PLC Information

Further Education Colleges

Further Education colleges offer Post Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs) and are run by a wide range of public/private colleges and institutions – leading to awards validated by the Irish government’s awards agency – Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), as well as other awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies. The courses are full-time and last for one or two years. Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Most qualifications are either Level 5 or 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications. The next steps being, Level 7 or 8, (degree/honours degree, respectively) which are available in Higher Education Institutes, and which you can progress to via the Further Education sector.

The distinguishing features of FE colleges are their accessibility and links to the community, employers, higher education, schools, youth groups and other services. Their focus is on courses that are reflective of the needs of the community and where they view current/future skills shortage. Most courses have modules like work experience and communications built into them, to ensure that course participants are prepared and ready for work. The educational environment and atmosphere is also unique in the sense that it is conducive to the optimum learning experience, with small class sizes, and staff that have often vast personal work experience in the area they teach or lecture in.

The Further Education sector and the demand for course places continues to grow. Students regularly opt to apply for a college place in Further Education alongside their CAO application. Application is made directly to the individual college and there is no limit to the number of courses you can apply for.

There are currently over 200 Further Education Providers in Ireland. The demand for places come from both secondary school leavers; who apply to enhance their employment prospects or to progress to higher education, and adults returning to education who may not have completed their leaving certificate. There are any number of reasons why students choose Further Education Colleges; of course, the main reasons are that FE providers can offer you that stepping stone to further and higher education, via The Higher Education Links Scheme, where specific FE courses are linked to higher education courses or The Pilot Scheme, whereby FE applicants’ results are converted into a separate points scheme, and they may be eligible for offers of places on a wider variety of third level courses.

Some students presenting with certain Level 6 awards can go straight into a Level 7 (degree course) related course in an IT. UK colleges have also established links with Further Education Colleges in Ireland. If you are considering using the FE route to gain access to a Higher Education course, research what links are in place and if there are reserved places on offer.

The general entry requirement is with a Leaving Certificate or equivalent or work/life experience – depending on the course being applied for. Most courses require an interview and some courses will look for a portfolio if relevant to the course being applied for. In terms of financial support – students are entitled to apply for the means tested maintenance grant.

There are an extensive range of course on offer, from Business, Art, Sport and Leisure, Child Care, Horticulture to IT, to name but a few. New courses are continually being introduced to reflect our changing economic environment and to address areas with skills shortages. Recently new awards have been added which are now available to registered providers to use. They include: Life and Workplace Coaching, Training and Development Information and Advice and Advocacy. This sector of education have become leaders in delivering courses in Childcare, community care, sport and leisure, tourism along with others. Employers know the educational attainments of employees they hire when they come through this standardised system of education. Candidates must reach a certain standard of educational attainment in terms of modules completed in order to be accredited with their QQI award.

There are numerous Further Education Colleges in every county in Ireland. Some specialise in just a few PLC programmes, whilst others will be much broader in terms of choice and variation.

Kinsale College in Cork offers a range of PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Childcare, Drama and Acting, Environmental, Fitness and Health, Hotel and Catering, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare and more.

Dunboyne College in Meath also offers a wide range of PLC courses. The specialist areas covered by Dunboyne college are listed below..
Animal Care, Arts and Humanities, Business and Accounting, Childcare, Computers and IT Training, Fitness and Health, Hair and Beauty, Hotel and Catering, Legal, Media, Art and Design, Medical and Healthcare, Music and Sound Engineering, Personal Development, Sales, Marketing and PR, Science, Social Studies, Travel and Tourism.

St Louis Community School in Mayo has an outstanding and long tradition of providing full and part-time courses for school leavers and adults. The college offers daytime courses in 5 fields (Sport, Childcare, Hairdressing and Beauty, Business and Nursing and Health) leading to 9 Awards at QQI level 5 or level 6.

Stillorgan College in Dublin caters for school leavers and adult learners offering a range of further education and PLC courses in areas such as Business and Accounting, Computers and IT Training, Literature and Journalism, Media, Art and Design, Travel and Tourism.

Portobello Institute, one of Ireland’s leading private training colleges prides itself on offering intensive post leaving certificate training to students of all ages. Established in 1981, the Institute has successfully established itself within the market place as an exceptional college choice with notable success rates. The college offers a number of full time, part time and distant learning courses covering Montessori & Special Needs, Creative Studies, Beauty Therapy, Sports Therapy & Health related studies, Business and Travel & Tourism – all of which encompass the necessary educational and life skills necessary to succeed in any of these areas.

Dorset College is committed to developing high quality courses to meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse student base and demanding workplace. Situated close to the city centre, the college has grown into a vibrant centre for learning, which caters for the needs of School Leavers, Graduates, International Students and Mature Adults. Their courses cater for candidates in the areas of Computing, Business Studies, Accounting & Finance, Information Technology, Law, Business Administration, English Language, Teacher Training, Psychology, Interior Design, Childcare, Montessori and Healthcare.

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All FE colleges have services, supports and facilities that one would expect from a third level provider – just on a smaller scale. Further Education providers are quite holistic in their approach to education – after all their aim is to ensure candidates reach their full potential and are prepared in every way for the world of work or for higher education.

Further Education providers are fulfilling their ultimate educational objectives. Surveys and statistics highlight this, as half of graduates go directly into employment, while the other half go into higher education in Ireland or abroad to work. As Mary McAleese said – “Further Education offers the chance to progress in education and training step by step and to build self-belief so that students take on higher and higher award levels, if they wish to do so”.

Full List of Further Education Colleges in Ireland

Abbey Community College – Boyle
Abbey Vocational School
Abbeyleix Further Education Centre
An tIonad Glas
Archbishop McHale College – Tuam Voc School
Ardscoil Phadraig
Arklow Community College
Athlone Community College
Athy Community College
Ballsbridge College of Further Education
Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Ballyhaise Agricultural College
Ballyhaunis Community School
Banagher College – Colaiste na Sionna
Beaufort College
Boyne Community School
Bray Institute of Further Education
Bridgetown Vocational College
Bunclody Vocational College
Cabinteely Community School
Cabra Community College – Colaiste Eanna
Carlow Institute of Further Education
Castlebar College of Further Education
Castlecomer Community School
Castlepollard Community School
Castlerea Community School
Cavan Institute
CBS Dungarvan
Central College Limerick
Central Technical Institute Senior College
CityNorth College of Further Education
Clifden Community School
Clonakilty Agricultural College
Clonakilty Community College
Cobh Community College
Colaiste Abbain
Colaiste an Chraoibhin
Colaiste an Chregain
Colaiste Bride Carnew
Colaiste Chathail Naofa
Colaiste Chiarain Croom
Colaiste Chomain
Colaiste Chomain
Colaiste Cois Siuire
Colaiste Dhulaigh College of Further Education
Colaiste Dun Iascaigh
Colaiste Eoin Hacketstown
Colaiste Ide College of Further Education
Colaiste Mhuire Askeaton
Colaiste Mhuire Johnstown
Colaiste Mhuire Thurles
Colaiste Muire Ballymote
Colaiste Stiofain Naofa CFE
College of Amenity Horticulture. National Botanic Gardens
College of Further Education Dundrum
Collinstown Park Community College
Columba College
Confey College
Cork College of Commerce
Corran College Ballymote
Crumlin College of Further Education
Curragh Post-Primary School
Daughters of Charity Edu. & Training
Deansrath Community College
Desmond College
Donahies Community School
Drogheda Institute of Further Education
Drumshanbo College of Further Education
Duiske College
Dun Laoghaire Further Education Institute
Dunboyne College of Further Education
Dunmore Community School
Ennis Community College
Enniscorthy Vocational College
Ennistymon Vocational School
Errigal College
Finn Valley College
Gairmscoil Mhuire – Athenry Vocational School
Galway Community College
Galway Technical Institute
Glenamaddy Community School
Gorey Community School
Grange Community College
Greenhills College
Grennan College
Gurteen Agricultural College
Inchicore College of Further Education
Jesus & Mary Secondary School
Kildalton Agricultural & Horticultural College
Killarney Community College
Killester College of Further Education
Kilmallock College of Further Education
Kilrush Community School
Kinsale College of Further Education
Kinsale Community School
Kylemore College
Lanesboro Community College
Leixlip VTOS Centre
Liberties College
Limerick College of Further Education
Lismullen Hospitality Services Centre
Listowel Community College
Lough Allen College
Loughrea Vocational School – St Brigid’s
Magh Ene College
Mallow College of Further Education
Mannix College
Maria Immaculata Community College
Marino College of Further Education
Mary Immaculate Lisdoonvarna
McEgan College
McHale College Achill
Mercy College Galway
Mercy College Sligo
Moate Business College
Monaghan Inst of FE & Training
Mountbellew Agricultural College
Mountmellick Further Education Centre
Moyne College
Muine Bheag Vocational School
Mullingar Community College
Nagle Community College
Nenagh College
New Ross Vocational College
Newport College – St Josephs
North Connaught College
O’Connell Centre
O’Fiaich Institute
Oaklands Community College
Ormonde College of Further Education
Our Lady’s Secondary School Belmullet
Pallaskenry Agricultural College
Pearse College of Further Education
Piper’s Hill College
Plunket College
Portlaoise College
Portumna Community School
Ramsgrange Community School
Rathmines College of Further Education
Ringsend College
Roscommon Community College
Roscrea Community College
Rossa College
Sacred Heart School
Sallynoggin College of Further Education
Sancta Maria College
Schull Community College
Scoil Aireagail
Scoil Chonglais
Scoil Phobail Mhic Dara
Scoil Ruain
Senior College Dun Laoghaire
Sligo College of Further Education
St. Aidan’s Community School
St. Ailbe’s School
St. Brendan’s College
St. Brogan’s College
St. Catherines Vocational School
St. Colman’s Community College
St. Conleth’s Vocational School
St. Cuan’s College
St. Fanahan’s College
St. Farnan’s Post Primary School
St. Goban’s College
St. John Bosco Community College
St. John’s Central College
St. Joseph’s College Borrisoleigh
St. Joseph’s Secondary School Ballybunion
St. Josephs College Summerhill
St. Kevin’s College Crumlin
St. Kevin’s Community College
St. Killians Vocational School
St. Louis Community School
St. Mary’s School for Deaf Girls
St. Michaels
St. Oliver’s Post Primary School
St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School Shannon
St. Paul’s Community College
St. Tiernan’s College of Further Studies
St. Tiernans College Crossmolina
Stillorgan College of Further Education
Templemichael College
Templemore College of Further Education
Tralee Community College
Tullamore College
Tullow Community School
Waterford College of Further Education
Westport College of Further Education
Wexford Vocational College
Whitehall College of Further Education