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There are lots of options outside of CAO




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

The release of the Round 1 CAO Offers yesterday (Thursday) has meant that thousands of students are this weekend considering the college places they have been offered.

If you are not happy with your offer or not interested in going onto Higher Education, you have lots of options which are not based on CAO points. There have never been so many ways for students to realise their potential on leaving secondary school.

Further Education and Training

The Further Education and Training (FET) sector provides a variety of options across multiple career sectors through what are more commonly known as Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses as well as apprenticeships and traineeships.

Post Leaving Certificate Courses

Colleges of Further Education (FE) are still accepting applications for courses in a huge variety of subject areas including business, ICT, social care, childcare, law, beauty therapy, art and design, applied science, healthcare, law, engineering, multimedia, sport and much more. These courses provide students with QQI FET/FETAC qualifications which allow them to progress onto colleges and universities here in Ireland, the UK and Europe. The €200 fee to apply for PLCs was abolished in Budget 2022. To check out the full range of PLC courses available and to apply, check out For those who are interested in progression routes onto Higher Education in Ireland, take a look at QQI-FET Applicant section of


Apprenticeships are ideally suited to individuals who want to learn practical and technical skills and who prefer learning-by-doing and on-the-job training. Apprentices are also paid while training, so they are earning while learning. There are currently 66 apprenticeships available, with 17 more in development. They span across a huge variety of sectors including construction, arboriculture, electrical, biopharma, ICT, finance, insurance, logistics & supply chain, sales, agriculture, hairdressing, engineering, hospitality, healthcare, mechanics, auctioneering and recruitment. Apprentices are being recruited on an ongoing basis throughout the year across each sector. Typically apprenticeships run for between two to four years, depending on the type chosen. For further information on each apprenticeship and on current vacancies, check out and follow @apprenticeirl on social media.


Traineeships also provide workplace and skills based training across a variety of industries including business, health and social care, construction, engineering, transport and logistics, finance, hospitality, fashion and beauty, ICT and more. There are over 75 traineeships available nationally which start at various times during the year. More details can be found on and on

National Learning Network

The National Learning Network (NLN) offers specialist training and support services for students and adults who need extra support to progress in their education or into the workplace. Over 70 courses are available, delivered in 50 centres across the country, one based in Tralee, open to students from the age of 16 to 65 in areas such as business, catering, computers, horticulture, art and design, wellness, employability skills and much more. More information can be found on 

Direct Entry Courses

There are over 150 direct entry courses to various colleges across Ireland in a variety of areas of study and duration. These can be researched by using the Course Finder facility on 

Study outside of Ireland

There are still opportunities to apply for colleges in the UK and Europe. The UCAS Clearing system is open until October 18 which allows students to apply for vacant college places in the UK. See for details. Applications are still open for some colleges and universities in Europe, where entry requirements are often lower than similar options here in Ireland. See and for more details.

Repeating or taking a gap year

Deciding to repeat the Leaving Cert can be a difficult decision but for those who feel they can do better second time around it is well worth considering as a lot of the course content is already covered so it can make it easier to manage time and study a little better second time around, thus performing better in exams. Taking a year out is also worth considering to learn a new skill such as how to drive, earning some money, travelling, volunteering, getting some work experience, completing a short course and taking some more time to reflect in what pathway they are interested in taking at this point.

The National Parents Council Post Primary helpline 1800 265 165, will be open from 2pm to 8pm until September 14, where qualified guidance counsellors are on hand to answer queries from students, parents and guardians. There is also lots of helpful information on and

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 Careers Advisor. For details see or follow @mycareerplan on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

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Maine Valley Golf Club raises €13,050



Maine Valley Members Golf Club hosted a Comfort for Chemo Golf Fundraiser in memory of Kathy Scannell. The fundraiser was a great success raising €13,050. Clonkeen Forestry Services sponsored the event, and a cheque  was presented to Mary Fitzgerald, Paul McCarthy and Mary Horgan on behalf of Comfort for Chemo.

Maine Valley Members Golf Club and Clonkeen Forestry services would like to thank all those who sponsored T-boxes, golf teams, and those who purchased tickets for the event. They would also like to thank Tom Barry from Killarney Printing for all the print works.


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Dóchas Drama Group’s series of short plays  is go!

The Dóchas Drama Group will run a series of short plays at the Muckross Schoolhouse from December 5 to 7. The group’s annual performance has been switched to the Muckross […]




The Dóchas Drama Group will run a series of short plays at the Muckross Schoolhouse from December 5 to 7.

The group’s annual performance has been switched to the Muckross venue as its traditional base – the ballroom in the Killarney Avenue Hotel is being refurbished.

“If you are fed up with the incessant rain and constant bad news. Do you need a break? Are tired of listening to advice about your Christmas cake recipe? There is a perfect solution,” said the group’s Liz Ryan.

“We will present six short plays and some of the questions you may ask yourself are: 

“Why is Jane suddenly so honest?

“What did happen on December 9. Will Tiffany be promoted? Will Mags eventually find love?

“Can lost love be re-kindled? What do grandparents get up to when they’re babysitting?

For answers to these questions and more, come along to Muckross Schoolhouse on December 5, 6 and 7.”


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