There are a number of options open to school leavers including studying for a QQI level five or six award at a local FE college or starting an apprenticeship, which mixes working in employment along with study. These routes from school into adult life provide many options for tens of thousands ofyoung learners annually, allowing them to develop their abilities and skills in a way that is best suited to them.
PLC programmes are full-time programmes for young people who have completed their Leaving Certificate. PLC courses are generally at QQI Level 5 or 6 with courses commencing in September and finishing the following May. All courses are one academic year in duration.
Data provided by third-level institutions show far higher retention rates among FE graduates. In MSLETB, there are 8 PLC colleges offering courses in disciplines such as science, business and art. These courses can give young learners the chance to acquire the skills needed to navigate their way
successfully through a more formal degree programme in their area of interest at third level or directly to the workplace. Up to 20 per cent of places in the many of the highest CAO points score courses in the country are reserved for graduates of FE courses each year.
A maintenance grant scheme for which PLC students are able to apply is available. The maintenance scheme is means tested and grants are paid along the same lines as the current third level student support schemes. Grant information is available on www.susi.ie
You can check out the full range of PLC programmes available in MSLETB on www.fetchcourses.ie
An Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education or training centre. It is a dual system, which is a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the- job training which prepares the participant for a specific occupation, and leads to a qualification nationally recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications from Level 5 — Level 10. Apprentices earn while they learn and build valuable work-ready skills in a chosen occupation. Apprenticeships open up exciting and rewarding careers, with learning grounded in the practical experience of undertaking a real job.
Apprenticeships are available in the following sectors: Biopharma, Construction, Electrical, Engineering, Finance, Hospitality, ICT, Logistics, Motor and Property Services, with many more in development. Training Centres in Sligo and Ballina offer Phase 2 (off-the-job) training in Electrical, Electrical Instrumentation, Carpentry & Joinery, Craft Butchery, Sales, Commis Chef, Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitting, and much more.
For further information on apprenticeships please visit www.apprenticeship.ie or contact MSLETB at firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a mature student, flexibility around work and family commitments was always going to be essential for me. Thankfully, the course at Westport CFE filled both this requirement and my long-time desire to become a professional gardener. I was able to build confidence around my abilities. Previously I would have been unlikely to proactively approach potential employers but doing so has led to the securing of a role as assistant gardener at Westport House. Every day I am now one of those people who genuinely love their job!
Terri Metcalf Horticulture QQI Level 6
An apprenticeship is a great combination of practical and theory work and really different to school. I really enjoy the mix of being on the job and off the job
Chris Ross Electrical Apprentice
I really enjoy learning the traditional skills of the craft; breaking beef, lamb and pork. I enjoy getting to know the different cuts and preparing products for retail display and sale. It's an exciting journey, and I am fully supported along the way by my tutors, classmates and work colleagues
Edita Bilkova Craft Butchery Apprentice