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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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Camera Club ready to celebrate its 21st anniversary

Killarney Camera Club is ready for the new season and as well as celebrating their 21st birthday – they’re also looking for new members. Next Thursday night they will be […]




Killarney Camera Club is ready for the new season and as well as celebrating their 21st birthday – they’re also looking for new members.

Next Thursday night they will be holding an Open Night at 7.30pm in the Plaza Suite at The Brehon Hotel.

The club meets every other Thursday at 7.30pm and is open to everyone with an interest in photography, including a junior membership category for 16 to 17-year-olds.

“Whether you’re a complete beginner, or you already know your way around a camera, everyone is welcome,” Deirdre Donohue from the club said.

The club activities include speaker nights, outings, project nights and competitions. At part of the club’s 21st celebrations they will be mounting an exhibition at Killarney House in late October.

“As well as a warm welcome, including tea and biscuits, the Open Night will feature a presentation, by professional photographer Micheál O’Sullivan, of his wonderful landscapes, so come along for a lovely evening of chat and photography!”

If you have any queries, you can contact the club secretary via email at

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Dancing classes set to unite communities

By Michelle Crean There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities. KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support […]




By Michelle Crean

There’s no language barrier when it comes to dancing – which is why one local group is organising classes to unite communities.

KASI, the Killarney Immigrant Support Centre, has teamed up with dance instructor John Moriarty to teach both Ukrainians and multiple cultures living in Kerry Irish set dancing steps from next week.

The first class will take place on Tuesday evenings, starting next week (September 27) at St Mary’s Parish Hall at 6.30pm and all are welcome to join.

The idea is to help Ukrainians living in Killarney and Kerry to come and have fun and get to know locals better, KASI coordinator, Marilyn Catapat-Counihan, explained to the Killarney Advertiser.

“We have a women’s group for all ages where we do crochet, sewing and art and crafts, where they can talk which is good. I had the music on and they were dancing. I asked if they would like to do dancing classes so I organised it with John Moriarty who is well known in Killarney.”

She added that the women are very excited to learn set dancing and get to know other people from the area.

“Sometimes when you meet new people the language can be a barrier and when you’re dancing everybody is moving. He will open it to everyone so there’ll be integration, it’s fun as well. They are all very excited.”

To find out more contact John on 086 1579381.

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