The Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D., announced and responded to the publication of an independent evaluation of the Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme.
The report, which was carried out by the ESRI (The Economic and Social Research Institute) and was in response to a recent report on PLC programme provision, published by SOLAS, confirms the positive role played by PLC provision.
It highlights that PLC learners are 16% more likely to be in employment than if they had just entered the labour market straight after the Leaving Certificate. Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses represent the largest component of full-time further education and training (FET) provision in Ireland, with over 32,000 learners enrolled in such courses in 2015–2016 and which receives an investment of over 160 Million each year.
The study findings point to the positive role played by PLC provision in providing educational opportunities for a diverse group of learners and in enhancing their access to employment and higher education.
Employment outcomes among learners reports that on completing their courses, just over one-third of leavers entered employment, with approximately 28 per cent progressing to higher education, 19 per cent remaining in further education, and 12 per cent becoming unemployed.
The report also highlights several challenges for policy development in the PLC sector indicating a need for greater responsiveness of job-specific PLC courses to changing labour market conditions in terms of the types of courses offered and closer links with employers, as well as enhanced guidance for learners and extra training for teaching staff.
The findings from the evaluation have been considered and the Minister and SOLAS have committed to implementing over 40 recommendations in response, including:
- Allocating 500 PLC places nationally to new ‘pre-apprenticeship’ courses.
- Ensuring that in future all courses will lead to Full/Major awards at NFQ Level 5 or NFQ Level 6 or equivalent.
- Providing more flexibility for students. Providers are to be required to offer PLC outside of the full-time mode of delivery and to provide more flexibility e.g. distance, blended and on-line modes of delivery to be available to learners.
- More co-ordination at a local level on provision, led by ETBs.
- Employer engagement to become mandatory for new course proposals for job-specific/sector specific provision.
A PLC Programme Improvement Advisory Committee comprised of PLC partners and led by SOLAS will now be established to implement a programme improvement plan over the course of a three-year period.
To research PLC courses and possible progression routes to Higher Education go directly to our CourseFinder which can be found here.
Full Evaluation Report can be viewed here here.
SOLAS response to the findings of the report is available here.
The CareersPortal Team