a Career Consultant. For details see www.mycareerplan.ie or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Deadline for health and well-being fest fast approaching
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching. This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10. Organised by an interagency […]
Friday June 25, the closing date to register an interest in hosting an activity or event during the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, is fast approaching.
This year’s #KerryMHWFest will run from October 9 to 16. It is held annually to highlight World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Organised by an interagency steering group, the key focus of the Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest is to promote mental health and well-being in Kerry through a fun and interactive programme of events.
“The Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest aims to create awareness of, and schedule events that empower people to engage with the Five Ways to Well-being – Connect | Give | Take Notice | Keep Learning | Be Active – as well as raising awareness of the available supports and services in the county,” Chair of the Steering Committee, Donagh Hennebry, said.
“The Fest has a wide reach across Kerry and we want to continue to build on its success in 2021. But we can’t do this without you! We are inviting anyone who is interested in helping us achieve our goal, by hosting an event(s) during #KerryMHWFest, to register online as soon as possible.”
The organising committee is a collaboration between Connecting for Life Kerry, Healthy Kerry, Kerry County Council, the HSE, NEWKD, SKDP, Kerry Mental Health Association, Jigsaw Kerry, Munster Technological University/Kerry, and Kerry Volunteer Centre.
To register your interest to host an event for the 2021 Kerry Mental Health and Well-being Fest, visit www.healthykerry.ie before close of business on Friday, June 25.
For more information about registration, promotion, or the Fest in general, please contact the interagency steering group at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free and subsidised higher education courses for Kerry
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry. The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in […]
11 free and subsidised higher education places have been announced for Kerry under the Springboard+ 2021 and Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 1 initiatives. The courses, which open for applications today (Wednesday), will run at Munster Technological University Kerry.
The courses on offer include a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy Management & Practice, a Certificate in Retail Food Service Operations and a Postgraduate Diploma in Bioeconomy with Business.
Over 10,000 places are available across both programmes nationwide in 2021.
Springboard+ provides free courses for people who are unemployed, people who have taken time out of work or education to raise their families or care for loved ones, or people who want to upskill. Now in its 10th year, over 75,000 people have benefited from Springboard+ to date.
Courses under the HCI Pillar 1 programme are aimed at graduates and offer incentivised places for them to reskill in areas of skills shortage and emerging technologies. These are being run alongside, and complementary to, the Springboard+ offerings.
For those in employment, the Government will fund 90% of the cost of a Springboard+ or HCI Pillar 1 course. The programmes are managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.
Launching the programme, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, TD said, “As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will need to ensure that people have the skills they need”.
Candidates who wish to participate will find full details on the approved courses on www.springboardcourses.ie. Experienced guidance counsellors will be available to advise potential Springboard+ and HCI Pillar 1 participants on their options on the freephone Springboard+ helpline: 1800 303 523. The helpline is open from 9.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday.
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