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Huge variety of courses available for school leavers and adults




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

There are over 200 colleges of Further Education (FE) nationwide which provide approximately 70,000 places on a huge variety of courses for school leavers and adults.

This year for the first time ever a link to these courses is available on the CAO website so that applicants are made aware of the broad range of training and education options available outside of CAO courses.

In recent years about one in four Leaving Cert candidates has opted to do a Post Leaving Cert course (PLC). These courses which result in QQI FET/FETAC awards are generally one or two years in duration and are accredited at Level 5 and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. It is possible to use these standalone qualifications to go directly into the work place after completing the course but there is an ever-increasing number of students using them to progress onto Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) annually by applying to CAO as a QQI FET/FETAC applicant. A quota of college places each year are reserved for QQI applicants in universities and institutes of technology (HEIs) which students can apply for on a competitive basis. This allows students to progress onto and complete undergraduate degrees at Level 7 and 8.

In 2021, 13,125 applicants to CAO presented a QQI FET/FETAC qualification from Further Education colleges and centres. It is likely that many of these applicants did not secure their chosen CAO courses directly from Leaving Cert because of not having the required points or entry requirements. Taking the FE route is another chance to access places in third level and if you have completed the Leaving Cert Applied Programme (LCA) it allows you to progress into higher education which is not possible directly from LCA.

Good reasons to choose FE courses

Missing out on your chosen CAO course because of points is not the only reason to apply for FE courses. If you are a school leaver who is unsure about what you want to do, a PLC offers the opportunity to try an area of interest out and gain work experience before jumping into a three or four year degree. It also prepares you very well for progressing onto studying that subject area in more detail giving you a great foundation for further study. Second level education has been impacted hugely during the pandemic so you may feel that you are not ready for the move onto university or an institute of technology. FE colleges are similar in size to school so getting to grips with independent learning and living while developing confidence as well as key skills in communications, IT, referencing and research in that type of supportive environment makes the transition to third level easier. Figures show that the drop-out rates in higher education are lower among students who have completed a FE course first. Accommodation is also a huge problem for students so if you would like another year of living at home you will find lots of options within easy travelling distance.

Applying to colleges of Further Education

Applications are now open for autumn 2022 and entry is not based on Leaving Cert points. It is possible to apply throughout the summer, but it is advisable to apply early, as popular courses fill quickly. Begin by exploring the full list of options nationwide on You can also use the course search facility on and For the latest information on the QQI FET/FETAC links to higher education courses and entry requirements for CAO courses if you plan to progress into HEIs, check out the relevant section of

You can apply on or on individual college websites, where you will find the entry requirements for each course. To explore options locally see who are hosting an Open Week from March 22 to 24. Email for more information and to book your place.

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

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Marie was “lovely, unassuming lady”

By Sean Moriarty Tributes have been paid to Marie Murphy of Aughacureen, who died in tragic circumstances on November 30. Marie was a member of the well known Murphy business […]




By Sean Moriarty

Tributes have been paid to Marie Murphy of Aughacureen, who died in tragic circumstances on November 30.

Marie was a member of the well known Murphy business family in Killarney – her brother runs KWD Recycling and she was heavily involved in the business.

She was best known for involvement in the local GAA both as a county star and a member of Fossa GAA Club.

She was a third generation Kerry footballer, her grandfather Con and father John all played football for Kerry.

She was extremely proud of her niece Abbie, her brother Seán’s daughter, when she became the fourth generation Murphy to play for Kerry.

Marie played for Kerry in 1976 and re-joined Fossa GAA Club in 2010 when the ladies’ side of the club was re-formed.

She acted as a mentor for current group of ladies.

Back in 2019 when Fossa GAA Club published a book to mark its 50th anniversary she was one of the leading lights on that committee.

This year, when the club held its Night of Legends to raise funds for a new dressing room for the ladies’ club, Marie was one of the guests of honour at the INEC event and was interviewed on the stage in front of a capacity audience.

Only a few weeks ago she was one of the many club members who helped organise the Fossa Golf Classic and acted as official photographer for that event.

“The club is numb with sadness,” said Fossa GAA chairman Dermot Clifford. “She was a loyal member and very proud of the club. Our thoughts are with her family. A lovely, unassuming lady who will be sorely missed.”

Marie will be sadly missed by her brothers Con, Seamus and Seán, sisters-in-law Breda, Gennie and Anna, her nieces Shauna, Amy, Kate and Abigail, nephews John, Jack, Luke, aunties Mairead and Maura, cousins, relatives, neighbours and a large circle of friends.

She was laid to rest at Old Aghadoe Cemetery on Monday following Requiem Mass at The Prince of Peace Church, Fossa.

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Kerry Airport to get almost €1.5m funding

Kerry Airport is in line for nearly €1.5m in funding under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025. All five regional airports in the country will share a total of €21,100,051 released […]




Kerry Airport is in line for nearly €1.5m in funding under the Regional Airports Programme 2021-2025.

All five regional airports in the country will share a total of €21,100,051 released under the scheme.

Kerry Airport will get €1,434,355 to put towards vital safety operations like air traffic control, fire services and security.

The CEO of Kerry Airport, John Mulhern, welcomed the funding.

“We are grateful to Minister Naughton, the Department of Transport and Kerry’s two Government TDs, Minister Norma Foley and Deputy Brendan Griffin for their continued support,” he said.

“The funding will help to ensure that Kerry Airport remains compliant with regulatory requirements in key areas, such as air traffic control, fire services and security.”

Funding this year for airports will total over €37 million building on the €161 million provided in unprecedented aviation supports during 2021.

“I welcome this funding which will deliver further vital financial supports to Kerry Airport with a particular focus on safety, security operations and air traffic control,” Minister Foley said.

“This funding reinforces the importance and value that Government places on the vital role of our regional airports and how connectivity directly supports tourism and enterprise in Kerry.”


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