Far beyond CAO points, a world of possibility awaits anyone looking to take the next step in their education.
School & the Gang
It’s that time of year again, when school leavers across the country will dutifully line up to receive their CAO results. For some, it will represent the fulfilment of a dream; others may experience disappointment; others still may feel they are still searching for the right path in life. A record 76,000 people have applied through the CAO, and most are likely to be biting their nails up until those all important points are revealed.
One thing, however, is for sure; those results never mean the end. Across the country, more and more new and exciting paths are opening up, offering everyone – school leavers, those returning to education, those looking to upskill and advance their careers, and even those looking to expand their horizons and forge a fresh path – with opportunities the likes of which Ireland has never seen before. In countries across the EU – and Germany in particular – it’s been well recognised how the apprenticeship model is performing a valuable role in arming young people with the skills needed in the modern world. Trade schools are utilised within the Scandinavian system, proving valuable contributors to the economy are not just the product of a classroom. The burgeoning area of information and communications technology (ICT) is crying out for workers with specific skills that are frequently taught outside of degree courses. And recent research has suggested that more than 50% of our economy is, and will be, dependent on mid-level knowledge and skills; the fanciful notion we all need to become Phd candidates couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most inspiring and creative avenues to be explored can arise from simple qualifications to provide a basis in an industry. Look, for instance, at Ireland’s growing reputation as a gourmet haven. From the producers of top-notch produce to the chefs and kitchen staff who are wading through awards and Michelin stars in dining rooms across the nation – as well as the artisanal cheesemongers, butchers, and organic farmers – opportunities are plentiful for those who fancy a foodie future. The same is true of Ireland’s fashion industry, where up-and-coming names like Richard Malone and Simone Rocha look set to join the likes of Philip Treacy and Paul Costello among the internationally-renowned style gurus to emerge from our isle. Film sets the world over ring with the accents of Irish hair stylists, costume designers and make-up artists – many of whom begin their journey to the top with courses right here at home. Regardless of your area of interest, there’s a rewarding and lucrative road to be taken. Parttime and full-time courses in a staggering array of areas mean that there truly is something for everyone. Whether you’re leaving school and taking your first steps in further education, those looking to switch careers, or looking to further your knowledge in a specific field, then there’s never been a better time. Read on, and check out some of the options waiting for you; your bright new future starts here.