Returning to education
CAO offers do not just apply to Leaving Certificate students. There are hundreds of adults nationwide returning to education as mature students in order to increase their job prospects during the current economic downturn.
Third-level education is becoming increasingly accessible to adults on both a full-time and a part-time basis. Third-level colleges reserve a small number of places specifically for mature students who want to participate in full-time day programmes. If you are over 23 you are eligible to apply for one of these places. Adults who choose to do a full-time course will be expected to attend classes or lectures every day and will be assessed in the same way as the other students in the course.
The full-time model might not suit everyone. Maybe you need to stay at home with the kids during the day or maybe you might need to maintain a part-time job in order to fund your studies. Not to worry, there are other options available, including part-time courses, modular programmes and distance learning. If you choose to study on a part-time modular basis, you can spread your studies over a number of years. This gives you the opportunity to organise your time and to study in bursts when it is most convenient for you.
University College Cork has a number of courses on offer that can be undertaken during evenings. Contact the Centre for Adult Continuing Education on 021-4902301 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Cork Institute of Technology operates one of the largest programmes of part-time study in Ireland. It provides approximately 150 courses leading to Higher Certificate, Bachelor Degree, Honours Bachelor Degree, Postgraduate, Professional and Trades qualifications. For further information contact Don Crowley on 021-4335900 or email email@example.com.
Cork College of Commerce, St John’s Central College and Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa are dedicated to providing relevant education opportunities for people entering and returning to the workforce as well as upskilling and retraining the existing workforce. Douglas Community School Adult & Community Education is committed to providing you with a wide range of quality adult courses. Co. Cork VEC Adult Educational Guidance Initiative (AEGI) is a Department of Education & Skills funded initiative. It provides quality educational guidance for adults attending or planning to attend adult education courses within Co. Cork VEC.
Generally, you will need to have completed your Leaving Certificate. However, if you are applying for a place as a mature student, you will not be asked to meet the usual entry requirements. Different courses operate different entry procedures, but, in general, the colleges will take into account your educational background, work history, community involvement and other achievements and interests. This system is known as the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL). It is useful to find out whether the college of your choice uses the APEL system before you apply. The Qualifax website has information about mature student entry requirements for full-time undergraduate courses.
The Springboard initiative in higher education offers free, part-time courses at certificate, degree and masters level. On May 21st 2012, the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn, along with Minister for Training and Skills Ciaran Cannon launched a new round of Springboard courses. 6,000 new part-time higher education places will be available for unemployed people as part of this further roll out of the Springboard initiative. 36 institutes of technology, universities and privately-run higher education colleges around the country will be offering 220 Springboard courses. Visit www.springboardcourses.ie for more information.