Leaving Certificate students will receive the first round of CAO offers this afternoon and while many will be heading off to higher level colleges across the country, a growing number will instead choose an alternative pathway, one which does not require CAO points, by availing of Further Education and Training (FET) options here on their doorstep.
Places are currently available in a number of locations across the county on twenty-three diverse FET options through the county’s largest FET provider, Donegal ETB.
These include eleven Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses in Killybegs, Letterkenny and Stranorlar in areas such as Animal Care (new for 2021), Art, Business Administration or Studies, Construction Technology, Early Childhood Care and Education (in all three locations), Health Service Skills, Nursing Studies and Sports, Recreation and Exercise.Graduates of Donegal ETB’s PLC courses have the highest progression route to third level out of all PLC providers in the country.
Alternatively, students may want to pursue a course that will enable them to be employment ready in a year from now. This can be achieved through one of the ETB’s eleven traineeships which combine directed off-the-job training in a classroom with on-the-job training in a host company.
Places are available in Beauty Therapy in Gaoth Dobhair, Engineering Operations and Intellectual Disability Studies with Special Needs both in Buncrana, Outdoor Activity Instructor in Gartan, and Digital Sales and Marketing, Business and Professional Administration, Hairdressing and Healthcare Support all in Letterkenny.
This year the ETB has developed an additional three exciting new traineeships in Communication System Installation and Network Planner (both in Letterkenny) in partnership with leading telecommunications company KN Circet to meet the growing demand for skilled staff in these industries. For those interested in the creative industries, Donegal ETB’s FET Service has developed the country’s first certified training course in weaving with its new Donegal Weaving traineeship due to start in Kilcar. This has been developed in partnership with many of the leading weaving companies in the county and aims to preserve this heritage craft.
Those who would like to gain a specific skill can apply for courses in basic welding and horticulture in Letterkenny or multimedia in Letterkenny and Buncrana.
Apprenticeships offer another alternative progression route. This ‘earn as you learn’ model has expanded considerably in recent years with over fifty apprenticeships currently available in sixteen areas from biopharma to construction, electrical to finance, ICT to recruitment and motor to logistics. Students can contact the ETB’s apprenticeship staff on 074 91 20500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
With the Department of Further and Higher Education set to revamp the CAO from this November, to provide for the inclusion of FET options alongside higher education options, there are a number of reasons for students to consider FET options including low or no course fees, small class sizes, a variety of learning areas, flexible learning for the changing jobs market, a range of national and international certification, provision of professional guidance and support, progression to employment and or degree courses in third level and earn while you learn options.
Information on all FET areas, including apprenticeships, can be found on Donegal ETB’s website in the FET Programmes Explained section (https://www.donegaletb.ie/further-education-training/fet-programmes-explained/) or in their FET Prospectus.
Updates are also available on the ETB’s social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn).
There’s no need to wait for offers from the CAO – students can apply online now for these FET options through the ETB’s website course finder (www.donegaletb.ie/fetcoursefinder).