Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are rightly popular
Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses are a very popular route for school-leavers - and with good reason.
They are generally offered in further education colleges, which are located all over the country and which provide one-year courses at Level 5 in a range of areas, and two-year courses at Level 6. For applicants who have not received an offer from the CAO, this is a great option.
One of the great strengths of this route is that there is a further education college (usually under the umbrella of an Education and Training Board - the ETB) not too far away from everyone.
The courses not only provide students with qualifications that equip them to enter the world of work, but they can also be used to compete for CAO places in third-level colleges, through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS).
Many colleges offer courses specifically designed to allow students to build skills and knowledge to prepare them for Level 8 (honours degree) courses in universities and institutes of technology. These include pre-science, computer science, pre-nursing and liberal arts. There are currently approximately 700 courses on the CAO that will consider any further education courses for entry.
Colleges have been holding interviews and offering places since January so many of the courses are now full or have waiting lists. However there are likely to still be places available in a number of courses in each college and they will be holding interviews in the coming days and weeks.
Students interested in this pathway should contact a local college and find out which courses are still accepting applicants and when interviews will be held.
Among the colleges countrywide well known for its PLC offering is Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa (CSN), Cork, one of the biggest in Munster, which has received a record number of applications for the forthcoming year.
CSN principal Vivienne MacSweeney, said there had been a "steady growth over the past number of years and we have accepted more than 500 student applications already this year".
The college has more than 50 courses in areas such as art, music, business, furniture & construction technology, humanities, information technology, performing arts, science & horticulture and sports, and is an example of the breadth of choice available at this level.