College/Further Education/PLC

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College/Further Education/PLC

RCS Guidance Department

Links to useful Web Sites & Information

Dear Student/Parents/Guardians

You are about to make some very important decisions regarding your college applications and your career path into third level/further education or the world of work.   In order to make informed decisions and make correct choices about your future career path. It is important to research your choices and gather information regarding various courses as early as possible in 5th and 6th year.

Some advice for students

  • Attend Careers classes in school

  • Individual appointments with Guidance Counsellor

  • Complete DATs/Multiple Intelligences Tests/Career Interest Inventories

  • Complete Interest Assessment -  to see what types of careers may suit your interests

  • Work shadow someone in that line of work /career during TY and 5th Year

  • Complete research on the following web sites



o   Check college prospectuses and college websites

o   Complete some work  experience in chosen career choice


  • Talk to students who have been, or are presently, studying courses/degrees which interest you. This is an invaluable source of information and insight into what an actual course comprises of.

  • Choose a course with subjects which you enjoy doing in school and excel at.

  • If you like a subject, you are more likely to do well in it and enjoy it at college.

In considering any course -  ensure the following

1.   Check you have the minimum entry requirements

2.   Specific subject required – Lab science/Hons Maths/Hons Irish

3.   Do you require a  third language?

4.   Check subjects/modules taught in course - are these subjects which interest you?

5.   Check duration of course

6.   Check course level on NQF

7.   Make sure to include level 6/7 and level 8 on your CAO form

8.   Do you require an entrance test - Music or ART  Portfolio - for entry as part of CAO application

9.   Fees – Private college charge fees approx. €5000/€7000 which are included in CAO handbook

10.  Student contribution fee 2015/2016 €3,000 – this is not applicable if student is entitled to SUSI Grant as paid by HEI


CAO - Central Application Office

The Central Applications Office processes applications for undergraduate courses in Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Decisions on admissions to undergraduate courses are made by the HEIs who instruct CAO to make offers to successful candidates.

Central Applications Office - information regarding CAO

Timetable of Events - Central Applications Office - Important dates for application process

Student Resources - Central Applications Office - Demo Application

CAO Video Guides - Central Applications Office

UCAS Application Process

The CAO: A guide for parents and guardians - Central …


CAO Points Calculator - - use this tool to calculate your best 6 LC subjects

National Framework of Qualification Fan Diagram

10 Level Framework

National Framework of Qualifications



Duration of study

Institute Type

Additional information

Level 3

Junior Cert

3 Yrs.

Second level school

Level 5

Leaving Cert

5 Yrs.

Second level school

Level 6

Higher Certificate

2 Yrs.

Institute of Technology

Level 7

Ordinary Degree

3 Yrs.

Institute of Technology

Level 8

Honours Degree

3 – 4 Yrs.

Institute of Technology

& University

Universities only deliver Hons degree level 8 courses

You must obtain a Hons degree in order to teach primary or secondary school education

Level 9


1 – 2 Yrs.

Institute of Technology

& University

Level 10


4- 7 yrs


Welcome to Qualifax

Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database. It is the "one stop shop" for learners. We provide the most comprehensive information on further and higher education and training courses. Qualifax has developed services to ensure that you have all the information you need to make informed choices about your education, training and career paths.

QualifaX National Learners database


Welcome to CareersPortal

CareersPortal provides all the tools you need to help you find and develop your career. We believe you deserve the best, and encourage you to spend time discovering what makes you different and unique, so you can build your own future.We have sorted our information so that it is relevant to your current needs - so choose whether you are doing the Junior Cert, in Transition Year, or in one of the Leaving Certs from the buttons above to start with

Career Portal


Welcome to Go College

Thousands of courses available from Ireland's largest database of Courses.


Welcome to College Awareness

College Awareness Week 2015

New points grading system for Ireland sitting Leaving Certificate examination from 2017 onwards

In April 2015, Minister Jan O’Sullivan announced a new grading scheme for the Leaving Certificate from 2017 as part of an overall package of reforms designed to support students in the transition from second-level to higher education. The new grading scheme will apply to students commencing the Senior Cycle in September 2015 and sitting the Leaving Certificate examination from 2017 onwards.

New CAO Points Scale is HERE - - 2017 onwards



The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK-based charity whose main role is providing the application process for almost all British universities.

UCAS - The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - UK Applicable System

UCAS Tariff Points in UK

UCAS and CAO Points - Qualifax

New Tariff tables - UCAS -  2017

Filling In Your UCAS Application | UCAS | Apply To Uni …

Writing a personal statement - UCAS


Post Leaving Certificate Courses in Ireland

If you have finished your secondary education and would like to develop vocational and technological skills in order to get a job or to go into further education and training, the Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course may be the one you are looking for. The PLC is often seen just as a course for school-leavers. In fact, you will be also welcomed as an adult participant.

A participant contribution of €200 per year (pdf) is charged for PLC students. There are some exemptions to this contribution - see 'Rates' below.

PLC courses take place in schools, colleges and community education centres. The courses are full-time and last for one to two years. They offer a mixture of practical work, academic work and work experience. They are designed as a step towards skilled employment and, as such, they are closely linked to industry and its needs. Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Almost half of the time spent on these courses is devoted to knowledge and skill training related to employment, with a further quarter spent on relevant work-based experience.

Most PLC courses are delivered by Education and Training Boards (ETBs). A wide range of disciplines are covered including business, electronics engineering, computing, catering, sport and leisure, theatre and stage, performance art, art craft and design, equestrian studies, multi-media studies, journalism, tourism, marketing, childcare and community care, hairdressing and beauty care, applied science, horticulture etc. See 'How to apply' below for a link to Qualifax, the national learners' database, where you can search for PLC courses.

The qualification you receive at the end of your training will depend on the type of course you have chosen. Many of the 1-year PLC courses offer Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accreditation at level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications, while other more advanced courses may offer QQI level 6, which can lead to further studies at third level. Other qualifications such as City and Guilds are also available. It is important to check out the qualification attached to a particular course before you decide to enrol.

Changes to Vocational Educational Committees (VECs)

Since 1 July 2013, Education and Training Boards (ETBs) replaced Vocational Educational Committees (VECs). All services provided by VECs will continue to be provided by ETBs.

PLC - Post Leaving Certificate Courses - Qualifax

Errigal College, Windyhall, Letterkenny

Ballinode College | Community college ..

Monaghan Institute

Cavan Institute

GTI home - Galway

A-Z of Colleges of Further Education -

Colleges in Ireland - Colleges of Further Education in Ireland

North West Regional College : Derry~Londonderry … - Further Education Derry

CAFRE | Home - CAFRE - Further Education Enniskillen



SOLAS is the new Further Education and Training Authority in Ireland. It is responsible for funding, planning and coordinating training and further education programmes.

SOLAS (An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna) was formally established on 27th October 2013 by Ruairí Quinn T.D., the Minister for Education and Skills.

‘SOLAS will be tasked with ensuring the provision of 21st century high quality Further Education and Training programmes which are responsive to the needs of learners and the requirements of a changed and changing economy.’

SOLAS Welcomes the Expansion of Apprenticeship

SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, warmly welcomes the announcement of proposals for 25 new categories of apprenticeship today (Thursday) by Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD and Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD.

SOLAS CEO, Paul O’Toole, said: “It is very positive to see so much interest in expanding the Apprenticeship programme into new industries and occupations. Apprenticeship is a very valuable career option for young people with real employment prospects at the end of the intensive on and off-the-job training. Working with the Apprenticeship Council, the Department of Education and Skills, our partners the HEA and each of the consortia, we look forward to playing our part in bringing the new apprenticeships to fruition.”

SOLAS is working with the Further Education and Training sector to ensure the provision of 21st century high quality Further Education and Training programmes which are responsive to the needs of learners and the requirements of a changed and changing economy.

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Co. Donegal

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