- 09 Oct 20
It is a route to a successful career that is often overlooked in the race for a place in university – but, in a world in which career resilience is the new buzz term, Further Education and Training has become more important than ever. So, as you start to plan your next move, it makes sense to check out what FET has to offer.
Making ‘career decisions’ is a challenge anytime, never more so than now. There are really important issues attached to the education options that we are considering – whatever they might be. Far too often, people choose the wrong avenue and have to double back, or start all over again, when with a bit more reflection they might have found a really productive path…
The basic considerations include the type of course that one might choose (are you suited to it?); the level you want to go in at; the commitment of time and effort that will be required; and, inevitably, figuring out how you can pay for the course you end up choosing.
In Ireland, for a long time, there has been a major emphasis on ‘going to University’ as the goal of all post-primary education. But what about all those who don’t want university? Or who find the prospect of attending one of the big colleges too much of an imposition, or too big a leap, academically or socially?
A lot of very talented and capable people don’t want to spend three or four years in University. But they do want to develop their interests and skills, and to gain a qualification that leads to employment opportunities, or indeed to further studies. So, what is available in Irish education for those who don’t qualify for, or opt not to travel, the university road?
DEVELOPING CAREER RESILIENCE
This is where FET – that’s Further Education and Training – comes in. It is, in short, an alternative route to a very successful and rewarding career. But to make the most of what FET has to offer, you need to know how to navigate the system, and how best to take advantage of what it has to offer.
One of the biggest challenges that people face, in deciding a career path in 2020 is that – nationally and globally – everything keeps changing! Before the crash in 2007, architecture was booming. When the crash happened, building stopped. There were no jobs for architecture graduates.
Of course, it came back around eventually. But the nature of the modern world is that innovation and disaster, alike, go global very quickly. For example, with the arrival of Zoom and other virtual conferencing facilities, the traditional concept of the office is under threat. So how is that going to affect people’s careers in construction, property companies, estate agents? No one knows – but considerations like this are very relevant when it comes to making your next potential career move.
Similarly, post-Covid, the way that education had traditionally been run – with classrooms, lecture theatres and large-group delivery of educational content – has been upended.
All of these factors put a premium on the ability to be flexible. To a growing extent, the modern worker needs to build skill sets that are adaptable; to develop core competencies that are applicable in different scenarios; and, also, to develop networks, so that you can stay plugged-in to opportunities as they arise.
Among experts, globally, it is increasingly acknowledged that career instability is part of the new paradigm. It may not be a good thing, but there is no point in burying your head in the sand. As a result, there is more pressure than ever on people to ‘keep up’; and, as a corollary, also on how to develop what we call ‘career resilience’.
FRESHENING THINGS UP
Although this is unnerving and can be the cause of huge anxiety as people try to make the ‘right choice’, in terms of courses or careers, generally it is accepted that a way to think about your ‘career’ nowadays is to see it as something that is ‘constructed’ in stages.
It is about individual growth. It is about getting the ‘parts’ right. It is about being open to new learning.
In this regard, Further Education and Training provides options for every type of learner – from school leavers to adults who may want to ‘upskill’, ‘reskill’, or change their career direction.
It offers dedicated programmes for young adults. It also caters for more mature adults who may need to develop their learning and skills, or build their understanding of their own individual strengths – and the confidence which flows from that.
The range of options is wide. Is there a short course or a part-time day course that would allow you to build on existing skills and open up new opportunities? Might skills you have learned in the world of work allow you to skip straight through to a higher level?
What about a ‘pre-Apprenticeship’ course that might open up paid apprenticeship options? Might a Post-Leaving Certificate Course, to build to QQI level 6, work as a gateway to the third level course you missed out on?
What is important, whether you are a school leaver, a recent graduate looking for additional skills or a potential mature student interested in freshening things up career-wise, FET really does have fantastic potential. You need to look at what’s available. Think carefully. Plan well. And then, as the fella said, go for it!
THE IMPORTANCE OF GUIDANCE
The ETB Adult Educational Guidance Services (ETB AEGS) are a really valuable source of impartial information and professional guidance counselling for people over 18 years of age; and for those over 16 who left school early and are wondering about education and training options.
ETB Adult Information and Guidance can help you to recognise who you ‘are’, identify your skills and understand how to maximise your talent and potential – also making really useful, practical information clear and working with you to support you in making informed educational, career and life choices .
The aim of these free services is to help you to make the right choices as you ‘build’ your career.
There are 37 regional ETB AEGS services, located all around Ireland, available to give up-to-date, reliable Information and properly qualified Guidance.
ETB Adult Guidance and information services are impartial and client-centered – offering a safe, confidential, free, locally networked space for individuals to learn about what is ‘possible’; give them an opportunity to reflect on challenges; provide guidance about how to manage funding and finances; help them to recognise skills and to access whatever support services, if any, might be of value.
Post Leaving Certificate Courses generally have Guidance Counsellors available ‘on site’. Adult guidance might involve one to one sessions, or working with groups. But the general principle in 2020 is that it pays to keep on learning, to move and ‘shift gear’ – to be flexible, but be ‘in control’ of your career by being well informed.
In this regard, Guidance in FET can be a vita support. For more information about the ETB Adult Guidance, go to: https://www.ncge.ie/ncge/aegi-contact-details
THE ROLE OF SOLAS
Following the release of the first round CAO offers, students across Ireland are now considering their next best step. With a system that often favours straight to university, many students may not realise that there are several other pathways that can lead to the same career result. Further Education and Training (FET) offers one and two-year programmes offering awards at NFQ Levels 5 and 6 in a wide variety of subjects, including Multimedia Web Development and ICT, Sport, Anatomy and Nutrition, Art and Design, pre-university Science, among many others. Applied learning courses means that students apply classroom theory to real life situations, meaning that upon completion, students are ready for the world of work, or prepared for further learning.
Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are just one of many other options available to recent school-leavers that can give students a great foundation for continuing in higher education or progressing directly to their chosen career. Many universities, colleges and Institutes of Technology have programmes in place to recognise further education and training qualifications as a route to entry. PLC courses are not accessed via the CAO; instead, interested students can apply directly to the colleges or through www.fetchcourses.ie.
In addition to PLC options, the range of apprenticeships in Ireland has expanded greatly in recent years. The “earn as you learn” model is becoming ever more popular with school leavers who want to fast-track their careers but still earn a qualification. Apprenticeships are now available in a wide variety of areas, including international financial services, recruitment, auctioneering, engineering, hospitality and insurance practice, with even more set to be announced within the coming months. In terms of qualifications, apprenticeships can take you from Leaving Certificate as far as you want to go, in some cases, all the way to NFQ Levels 9 and 10, the equivalent of a Masters and Doctoral degree. Whatever your chosen path, Further Education and Training can take you there. For more information visit www.thisisfet.ie and www.fetchcourses.ie, and follow us on social media #thisisFET.
Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Long-hailed as a leader in the delivery of music courses in Ireland, Ballyfermot College of Further Education is celebrating its 40th anniversary by rising defiantly to the challenges of Covid-19.
In 1990, Ballyfermot College of Further Education (BCFE) made history with the launch of one of Europe’s first practical education programmes specifically designed for creative musicians and songwriters. The course, widely known as the Rock School, has since welcomed a wealth of dazzlingly diverse and talented artists – including Lisa O’Neill, Wallis Bird and Junior Brother, to name just a few.
The Rock School is a two-year Higher National Diploma course in Contemporary Music Performance, aimed at students who aspire to become professional musicians, and who want to learn about the music industry. Classes are led by an experienced teaching staff with long-standing and established links to local and international music scenes – offering students the opportunity for hands-on interaction with working professionals daily. Small class sizes also mean that artists get the attention they deserve, allowing them to flourish in a creative and collaborative environment.
First Years at the Rock School explore performance, instrumental technique, songwriting, music theory, the music industry, marketing, production, and more; the second year expands into developing as an artist, advanced performance skills, creative portfolio, advanced music production, live arrangement skills and a creative research project.
The wider Music Department at BCFE also features a High National Diploma course in Irish Traditional Music Performance and Music Production, as well as a QQI Level 5 course in Sound Engineering or Performance.
Crucially, the Music Department at Ballyfermot views the music industry from a contemporary standpoint – supporting musicians in developing a wide range of the practical skills necessary in today’s competitive market. With top-class industry-standard studios and resources, BCFE offers the modern musician and producer the ability to develop their craft on the tools used by professionals.
“Although our industry is suffering badly at the moment, we are all pulling together and uniting to offer both moral support and expert advice,” says renowned Irish musician and BCFE tutor Pete Holidai. “At BCFE we see this as an opportunity to educate and upskill those who wish to enter a music career when we return to a vibrant and thriving Irish music industry.”
As the 2020/21 academic year kicks off across three COVID-compliant buildings, prepared for social distancing under HSE guidelines, BCFE has adapted to meet the current challenges head on. With a national reputation for innovation and creativity, the college is uniquely positioned to provide an optimum blended learning experience.
Apply at www.bcfe.ie / Tel: +353 1 626 9421
Dundrum College of
14 Main St, Dundrum, Dublin 14
Tel: (01) 298 5412 / cfedundrum.com
Dundrum College of Further Education has helped people from all walks of life to discover, plan and achieve their goals – and continues to provide a safe future for students amid Covid-19.
The college caters for a range of learners, from school-leavers, to people who are reskilling – including those who are recently unemployed due to Covid-19. Dundrum CFE’s cutting edge approach and technology-rich environment offers great flexibility and provides a safe learning environment, during the Covid-19 reopening of small class sizes with blended online learning.
The mix of skill-based courses and vocational courses, as well as progression-to-university programmes provides a range of learning opportunities. On offer is a mix of core and elective modules in QQI accredited awards, such as business, computer science, gardening, nursing, psychology, childcare, art, humanities and more. Courses progress to a range of other Higher Education institutes through links and memorandums of understanding such as with IADT, TUD, DCU and UCD.
BRAY INSTITUTE OF FURTHER EDUCATION
Novara Ave., Bray, Co. Wicklow
Tel: (01) 282 9668 / bife.ie
BIFE’s groundbreaking DJ Techniques & Music Production course is the first of its kind in Ireland – covering DJ performance techniques, music production techniques, marketing and promotion in the music industry. The one-year diploma programme also benefits from the contribution of tutors who are hugely respected in their field, including influential Irish DJs Neil Sharpe (Sunil Sharpe) and Matthew Flanagan (DeFeKT).
BIFE also offers Higher National Diploma programmes in Music Production and Music Performance, and a National Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering. Their newly renovated studios feature high-end technology, including Technics, Pioneer, Pro-Tools, Ableton and Serato, as well as a state-of-the-art analogue mixing desk.
For a full list of courses, check the Further Education and Training Course Hub at fetchcourses.ie.