Why are PLC courses an excellent stepping stone to Higher Education?

Greenhills Community College

A PLC course is typically a one year course that allows students to progress onto courses at Higher Education through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS). PLC courses are linked with a huge number of courses at all the Universities and Institutes of Technology.

So, why choose a PLC course? PLC courses help prepare students for college life in a number of key ways:

Retention rates: Numerous studies have shown that Higher Education retention rates are significantly higher among students who have completed a PLC qualification before entry. This translates into more students successfully completing courses in Universities and Institutes of Technology. Why might this be the case? PLC courses allow students to test their interest in a particular area, to find out if they like a course and have an aptitude for the course before committing to a four year degree programme.

Specialised course skills- Throughout the duration of a PLC course, students will gain essential skills which will give them a massive advantage ahead of their peers when they start at Third Level. For instance, Nursing students will be adept at taking blood pressure readings, Software students will have experience in web design or Engineering students will have advanced skills in workshop processes.

Assignment writing skills- PLC modules typically involve a mixture of assignments that are submitted throughout the year and an examination. This follows the same model as at Third Level. Over the course of their studies, PLC students will gain skills in constructing, writing and referencing assignments that will mirror the same format used in Higher Level colleges. The skills they gain will put them far ahead of their peers when then commence their first year of college.

A year to decide your path in life-  PLC courses can be a much welcome year to find out what path to follow after the stresses of the Leaving Certificate.  Students who choose a PLC course will be rewarded with an extra year to mature and decide what they really want to do in college, while at the same time gaining a qualification in a specialised area. 

Essential life skills- Work Experience is a core module in every PLC course. As part of this module, students will complete a work placement in their vocational area. The skills gained during work experience link in with key competencies required at Third Level and can provide opportunities for part-time jobs in the future. Communications is a key module on every PLC course. Making presentations and peer collaboration are important elements of the majority of Third Level courses. The transferable skills gained while completing a PLC course ensure that students are well equipped for college life and the world of work.

Taking responsibility for learning-  PLC courses encourage students to take more personal responsibility for their learning and to develop independent learning skills.  This style of learning reflects the learning in Higher Education colleges and is a move away from the more teacher-led style employed in secondary school.

Finance- In general PLC College fees tend to be very affordable in comparison with Third Level fees. PLC students are eligible for the SUSI Grant and this will not affect any subsequent grant applications when they enter Higher Education. 

Mary McMahon Greenhills College

Mary Mc Mahon

Further Education Co-ordinator

Greenhills College

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.

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