Francis O' Toole Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • March 2018
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2018 Applications to HEAR and DARE

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 22, 2018


CAO applicants wishing to be considered for HEAR or DARE have until 1st April to submit all their supporting documentation to CAO to complete their application to one or both of the access routes.

What is HEAR and DARE?

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third level alternative admissions scheme for school leavers whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their second level education. The Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) is an admissions scheme set up to support school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are resident in the Republic of Ireland. HEAR and DARE schemes offer places on reduced points and extra college support to students throughout their third level education.

2018 Applications to HEAR and DARE

According to CAO figures released earlier this month the number of students who applied for DARE entry this year increased whereas the figures for HEAR were down. Overall the applications for CAO are down by over 3,000. This is a 4.5% decrease on the numbers applying in 2017.

DARE figures have steadily increased since 2010, the rate of eligibility for DARE is up by over 200% on the numbers eligible 8 years ago. 2018 has continued the upward trend with DARE applications up by 2.9% on 2017, despite the decline in applications to CAO this year. Increased applications in recent years may be influenced by the addition of three new colleges engaging in the DARE scheme: Carlow IT, IADT and LIT. Overall 2018 has seen 6,571 students apply for DARE; that accounts for 9% of all CAO applications.

The story is somewhat different for HEAR. Like DARE, HEAR also experienced growth. During the same period as mentioned for DARE, 2010-16, the eligibility rate for HEAR increased by 100% but since 2014 the figures for HEAR appear to have reached a plateau. Two new colleges have entered the HEAR scheme in 2017, IADT and IT Sligo. Despite the increased pool for application, this year’s numbers for HEAR are down by a significant 8.9%

Number Applying for HEAR are Down by 8.9%

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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 22, 2018


  1. WIT Students Stories
  2. Technological Universities Act Signed
  3. DCU to go Plastic Free
  4. Arriving at a Sustainable Future
  5. DIT Mathematics Competency Test
  6. Applicant Information Event – Magee Campus
  7. Plunket CFE Information Day
  8. Extra Places on Teacher Training Courses
  9. Supported Transitions to Employment
  10. New Courses in Film Business
  11. 2019 HPAT Preparation Courses
  12. Training Programme In Family Therapy


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Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018

Undergraduates looking to secure employment upon graduation might be disappointed to discover that they lack a range of core skills high on employers’ agendas when recruiting. Some students opt for postgraduate studies to give them the edge on other interview candidates but further studies isn’t always the answer. Often employers are looking for skills that aren’t taught in college and need to be learnt and developed in the workplace.



Having the skills and knowledge demanded by the sector is no longer sufficient. Jobs are now cross-sectoral. With rapid advancements in IT and technology infiltrating all industries, new skills are demanded of employees. Although efforts have been made to develop and adapt many undergraduate programmes, many more courses do not prepare students for the requirements of the workplace.




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Going to College: Opportunities now to apply for apprenticeships

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018

During Leaving Cert year there is an understandable focus on college, CAO and post-Leaving Cert courses, but not everyone wants to start their career path with the CAO. These students can often feel overlooked.

Thankfully, there has been a massive increase in the number of apprenticeship options available in recent years. These programmes allow participants to study, work and earn all at the same time.

There are many ways of gaining an apprentice role, including private companies and public bodies. Apprenticeships are now available in non-traditional areas such as accounting, finance and insurance, with a logistics apprenticeship due shortly. However, some excellent opportunities in more traditional areas are currently open for application.

Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann

Over the last number of years, Bus Éireann, Dublin Bus and Iarnród Éireann have all recruited apprentices. While Iarnród Éireann has not yet announced a 2018 competition, both Dublin Bus and Bus Éireann are currently recruiting. Educational requirements are standard and applicants will be required to present at least a Junior Cert in maths, English, Irish, science and two other subjects. Applicants must apply online by March 24.


Today is the final day to apply for places on the highly sought-after ESB apprenticeship. Applicants will be trained as electrical apprentices and the deadline for applications is 11.59 p.m. today. Applicants must hold at least a Junior Cert with Irish, English, maths, science and two other subjects. However, as competition is likely to be high, a strong Leaving Cert may be helpful. The application takes about 60 minutes to complete and will time out if left inactive for too long. Applicants will then be asked to take an online aptitude test. More information on

Air Corps Technician


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EUNiCAS invite students interested in studying abroad to two information sessions scheduled to take place in April.

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018


EUNiCAS invite students interested in studying abroad to two information sessions scheduled to take place in April.

  • Dutch Gateways to Employment in Dublin (12th April) and Cork (11th April)
  • OMG I’m Going To Be A Doctor or a Vet (or a Dentist) – Dublin 19th April

Who are Eunicas?

EUNiCAS (European University Central Application Support Service) was established to facilitate the growing numbers of UK and Irish students who wish to study abroad in European Universities. EUNiCAS is a college application support service to help students to access information and apply to colleges in Europe. In its development phase, EUNiCAS has been supported by Enterprise Ireland, which is part of the Department of Enterprise & Employment in Ireland.

Dutch Gateways to Employment:

Meet Dutch Applied Universities in Dublin and Cork

  • 11th April Cork – Click here to register for this event
  • 12th April Dublin  – Click here to register for this event

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Maths course for Engineering

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018

Applicants to Engineering in Maynooth University and DIT require a H4 for matriculation and students applying to Business Analytics (DIT) require a H5. To assist students in achieving the required Maths grade both colleges offer students the chance to sit a Maths competency test before sitting the Leaving Cert. DIT also offer Maths tutorials to prepare for this test.  If students achieve the required result in the Maths test they will not be reliant upon achieving the H4/H5 Maths grade in Leaving Cert.

Tutorials and exams are free of charge so this is a great opportunity for prospective students to get ahead of themselves. If successful in the exam they will free themselves of the burden and uncertainty around the Leaving Cert Maths exam.

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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018

  1. Global Warming and Disease Proliferation
  2. Guide to CAO Choices
  3. Creative Coding for Maths Makers
  4. Advanced Entry to the second or subsequent year of an undergraduate degree
  5. IT Sligo Masters in Social Work
  6. New course in Creative Writing for Digital Media
  8. Counselling And Psychotherapy Training 
  9. Europass Europe
  10. Office Administration Course
  11. College of Sciences & Health Open Day


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Walking On Air

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 14, 2018



Out on sale now

  • A page turner book about resilience
  • Short stories and poems to support positive approaches to life
  • Personal stories to support authentic  reflection on life

“All profits from proceeds of the book to go to help the Peter McVerry trust, a charity working to reduce homelessness

Purchases Walking On Air

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CAO – 2018 – 4 Most popular courses

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 14, 2018


The Central Applications Office (CAO) has today released 2018 application data up to the Change of Course Choices closing date of 1st March. Latest CAO figures show what sectors applicants chose for their first preference. A total of 72,643 applications were received by CAO by the 1st February closing date, this was a decrease of 4.5% on 2017 applications. Mature student applications were also down by 1,168 – a 12% drop from 2017.

The upturn in the economy with more job vacancies and greater availability and uptake of apprenticeships may account for some of the decrease in college applications this year. Mature students may also have been drawn to the increased opportunities available through Springboard+.  However, the number of applications may still increase as the late application process will be open (with restrictions) until 1st May.

Examined by subject group, the initial Level 8 data shows some valuable insights. The data released by CAO gives an indication of the sectors that attracted most interest this year. So here is a list of the risers and fallers of 2018.

The Risers

  • Education: Last year saw a 2% decrease in the number of applications applying for courses in education. There was speculation that two-tier pay scales may be off-putting for applicants but this year there has been a 4% increase in applications to education courses dispelling that theory. Figures released show  8% increase in first preference for primary school teaching and 4% increase in secondary teaching. Applications for secondary teaching programmes in DCU alone have gone up by 13%. The points for teaching dropped slightly in 2017 and perhaps this has prompted a surge in teaching applications.
  • Biological and Related Sciences: This has been a sector of continuous growth in recent years with many biopharma companies choosing to locate to Ireland. Projected levels of employment in biopharma are very promising and it is anticipated that employment in the biopharma industry will reach 33,200 in 2020. First preference choices for Biological and Related Sciences has gone up by 10% this year.
  • Engineering: Good news on the engineering front with an increase of 6% in first preference choices. Engineering applications were down last year which resulted in a significant drop in points for many engineering courses. Fortunately, the interest in engineering has been restored this year. There is an acute shortage of engineering professionals in Ireland and the sector is enjoying a period of growth. Issuing work permits outside the EEA has been necessary to fill these vacant positions.
  • Agriculture: First choice preferences in agriculture are up by 6%. Good news for the agri – food industry that has experienced growth and will continue to expand. The National agri-food strategy Food Wise 2025 is working to create 23,000 new jobs in this area.

The Fallers


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Subject choice – going to college

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 14, 2018

Going to College: Important tips for making your Leaving Cert subject choices

Right now, schools across the country are asking their third year and transition year students to choose the subjects they would like to take for Leaving Cert. These are important decisions, but students often get caught up focusing on entry requirements for college. This can lead to them feeling overwhelmed and can result in mistakes being made.

In reality, colleges have less complicated requirements than one may think, as well as a number of entry routes to most career options. It makes better sense to choose subjects that will assist the student in achieving the best results they can. This will give the student more options in the future.

I’m my opinion, subject selection has a great influence on how a student performs at Leaving Cert overall and here are three considerations which will help any student make good choices:

Choose subjects you enjoy

Every subject at Leaving Cert is challenging. Most schools offer five class periods a week or three hour-long periods for each subject. In addition, students should be doing two to three hours further study in their own time. This means a lot of time engaging with individual subjects. By choosing subjects which they enjoy, students will find this less of a challenge and even enjoyable.

Students are likely to perform better in subjects they enjoy, resulting in higher grades, higher CAO points and, therefore, more options after Leaving Cert. Students are also likely to pursue third-level courses related to subjects they enjoyed at school.

Consider subjects you are good at

One way students can maximise their results is by playing to their strengths. It is likely that by choosing subjects they are good at, they are also choosing areas they hope to study or work in in the future. Consider Junior Cert results if they are available. It is important not only to look at the subjects in which they achieved the highest grades, but also why students performed best in these. Perhaps the subject was taught by a favourite teacher, perhaps a large project component helped. Many students may also have participated in some aptitude testing – consider these results and discuss them with someone who is able to interpret them, such as a guidance counsellor. Other testing is available on

Subject requirements

Subject requirements for entry to third level are often less complex than originally thought. If students have ideas about what they would like to study after school, they should research the entry requirements for these courses thoroughly in a variety of different institutions.

If students are not yet clear on what they would like to study at third level, they should research the requirements for a number of different areas and consider common themes. This can be done on where students can enter key words that will produce a list of relevant courses and their descriptions. Some Leaving Cert subjects are never required for college entry. Students should pay particular attention when considering their choices in the areas of languages, sciences and technical subjects.

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


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