Castlefinn student Jamie McNamee is setting up new pathways for his future after completing a Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course this year with Donegal ETB’s Further Education and Training (FET) Service.
Jamie (aged 19) started college last October with his hopes set on a Food-related degree. He soon found the course wasn’t for him and decided to explore the world of business instead.
Jamie attended Finn Valley College for a one-year Business Administration course. Despite never studying Business at Junior or Leaving Cert level, he discovered a new interest and passion for the field. Now that he is more informed, he is applying for third-level business courses in the new college year.
PLC courses are designed as the ideal progression from Leaving Certificate for students who want an extra year to study a specific vocational area and for adults returning to education.
Jamie used this year to develop skills that are useful in any office or business setting.
“It’s a good insight into what it would be like to work in an office. You improve on your word processing, typing, bookkeeping, you learn about bills, how a business operates and how to manage your own business,” he told Donegal Daily.
“I really enjoyed getting the experience and trying something new that I’ve never done before.
“It’s definitely opened my eyes to a lot more things I can do now.”
PLC courses are offered in three of Donegal ETB’s post-primary schools, Finn Valley College in Stranorlar, Errigal College in Letterkenny and St Catherine’s Vocational School in Killybegs. Even though they are taught in a school setting, they follow a more college-themed learning style with a mix of practical work, academic work and work experience.
“I thought it would be the same as being in secondary school but it felt like you are in college and you are treated more like an adult. My course was 90% computer work. The responsibility is on you to get the work done,” Jamie said.
Jamie also gained the experience of doing regular assignments, which is a key stepping stone to good college learning.
PLCs are also closely linked to industry experience and students on the Business Administration go out to work placements one day a week.
Jamie worked in the office of a building company, where he soon found he had the skills he needed to apply to word processing, typing invoices and working on the office computer.
PLC teachers have switched to online education during Covid-19, which is something that Jamie says he enjoys as he focuses on finishing assignments over exams.
This newfound interest in business has led Jamie to add Business degrees to his CAO application for the year to come. With QQI Level 5 Awards, PLC students can add to points they scored for their Leaving Certificate to access Higher Education (CAO) courses. Jamie is hoping his PLC results give him an advantage in securing a place on a course.
Plus, Donegal ETB has a direct entry agreement with Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) to facilitate the progression of PLC students who have completed their awards for progression into many LYIT courses.
Students in the Leaving Cert class of 2020 have faced major disruption in their studies this year and PLC could be one option available to them as they plan to seek employment or progress to further study.
After his eye-opening year, Jamie is keen to recommend a PLC course to school leavers.
He said, “It gives you that year if you were unsure about what you want to do, it helps open up a lot of doors for you. It’s good if you’re that bit younger and afraid to leave home for college. It helps by giving you more qualifications.”
Donegal ETB offers PLC courses at QQI Level 5 in:
- Art, Craft & Design (5M1984)
- Building Technology (5M5010)
- Business Administration (5M2468)
- Business Studies (5M2102)
- Early Childhood Care & Education (5M2009)
- Health Service Skills (5M3782)
- Nursing Studies (5M4349)
- Sports, Recreation & Exercise (5M5146)
Courses are offered in three locations – Killybegs (St Catherine’s Vocational School), Letterkenny (Errigal College) and Stranorlar (Finn Valley College).
You can apply for a PLC anytime between January and September each year for starting in September. You can apply or online through www.fetchcourses.ie (use Donegal as your Location and PLC as your Keyword) or directly to school PLC centres.
Contact details for each PLC school coordinator is available on https://www.donegaletb.ie/feature/programmes/post-leaving-certificate-plc-programme/
For more information on each course, view Donegal ETB’s PLC brochure at: https://www.donegaletb.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PLC-Brochure-May-2020.pdfTags: