Ballyfermot College of  Further Education opens its doors on Wednesday 30th January for its annual Open Day. All prospective students are invited to come along and explore the range of courses from art, animation and music to social care and visual effects which the college offers.

Maureen Conway, principal of BCFE, says “The Open Day is a great opportunity for  everyone to come along and meet us, to see the college and to find out about our courses. We are committed to providing innovative, creative and work-related courses in a supportive learning environment. BCFE has excellent courses which enable our students to develop and flourish. Well-established progression pathways with third level colleges alongside the two honours degree programmes offered in the college make BCFE a real choice for students.”

BCFE has a dynamic and exciting range of creative courses in art, animation, music, television, film and visual effects. These can lead to work in the creative industries or can be the foundation for further study. The Art department, which offers Portfolio courses as well as two year Higher National Diplomas in Graphics, Fibre Art and Illustration, is a hub of creativity, hard-work, fun, ideas, design and artmaking, both traditional and digital. It contains excellent resources: art studios, a darkroom and state-of-the-art Mac Room. According to Brian Walsh, Head of ADT, “Art in BCFE offers all the challenges and excitement of Art College in a supportive learning environment with small classes. We are committed to nurturing the creative and artistic development of our students.”

BCFE recently introduced the first Visual Effects (VFX) third level course in Ireland.  VFX is a hugely important part of the animation and film industry with great creative and career prospects for graduates both in Ireland and abroad. VFX involves combining live action and digitally created images together to create everything from placing real actors on a digital set through to adding fire into a fireplace scene in a TV commercial. It was for Visual Effects that BCFE animation graduate Richie Baneham won an Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards for his work on the film Avatar.

Another exciting development in BCFE in 2018 was the introduction of a new Instrument Making strand within Ceoltóir, the Higher National Diploma in Irish Traditional Music Performance. Uilleann Pipe Making, Flute Making, and Whistle Making, taught in cooperation with Na Píobairí Uilleann, is a response to the skills shortage within the traditional music community in terms of instrument making. The flute and whistle strands are taught by renowned flutemaker Hammy Hamilton and the pipemaking strand is taught  by Donnacha Dwyer on behalf of Na Píobairí Uilleann.  All instrument making classes are taught in Na Píobairí Uilleann’s PipeCraft Training Centre in Clonshaugh.

BCFE has strong Social Care, Business, Media and Television departments. Social Care offers one year level 5 courses in Early Childhood Care and Education, Pre-Nursing, Community and Health Services and Care of the Person with Special Needs. It has a long established two year HND in Social and Community Work.

All courses are open to Leaving Certificate students and to mature applicants. Maureen Conway, principal of BCFE, encourages all prospective students and parents to come along and explore the courses. “We are committed to providing excellence education and we want to help prospective students, both those coming directly from school and mature students returning to education find the right course for them. Our courses are designed to facilitate learning, progression and success.”