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Explore all options outside of CAO




By Niamh Dwyer, Chairperson of the Kerry Branch of Guidance Counsellors

Naturally, students are really focused on finalising CAO course choices ahead of the July 1 deadline but it is important to explore all the other options available outside of this too.

Some of those options are now linked on the CAO website on but they don’t share the July 1 deadline, are not based on Leaving Cert points and provide a huge variety of education and training opportunities in multiple areas and sectors. Many now also provide progression routes onto higher levels of qualifications on completion.

Further Education and Training

Check out the options at Post Leaving Cert (PLC) level in Colleges of Further Education. With almost 2,000 courses available nationwide there is something for everyone. See individual FET Colleges for more details or Applications for these courses are accepted up to the autumn start dates but popular courses do fill up early so don’t delay with your application.

At local level check out the extensive range of courses available at Apprenticeships are another fantastic option. Details of the 65 apprenticeships currently available can be found on with several more under development. Openings in apprenticeships become available throughout the year. Traineeships are another great option for skills-based and employment-focused training and they also recruit throughout the year. See for more details and also the local Education and Training Board (ETB).

For students or adults who need a more supported journey in education and training, take a look at the wonderful opportunities offered through the National Learning Network nationwide on and at local level take a look at the very successful programmes running in their Tralee centre.

Study Abroad Options

It is also still possible to apply to study outside of Ireland. To check out opportunities to study through English in Europe, go to and For anyone interested in applying to universities in the UK, the UCAS Clearing system opens on July 5 on which always has lots of great courses open to new applicants.

So the key message to all students is to take another look at all options both within CAO and outside of it. The pathways after the Leaving Cert are many and varied and pave the way for a very bright future. Make sure to check them all out in plenty of time in order to be well positioned to move on the next and exciting part of the journey!

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 - See or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.



Black Valley broadband installation gets underway

Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry. The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland […]




Works are under way to install a high-speed fibre broadband network in the remote Black Valley area of Kerry.

The Black Valley was one of the last areas of Ireland to be electrified but broadband in the region is expected to be live in the second half of the year with residents already able to pre-order their connection. 
“It is well known that Black Valley was one of the last locations to get electricity due to its remoteness and challenging terrain, so we are extremely pleased to be commencing the rollout of our high-speed fibre network now with a view to connections being available later this year,” said National Broadband Ireland Deployment CEO, TJ Malone.
“We are determined to ensure the rollout is as fast as possible and connection is made easy for Black Valley residents, and we have a plan in place to work around the location’s all-important tourist season.

“Black Valley is a symbol of NBI’s mission that no area will be left behind no matter how rural or remote and we are delighted that this beautiful location moves one step closer to high-speed fibre today, with all the opportunities that will unlock for the local community.” 

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Players of the year don’t duck a challenge

They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh […]




They never duck when faced with a big challenge on the field so it was safe to assume that GAA players of the year David Clifford and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh weren’t going to shy away from the latest task on their home patch.

The two top footballers in the country teamed up to launch a charity duck race which will form part of this year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Killarney, where they both live.

When the working day was done, busy secondary school teachers David and Louise had some great quack and they got caught up in the spirit of the occasion along the scenic River Deenagh in Killarney National Park.

The reigning Player of the Year and Ladies Player of the Year award winner demonstrated their competitive streak when they expressed confidence that their own ducks will win The Deenagh Duck Dash on the same river at noon on Monday, March 18.

But, luckily, festival chairman Jason Clifford was there to keep the peace and he even threatened to cry fowl and brandish a card at the star players – with duck yellow deemed the most appropriate colour.

Considered by many to be the greatest players of all time in their respective codes, between them, Fossa hotshot David and Corca Dhuibhne star Louise have an incredible nine All-Star awards.

But they might be tempted to swap one if their duck wins the fun-filled race on the day after St Patrick’s Day.

All proceeds from the event will go to St Francis Special School in Beaufort, Killarney which provides specialist education for young people with learning disabilities.
Festival chairman Jason remarked: “This isn’t just a race – it’s great fun for the whole family.
“Picture the scene with a flotilla of vibrant rubber ducks racing down a winding river, their owners cheering them on and all in the name of a fantastic cause”.
Super prizes await the winners, the cost of a rubber duck to participate in the race is just €5 and they can be bought online at

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