Earn while you learn with apprenticeships
This year's school-leavers have a host of new career avenues opening up to them, which will be particularly attractive to those who want to get straight into the workplace.
The improvement in the economy has brought a revival in traditional apprenticeships, in the construction and electrical trades, while there are also brand new offerings in "white collar" sectors, such as accountancy, insurance and technology.
The "earn and learn" approach of apprenticeships combines college-based learning with workplace training, leading to a ladder of qualifications, in some cases up to master's level.
In this new era, apprenticeship-style career routes may also be called traineeships and associate professional programmes.
They provide the perfect alternative to school-leavers (and mature students) who prefer a more hands-on approach to building a career, with the added bonus of being paid rather than handing over college fees.
Economic recovery has brought a steady increase in apprenticeship opportunities in trades such as plumbing and bricklaying, which are normally completed over four years. The Construction Industry Federation has a website: apprentices.ie.
Among the new options is an accountancy apprenticeship, which gets underway in September, with 100 places, to address the growing demand for qualified accounting technicians.
Apprentices will spend four days a week working with the employer and one day in college during the two-year course, and graduates can then continue their studies to become a fully qualified Chartered Accountant.
This year, the course will be delivered in Blackrock Further Education Institute, Rathmines College of Further Education, Bray Institute of Further Education, Monaghan Institute and Cork College of Commerce.
Accounting Technician Ireland (ATI) is holding an Open Day at Chartered Accountants House, 47-49 Pearse Street, Dublin 2, on Tuesday August 23 from 3pm.
The insurance industry is offering apprenticeships to 100 school-leavers, graduates and career changers this September.
Apprentices will complete the degree portion online through distance learning with IT Sligo and the industry's educational body, The Insurance Institute.
Minimum entry requirements include two honours in the Leaving Cert and a pass in four additional subjects including English/Irish and Maths.
Further details can be found on The Insurance Institute's website at iii.ie/apprenticeships.
A total of 220 places are being offered on a new pathway to technology careers.
It involves collaboration between FIT, an industry-led initiative to develop tech skills, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation and education and training boards (ETBs) and will focus on training recruits for software development and network engineering.
The two-year, FIT ICT Associate Professional programme will carry an award at Level 6 and will be available this year in Dublin, Louth, Kildare/Wicklow and Waterford/Wexford.
In Ireland, new openings requiring tech skills are set to grow to more 10,000 additional jobs per year in the coming years.
There is more information about apprenticeships on the website of the State training agency, Solas, at ETBs and on careersportal.ie