Choosing a Course – Potential Options (not an exhaustive list!)

Following on from our last article where we looked at things to consider before taking on a course or training programme, here we cover some of the available options if you are considering taking on a course.

There are a huge variety of education providers across the country and with the huge strides in online learning, geography is no longer a limit for engaging in education and you may be able to consider a course pretty much anywhere in the world. In addition to the primarily government funded options covered here, there are an unlimited number of private and specialised providers out there that you could investigate.

Further Education & Training options:

Further Education and Training (FET) includes Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, employee training and apprenticeships through full time, part time, online and blended learning options. These are provided through the Education and Training Boards, through other local providers and online through the SOLAS eCollege.

PLC Courses:

PLC courses include elements of practical and academic study alongside work experience and are usually 1-year full time, typically starting in September each year. Subject areas include: Business, ICT, Child and Healthcare, Media and Visual Arts and Science amongst others.

Qualification can lead directly to employment or can be used to apply to higher (3rd level) education through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS). There are currently over 1,800 linked PLC courses throughout the country, across a diverse range of study areas. 

Skills for Employees:

There are also a number of programmes for those in employment wishing to retrain or learn new skills including:

  • Skills to Compete – reskilling and retraining opportunities for people who may have lost their jobs or people seeking to upskill, focus on improving employability
  • Skills to Advance – provides opportunities for employees in jobs undergoing change or those currently employed in vulnerable sectors. 
  • Skills for Work – supporting employees to deal with skill demands in the workplace and includes a variety of subjects.

Apprenticeship options

Apprentices ‘earn while they learn’ – having an employment contract and a salary for the duration of their training. Though traditionally considered as craft or trade careers, there are now 56 different types of apprenticeship available across 13 different industry sectors including finance, and biopharma and logistics. There is no upper age limit on becoming an apprentice.


eCollege is an online training platform, providing interactive learning courses, available any time, for those who wish to learn at their own pace. All courses are temporarily being made available free to those impacted by COVID-19 public health measures.

Subject areas include: business, project management, information technology, graphic design, web design, software development and basic computer literacy

Higher (3rd) Level Education:

In addition to Universities and Institution of Technology across the country offering full and part-time options, there are a number of schemes where subsidised training courses are offered at third level.


The Springboard+ initiative offers free and subsidised courses at certificate, degree and masters level leading to qualifications in areas where there are employment opportunities in the economy. The next intake will be in May, when there will be over 11,000 courses at certificate, degree and post-graduate level. The majority of courses are part-time for a maximum of 12 months and are open to all applicants; Employed, Unemployed, and Returners who meet the eligibility criteria at the time of course commencement.

Modular and Postgraduate Courses: 

An additional 14,000 postgraduate and modular courses were announced last July under the Stimulus HE Initiative. Log on to see what’s available and the list includes a point of contact for each available course.

So, what next?

This is just a snapshot of some available options and are definitely not an exhaustive list. If you need to discuss your educational options, there is an Information and Guidance Service in each of the Education and Training Boards across the country and College Admissions Officers and faculty staff are always willing to answer any queries you might have. 

However, if you are unsure about what your next steps should be – maybe you feel you have gone as far as you can in your current role and are looking for a new challenge or are wondering what other roles and industries you may be able to consider, Hilt provides a comprehensive Career Coaching Programme to help you develop strategies to identify and support your career aims and aspirations. 

Click to find out more about our Career Coaching Programme or CV and Interview 101 to order a copy of our book, CV and Interview 101 – How to apply and Interview for Jobs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *