Further Education courses also known as PLC courses are full-time and last for one to two years. They offer a mixture of practical work, academic work and work experience. They are designed as a step towards skilled employment and, as such, they are closely linked to industry and its needs. They can also be used as a progression route to Higher Education courses.
Post Leaving Certificate courses adopt an integrated approach, focusing on technical knowledge, core skills and work experience. Almost half of the time spent on these courses is devoted to knowledge and skill training related to employment, with a further quarter spent on relevant work-based experience.
Many of the 1-year PLC courses offer Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) accreditation at level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications, while other more advanced courses may offer QQI level 6, which can lead to further studies at third level.
PLC courses take place in schools, colleges and community education centres. Most PLC courses are delivered by Education and Training Boards (ETBs). A wide range of disciplines are covered including business, electronics engineering, computing, catering, sport and leisure, theatre and stage, performance art, art craft and design, equestrian studies, multi-media studies, journalism, tourism, marketing, childcare and community care, hairdressing and beauty care, applied science, horticulture etc.
How to Apply
As Further Education colleges are not part of the CAO, no points are required.
You make your application directly to your chosen PLC course. Most colleges have an online application process. Look for the ‘Apply’ button on college website. Most PLC courses will offer you the chance to apply for multiple courses in their college. You can also apply to several PLC colleges to increase your chances of being offered a place.
College open early for application. Many are already accepting applications. Although the application process can stay open right up until September, it is advisable to get your application in early as places do fill up.
You may be asked for a reference to support your application. You are not restricted to getting a reference from school. You may ask your employer or a coach or someone else who knows you in a professional context and can vouch for you.
PLC applicants are usually invited to attend for interview before being offered a place. It is very important to prepare for the interview. The interview will be a major deciding factor used to determine whether to offer you a place in the college. Click here to for more interview tips.
Advantages of a PLC Course
- Lots of employment opportunites available upon completion
- An alternative route to Third Level
- Offers a more gradual progression from school to college
- Can be a good way to spend a gap year while waiting to take up a deferred college place or when you are undecided about courses
- Offers a taster opportunity of subject areas not available in the Leaving Cert Curriculum
- The compulsory work experience module gives valuable practical experience
- Students that have completed Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) can access third level education via the FET route.
PLC students are required to pay a Particiaption Contribution Fee of €200. There may be fees for equipment depending on the course you apply for.
Students can apply for a SUSI maintenance grant if they require financial assistance. Use the SUSI eligibility reckoner to find out if you are eligible for a grant.
Search PLC Courses using the CourseFinder tool.