Not every Leaving Cert student wants to move to third-level education after leaving school. Unfortunately, over the last number of years there have been fewer opportunities for young people to find an alternative to the CAO and post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) systems and, in many instances, competition for places has increased as a result. Although the number of non-CAO/PLC options available has not returned to pre-2008 levels, opportunities are increasing. Here are some such opportunities available for application right now.
The ESB has continued to recruit apprentices. Each year it recruits in March and hires approximately 50 apprentice electricians. As they progress through their training a number will be given the opportunity to train as electrical engineers. There are few apprentice opportunities available for young people at the moment, so this is an excellent and secure opportunity. Applications should be made online to ESB Network careers section by March 27, for commencement in September.
Applications are now open to join the Naval Service. Recruits must be 18 to 27 and applications can be made at military.ie. The deadline is March 27. Training is 18 weeks and allows recruits to progress to specialised training in any of the service's four branches: communications, mechanics, supplies or seaman's. No formal qualifications are required. Applicants should apply online and will undergo a fitness test, interview and medical exam.
The Racing Academy and Centre of Education (RACE), based in Co Kildare, offers training for careers in the equestrian industry. Courses include jockey and trainer, stable-hand and management as well as farrier training. The trainee jockey course is a 42-week residential programme and allows graduates to become apprentice jockeys. It is recognised by QQI as a Level 4 award. The assistant trainer course will allow graduates to obtain an assistant trainer's licence and progress towards a full trainer's licence. Graduates will also receive a FETAC Level 5 award.
RACE holds a number of open days each year the first of which will take place on March 31 from 2pm.
Teagasc offers a range of courses to school-leavers and mature students in the area of horticulture, equine, agriculture, food and forestry. Courses are available all over the country in agricultural colleges as well as other centres. Courses are available at a variety of different levels. Many of the courses qualify graduates to take advantage of the stamp-duty exemption for young trained farmers. Those interested in a career in these industries can find more information on teagasc.ie where they can also download application forms. Admission is based on an entrance exam which is normally sat in May.
Other institutions and organisations may recruit from time to time. Already this year we have seen Nissan and Eircom recruit apprentices and the recruitment of aircraft technicians by the Air Corps. Last year, the military also recruited apprentices for the first time in a number of years and Iarnrod Eireann recruited apprentice diesel mechanics for the first time in 20 years. To keep abreast of such opportunities, it would be helpful to monitor the website of such organisations on careersportal.ie.