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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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Kerry base confirmed for Rás Mumhan

By Sean Moriarty Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster. The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in […]




By Sean Moriarty

Preliminary details of the Rás Mumhan have been announced by Cycling Munster.

The four-day international cycle race will, once again, be based at the Riverisland Hotel in Castleisland and will run from Good Friday until Easter Monday.

The final route has not yet been revealed but it is expected to follow a similar path to the 2022 edition.

Last year, due to organisational difficulties, the Rás Mumhan committee asked local clubs to take charge of each day of the race.

Killarney Cycling Club hosted the Easter Saturday leg of the race, including managing the stage start in the town centre, the Category One mountain climb at Bealach Oisin Pass and the stage finish in Sneem.

“We are looking forward to seeing everyone at Easter and we wish all the riders the best of luck in their preparations for the event. Further details to follow as they are confirmed,” said Race Secretary Sinéad Moriarty.


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Showcasing Killarney to an influential audience

Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night. It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it […]




Kerry’s hospitality professionals turned out in style for the Skal President’s Dinner on Saturday night.

It’s the social highlight of the year for professional tourism and travel organisations and it was also a perfect opportunity to show the best of Killarney. Held in the Plaza Hotel, it was hosted by Kerry Skal President Michelle Rosney who used the occasion to highlight the best of Killarney’s performing arts talent, cuisine and locally produced drinks. There were special performances on the night by singers and dancers from St Brigid’s Presentation Secondary School and the West End House School of Arts who brought The Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, back to life for one night only to deliver a passionate dramatisation of a famous speech. Skal is the largest international hospitality networking organisation in the world with 13,000 members in 308 clubs in almost 90 countries. Fáilte Ireland Chairman Paul Carty said in his speech that the contribution Killarney has made to the Irish tourism industry should not be underestimated. He added that the tourism industry supports over 3,500 jobs in Killarney and over 7,000 in the rest of Kerry. He said the hard work put in by tourism professionals in Killarney over the years is paying off and when Fáilte Ireland surveyed hundreds of domestic and international tourists, at the height of the season last August, they couldn’t speak highly enough of their experience with 97 percent saying they were very satisfied. “The national figure is 90 percent so Killarney is actually seven percent higher than the national average and that’s truly exceptional,” he said. Over 55 percent of visitors to Killarney also spend time in other parts of Kerry and towns, like Dingle, Kenmare and Tralee, and really benefit from the spin-off.


The Fáilte Ireland chairman said his organisation is acutely aware what Killarney has faced in recent years and the challenges it currently faces and every support possible will be provided to help.

Mr Carty said Fáilte Ireland last year launched a destination experience and development plan for Killarney and that will see the town reach its full potential through sustainability and the development of year-round tourist attractions.

He said costs were also a big concern with energy bills, in particular, going through the roof and putting businesses under serious pressure.

Staffing was another serious problem for the industry as so much talent was lost during the pandemic.

“An awful lot of great people left our industry and they’re not coming back, so there is a great shortage,” he said, adding that Fáilte Ireland was working hard to overcome the difficulties being experienced.

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