From today, you can access information about further education and training (FET) courses and apprenticeships, as well as higher education options, on the CAO portal. This means that for the first time ever, you will be able to see all your third level options in one place.

According to Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, this is “a significant announcement for Senior Cycle students.”

Why? Because FET courses and apprenticeships have so much to offer - from a wide variety of courses to pique every interest, to highlighting skills gaps and sectoral opportunities in Ireland.

For some, FET is a new or different way to learn. For others, it is an alternative pathway into Higher Education. By having access to further education, higher education and apprenticeships all in one place, you can choose not only what you learn, but how you learn too.

PLC and Apprenticeships

From today, access to information on over 650 Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses will be included in the CAO portal. Amongst the details will be twelve course categories on which you can gain a level five or six qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Generally, PLC courses are one to two years in duration and, if you are interested, can also be stepping stones into Higher Education.

You can also explore opportunities available through apprenticeships. Applications are open all year round in a wide range of industries from international finance to healthcare to biopharma. Through an apprenticeship, you can gain an NFQ award at levels 5 to 9, not to mention the confidence that comes with hands-on experience in employment with a leading organisation in your chosen profession. Apprenticeships are typically between two and four years in duration.

With over 23,000 apprenticeships working for over 8000 employers in Ireland, and such a wide range of PLC courses to choose from, the opportunities with #FET are endless.

A step towards the future

This integration is just the first action taken to create balance in Irish third-level education. Simon Harris, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science said that this is “the first step in a number of steps to create a truly, integrated third-level system in Ireland.” The vision, he states is an education system that “leaves nobody behind, one that shows everybody their options and one that provides our country with the skills that we need now and for the future.”

This move means that #FET really is for everyone.

Find out more

If you would like more information the CAO system, you can visit the website, or call the dedicated freephone number, 1800 794 487, from midday to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

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