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Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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Reserve Defence Forces

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 5, 2017


The Reserve Defence Forces is now accepting applications for Army Reserve and Naval Service Reserve.

We are looking for men and women from all backgrounds who enjoy working as part of a team. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and not more than 35 years of age on date of enlistment (We cannot accept applications from persons under 18 years of age).

Closing Date

The closing date for applications is 23:59hrs on 6th Sept 2017

How to apply

Applications are only accepted through In the application form, you will be offered the choice of 26 locations in the case of the Army Reserve, and 4 locations in the case of the Naval Service Reserve. You may only choose 1 location. View the various Army and Naval Service Locations here.


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Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 5, 2017


We turn our noses up at  and it’s costing the economy millions – Engineer on tradespeople shortage

Tradespeople are being forced to turn down millions of euro worth of work every year because we don’t have enough skilled labour workers, a business owner has claimed.

John McCartin, Managing Director of Newtowngore Engineering in Co Leitrim, said that we “look down our noses at apprenticeships” and our economy is paying the price.

Mr McCartin, who is a Fine Gael Councillor, said that his business currently has 15 jobs available that they can’t fill.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, he said: “The labour force in this country is lacking people who can work with their hands.

“If you’re talking about trades like electronic engineers, steel fitters, detailers, there just aren’t the qualified people out there and the experienced people out there to allow companies like our own and our competitors to take on the work we could take on and compete for.

“I live in a very sparsely populated area, it’s the only part of western Europe where the population density is below 20 people per square kilometre.

Stock image

“Within a ten mile radius of where I live I’d say there are hundreds of jobs worth millions of euro worth of work every year that will not be filled and done because of a lack of a skilled labour force.

“There’s no real quick fix to it, you can’t just invent a skilled labour force or an educated labour force or you can’t invent people who have gone through apprenticeships at the drop of a hat.”

He said that we need to reassess our attitudes towards technical education.

He said: “If we had people coming out of vocational education and going onto apprenticeships then people would have skills like mechanical engineering, electronical engineering, people who are good with their hands and then nobody would be out of work in this economy.

“We are looking down our noses at apprenticeships, there’s no doubt about that.

“In countries like Germany they has always viewed technical instruction as part of the mainstream education and I guess that’s part of why their economy has been so competitive and their manufactured goods are sen as premier goods all over the world.

“We’re not competing for work that we could aggressively be chasing in our region because we know if we land a big fish we just don’t have the workforce.”


Mr McCartin says a lack of construction workers is making us less competitive (Stock image)
Mr McCartin says a lack of construction workers is making us less competitive 

Mr McCartin, who lives in Ballinamore, Co Leitrim said that Polish tradespeople were “a saviour” during the Celtic Tiger but that workforce just isn’t available now.

He said: “In the previous boom we had in this country Poland was the saviour we had, a lot of people came from Poland with great skills but that seems to have dried up currently.

“I did speak to one guy who works for a recruitment agency who said that he would get me men, he said they may not be Polish but we might be able to recruit Romanian men.

“After a couple of weeks we contacted him again and he said he was really sorry and he was trying but he’d promised another company 20 men and all he could get was six…

“We are a sparsely populated island but we can do a lot more, we can employ a lot more and accommodate an awful lot more people, there’s no reason why we can’t do it.” Irish Independent

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Appealing Leaving Cert results… what are the chances of an upgrade?

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 5, 2017


A candidate may apply to have any exam script, or scripts, rechecked. (Stock picture)1
A candidate may apply to have any exam script, or scripts, rechecked. 

Candidates generally take this option for one or more reasons, including if they are unhappy with the result they have received and/or if, having viewed the paper, they spot an error in how marks were awarded or totted.

Sometimes, a student is motivated because they are just a few points short of the cut-off for a preferred course and hope a recheck will make a difference.

This year, with the widening of the Leaving Certificate grading bands — each band now covers 10 marks rather than five — it is likely that many candidates will more readily accept the grade. This is because if an error is discovered, it may be obvious that it is too difficult to pick up enough marks to climb to the next grade.

Candidates’ results are presented as grades, which are derived from the total marks awarded for a paper.

For example, a mark of 539 out of 600 is H2 on a higher level paper, or O2 at ordinary level. In percentage terms, that would be worth 89.83pc.

 It is only in viewing an exam script that a candidate sees the actual marks and can make an informed decision.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Pros and cons of deferring your college course

Posted by Francis O' Toole on September 5, 2017

Sometimes college dreams can turn into a nightmare.1
Sometimes college dreams can turn into a nightmare.

Even if a student has received an offer, there can be many benefits to taking a year away from formal study, as long as it is used to the best effect.

No young person or their parents are likely to be happy with an 18-year-old hanging around the house for a year while all their peers are moving on.

Some school-leavers use this time to do interesting things, which add to the likelihood of success at third level, such as volunteer work or pursuing a passion such as drama or music. Others may work and save money to help them over the first year or so of higher education.

Deferring allows an applicant to take up the place in autumn 2018 regardless of any change in CAO points or entry requirements which may occur.

A deferral is not automatic, and granting it is at the discretion of the college. However, most are well disposed to applications.

Anyone considering seeking a deferral should consider the option carefully. It is important to consider the reason why the deferral is being sought and ensure that the applicant is choosing it for the right reasons and not simply as a way of postponing the transition to third level. Most colleges will not grant an application for deferral if it is to allow the student to take up another course or to repeat the Leaving Cert.

It is also important to have a plan for how the year will be spent, especially if the main reason is study fatigue or needing time to mature. It may be prudent to discuss these options with family and friends or your school guidance counsellor. You can also call the helpline where you can speak to a guidance counsellor in confidence.

Anyone thinking about deferring should take time to consider their options carefully. If you do decide on this course of action, you need to act with care.

 First, do not accept the offer with the CAO. Instead contact the college admissions office immediately and in writing. Do this by email placing ‘deferred entry’ in the subject line or, by post, writing ‘deferred entry’ clearly on the envelope. Students must provide their name, CAO number and the CAO course code.

Aoife Walsh Irish Independent

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Dublin Aerospace

Posted by Francis O' Toole on May 10, 2017


Application is now open for the 2017 Dublin Aerospace Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitter (MAMF) Apprenticeship.

The closing date for applications is Tuesday 30th May 2017.

The work of the Mechanical Automation and Maintenance Fitter (MAMF) involves plant and machinery installation, maintenance and repair, replacement of broken or worn parts, adjustment and servicing. The work also involves fabrication of replacement parts using machine tools i.e. lathes, milling machines, grinders etc.

In Dublin Aerospace, it includes activities such as dismantling, overhauling and assembly of Landing Gear, Auxiliary Power Units (APU) and their components.

After successful completion of this Apprenticeship the apprentice will receive a Level 6 National Craft Certificate from SOLAS.

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CAO – Change of mind

Posted by Francis O' Toole on May 2, 2017

CAO logo

The online CAO change of mind facility will open next Friday 5th May 2017. Leaving Cert students can avail of the facility until 1st July. First round CAO offers come out on 21 August.

Change of Mind – 5th May (12:00 noon) to 1st July (17:15)

Early in May each year, CAO applicants have the opportunity to register a change of course choices online, free of charge.

If you make a change online, and have supplied an e-mail address, an acknowledgement will also be sent to that e-mail address.

There is no fee for using the Change of Mind facility.

Making Changes

Subject to certain exceptions and restrictions, you may change course choices (without fee) as often as you wish, up to 17:15 on the 1st July. If you submit a Change of Mind, it cancels and supersedes all previous course choices in any category in which changes are made.

Course choices in the two categories ( Level 8 and Level 7/6 ) are considered to be completely separate from each other for this purpose. e.g. a change of Level 8 course choices will not affect Level 7/6 choices. If you do not wish to change the courses in one category, do not submit a change. Your original courses in that category will remain unchanged.

Do not mix courses from different categories (Level 8 and Level 7/6) and make sure to list all of your course choices for the particular category which you change.

Restricted Courses

Except for Restricted Application Courses/Restricted Categories of applicant, you may now enter courses which did not appear on your original application.

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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on April 24, 2017


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Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI)

Posted by Francis O' Toole on April 3, 2017

Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) – the centralised  grant application scheme for college students, reopens for both new and renewal applications today –  Monday 3rd April 2017.

Application Process

SUSI administers the student grant scheme in its entirety. Last year SUSI awarded grant funding to 76,000 students for the 2016/17 academic year. It is anticipated that it will receive over 110,000 applications for 2017/18 from today, and will provide around €380 million in support to some 80,000 students.

Who can apply

Eligible students in approved full-time, third-level education in Ireland and, in some cases, students studying outside the State can access grant funding. All types of students, from school leavers to mature students returning to education can apply.

Any student who thinks they might be eligible for a SUSI grant is urged to submit their application online to SUSI as soon as possible to ensure that it is processed as quickly as possible.

The priority closing dates for the 2017/18 student grant scheme are:

  • 13th July for new applicants
  • 15th June for renewals from students already in college.

Note: As a new grant applicant, you do not need to have accepted a place on a college course in order to apply for a grant. You can do this later in the process.

The student grant scheme is quite a detailed application process so it is crucial that you apply as early as possible if you plan to take-up a course of study this year. Grant applications are processed in the order in which they are received, so the earlier you apply and get any supportiung documents required submitted to SUSI, the earlier you will have a response on the outcome of your application to put your mind at ease when it comes to starting college.

Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said “I would encourage students who think they might be eligible for support to submit their online applications to SUSI as soon as possible.”

Changes 2017/18

Postgraduate – Added demand is expected this year due to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for postgraduate students. The postgraduate maintenance grant scheme to support students at third level was abolished by the Government in 2012 in order to save €50 million per year. Additional funding of €4 million was secured in Budget 2017 to facilitate the reinstatement of full maintenance grants from September 2017 for disadvantaged postgraduate students.

PLC – A change to “Second Chance” provision will allow mature students who attended college and dropped out, not successfully completing an approved course, can now apply to SUSI again as a new applicant, following a break in study of five years.

For full details and online application see


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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 20, 2017


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Recruitment for army and naval

Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 13, 2017

Recruitment for army and naval general personnel has already begun. Army applicants must be aged between 18 and 25, while naval applicants should be between 18 and 27 on the closing date for applications, Wednesday April 5. Interested applicants should log on to and complete an application form. Applications may only be submitted online.

While no formal qualifications are required, candidates must undergo a fitness test, interviews, psychometric testing and a medical exam.

The recruitment competitions for cadetships and apprenticeships have not yet begun, but anyone interested should keep a close eye on for news of these.


Although the Defence Forces are not currently advertising cadetships, many school leavers and graduates will be looking forward to the beginning of that recruitment drive. The cadetship is the programme through which the Defence Forces recruit and train future officers for the army, navy and air corps.

Applicants for this programme should present with Leaving Cert results similar to the matriculation requirements for the National University of Ireland (NUI). These include a ‘passing’ grade in Irish, maths, English and a modern European language, as well as at least two ‘honours’ grades in higher level subjects and a ‘pass’ in another four subjects.

This is the only way for potential candidates to become an army officer. As part of the recruitment process, candidates will participate in psychometric testing, a fitness test, an interview and a medical exam.

While it is possible for school leavers to be successful, it is likely they will be competing with a large number of graduates. Therefore, if candidates find they are not recruited first time around, it may be helpful to complete a degree and reapply. An applicant who is recruited to this programme and who does not hold a third level qualification may be assigned to a third level course. Therefore, applicants should be open to third level study if applying for a cadetship. Apprenticeship

Under the Defence Forces apprenticeship scheme, successful applicants will be trained in a technical area, as well as defence training, over a four year period. Technical training takes place in third level colleges.

The Defence Forces are expected to launch a recruitment drive for aircraft technicians at some point in 2017. Aircraft technicians provide maintenance and servicing for weapons, equipment and aircraft.

It is likely that candidates will be required to be between the age of 18 and 21 and hold minimum Leaving Cert qualifications, which may include five ‘passes’ including English or Irish and maths and in any one of the following: physics, chemistry, engineering or construction. Students interested in any of the above opportunities should keep a close eye on the website,, for announcements. With 860 posts to be filled there are sure to be many interesting opportunities coming soon.

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

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