Sunday 18 February 2018

Some more accessible courses offer qualifications comparable to the CAO

There are a large variety of direct-entry courses to college
There are a large variety of direct-entry courses to college

Most students set their sights on the CAO when thinking about going to college, but there is a large variety of direct-entry courses available. Many of these courses are currently accepting applications and some will continue to do so until September.

Such courses offer qualifications comparable to the CAO but with far more accessible entry requirements. There are currently 119 direct-entry courses on the website, and in a wide variety of disciplines including acting, design, business and university access courses.


The Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) offers a variety of courses at all levels in a number of locations around the country and all qualifications are globally recognised. Students may study on a full or part-time basis and cover both financial management and accounting skills. Theses qualifications can lead to membership of the ACCA once all exams are completed, while three years experience has also been gained. Applicants can apply online at

Lidl/DBS Degree in Retail Management

For school-leavers who are torn between the option of achieving that all important degree, or moving more towards the world of work, the Lidl/DBS degree programme offers the chance to do both. Work experience is now recognised as a very important aspect of nearly all degree courses. Most colleges either provide work experience as part of their courses or recommend that students find internship opportunities.

The Lidl DBS course has a 50/50 split between classroom and on the job training, much more than any other business degree programme. Students will alternate between classroom tuition and work experience, spending approximately four months in each situation before changing. Students are paid a salary during both tuition time and holidays and can also avail of healthcare. On completion, students will receive a Level 7 degree in retail management from Dublin Business School (DBS).

Applications close May 31 and those interested should apply at

Dental Hygiene/Dental Nursing UCC

Dental hygiene is also offered in Trinity College Dublin and dental nursing is offered at a number of institutions through the CAO. However, UCC's offering is direct entry. Applicants must achieve the matriculation requirements, however as these courses are not on the CAO students will not compete on points, which may make them more appealing. While currently closed to applications, they are likely to recruit again next spring.

*Aoife Walsh is a guidance counsellor at Malahide Community School, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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