Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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Posted by Francis O' Toole on December 11, 2017

The 15th January application deadline is fast approaching for UCAS.

UCAS is the centralised organisation that looks after applications to universities and third-level institutions in Britain and Northern Ireland.

When applying through UCAS, institutions will judge you based on more than just your exam results.The UCAS application involves students completing a personal statement, providing an academic reference and providing information about work experience. As well as the extra work involved in preparing an application, UCAS will send the completed application to each institution for which a student applies, for their consideration as soon as they receive it. Therefore, there is benefit to applying as early as possible.

All UCAS applications are made online through Students should first use this website to search for courses and institutions in which they may be interested. Secondly, they should contact the institution to enquire about Irish Leaving Certificate entry requirements, fees and any other requirements such as aptitude testing. Students may apply for up to five courses in a normal UCAS application.

Personal Statement

Personal statements should explain why the college should choose the applicant for the course. While including any work experience or extra-curricular activities is very important in a personal statement, applicants must also give the college an idea of their academic interests and work style.

Video: Starting your Personal Statement (UCAS)

The reference should be from someone who can comment on the student’s academic style and suitability for the course, often a subject teacher.

Visit for full details.

Thinking of Studying in the The UK? More Tips and Advice here.


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26 new national apprenticeships

Posted by Francis O' Toole on December 11, 2017


The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., and Minister of State John Halligan T.D., announced that 26 new national apprenticeships have been approved for further development in areas ranging from Animation to Healthcare.

An Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training institution and prepares participants for a specific occupation and leads to a qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications.

If you are interested to learn more about becoming an apprentice click here.

All of the new apprenticeships are flexible, ranging in duration from two years to four years and will be offered at levels 5 to 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Some 26 new apprenticeships are to be developed over the next 12-15 months. They include:

  • Applied horticulture (two years)
  • Arboriculture (two years)
  • Associate sales professional (three years)
  • CGI technical artist: animation, games, VFX (two years)
  • Equipment systems engineer (two years)
  • Farm management (four years)
  • Farm technician (two years)
  • Geo-driller (three years)
  • ICT associate professional in cybersecurity (two years)
  • Lean Sigma manager (two years)
  • Logistics associate (two years)
  • Principal engineer (four years)
  • Professional bar manager (two years)
  • Professional hairdressing (three years)
  • Professional healthcare assistant (two years)
  • Quality assurance technician (three years)
  • Quality laboratory technician (three years)
  • Senior quantity surveyor (two years)
  • Recruitment practitioner (two years)
  • Scaffolding (three years)
  • Software system designer (two years)
  • Sport turf management ( two years)
  • Stud farm management (two years)
  • Supply chain associate (three years)
  • Supply chain manager (two years)
  • Supply chain specialist (two years)

Concluding from Budget 2018, €122m will be available for apprenticeship training, an increase of almost 24% on the previous year thus allowing the delivery of 10 more apprenticeship programmes and over 6,000 more apprenticeship registrations in 2018.

Visit for apprentice opportunities and information for employers on how to register and hire an apprentice.

If you are interested in viewing the current list of apprentices available can do so by clicking here

Video: Oisin Murphy – Apprentice Carpenter


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Going to College: There’s a very good reason why the golden rule of the CAO is to list courses in order of preference

Posted by Francis O' Toole on December 6, 2017


I will continue to repeat this statement all year – and again next year – because it is, perhaps, the most important rule of the CAO. It is as fundamental as our times’ tables in maths and basic spelling in English. If students remember nothing but this from their careers’ class, then at least they have learned something.

But every year, some students forget, or ignore, this most basic of rules. Every August, they call the National Parents’ Council helpline hoping they can change to a course they have listed in a lower position than the one they are offered. And every year the answer is no. No, it is not possible to change courses for one listed as a lower order of preference.

The CAO allows applicants to list their course choices in two lists, with 10 places for Level 8 (honours degree) courses and 10 places for Level 7/6 (ordinary degree/higher certificate) courses.

Applicants may list as many courses as they like, up to a maximum of 10 on each list, and they may return, up until July 1 next, to add and delete courses or change the order.

The CAO asks that all applicants complete their course lists in “genuine order of preference”. Therefore, it presumes that the course applicants have listed first on their list is the one they want more than any other.


Once the CAO receives an applicant’s exam results, they will review their lists of courses and offer the applicant the one which they have put highest on their CAO form, for which they have made all entry requirements and points.

If an applicant achieves the subject requirements and points to receive an offer for the course they have listed in first place, then this will be the only offer they receive.




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Going to College:

Posted by Francis O' Toole on November 13, 2017

Going to College: CAO is open for applications — now is a good time to start the process of filling out the form

(Stock image)Since last Monday, Leaving Cert students and, indeed, any person who is interested in starting college next September can register with the CAO and begin filling out their form.

I always push students to begin this process as early as possible. There is no benefit to waiting and, in my experience, once applicants get going, they are reassured by how simple it is.

The most difficult part of completing a CAO application is not the actual process of filling out the form, but deciding the courses for which to apply.

I have to admit that each year a large number of applicants, including my own students, fail to follow the advice to start early. Students delay because they have not yet decided which courses they would like to list or the order in which they will place them.

The great thing about filling out the CAO form online is that the applicant does not have to make a decision about when the form is completed. There is no send button and there is no piece of information that cannot be changed by the candidate before the submission date. Whatever is entered on it on February 1 is the information with which the CAO will work.

Since the CAO opened on Monday, it is possible for applicants to set up an account into which they can log as many times as they like. And from now until February 1, they can make as many changes to their form as they like.

To get started, applicants will need to register and pay their fee. For 2018/19, the standard application fee is €45, discounted to €30 for any applicant who registers by January 20.

On the form, applicants will be asked to complete their personal details and enter credit/debit card details or the number from their Bank Giro. If an applicant would like to pay by Bank Giro, they should contact their school guidance counsellor and ask them to request one from the CAO on their behalf.

Once they have done this, they will receive their CAO number. The number is important as applicants will need it for logging into their form and all dealings with the CAO, as well as other CAO-related activities, such as applying for the HPAT aptitude test for medicine, or submitting a portfolio.

The applicant may log into their account as often as they wish to enter application details, apply for programmes such as the HEAR or DARE, and to enter and remove courses.

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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on November 13, 2017


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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 26, 2017



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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 25, 2017



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Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 25, 2017



Apprenticeship is a programme of formal education and training. It combines learning in your place of work, with learning in an education or training centre. On successful completion of a number of phases of training, apprentices become recognised craftspeople or professionals.

The traditional craft apprenticeships include those in the Construction, Electrical, Engineering, and Motor sectors.

Over 20 new occupational apprenticeships are in the process of being developed and introduced in the Computer & ICT, MedTech, Insurance, Finance, Accountancy, Logistics and Hospitality sectors.

Details including entry requirementstraining structure, where to find apprenticeship vacancies and a range of related videos, are available via the menu structure on this page.

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It’s fine to have a dream course, but give yourself plenty of choice on your CAO form

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 24, 2017



(Stock photo)1

All sixth year students should now be in the thick of CAO research, at times, an overwhelming task. In my opinion, it is not the students who tell me they do not know what they want to do in college who I am most concerned about at this time of year. It is the student who comes with one perfect course who often causes me the most professional worry.

While it is a wonderful thing to meet a young person who has a passion, and who has identified their direction for future study, students who are overly rigid about their career goals and course choices can find this hampers their research. A student may feel they have found their dream course, but no CAO form should be submitted with just one choice. So, once the dream course is found, it is important to park it and get on with the task of researching. This course should not be allowed to prevent the identification of the other choices that can be listed.

Every CAO form can be submitted with up to 20 courses listed – 10 at Level 8 and another 10 Level 7/6. Applicants should endeavour to enter as many courses on their application as possible. The CAO can only offer places on courses that have been listed on the form. If an applicant receivea an offer they would prefer not to take, they may turn it down.


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Careers News

Posted by Francis O' Toole on October 24, 2017



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