Do you want to upskill, reskill or move into a new career area? Then a Further Education course might just be the perfect option for you.
So, what is a Further Education (FE) course? FE courses are typically one year in duration. They allow students progress onto study at Higher Education (Universities and Institutes of Technology) or directly into employment. In this week’s column we are going to focus on how FE courses facilitate students to move directly into the labour market.
Many FE courses provide the qualification that is required if you wish to work in a particular sector or industry. For example if you want to work as a Healthcare Assistant in a hospital, the required qualification is a QQI Level 5 award in Healthcare. The same is true for Childcare, where the required qualification to work in a creche or as a Special Needs Assistant is the QQI level 5 award in Early Childhood Care and Education. The majority of Further Education courses lead to a QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) award, which is a nationally and internationally recognised qualification. As well as QQI, some FE Colleges offer awards by other awarding bodies such as CompTia. If you complete a CompTia Cybersecurity Analyst course for instance, you possess the industry recognised qualification to obtain employment in this rapidly growing sector.
Throughout a FE course, students will gain specific essential skills which will benefit them in their prospective careers, increasing their employability and transition to the world of work. For instance, Nursing students will be adept at taking blood pressure readings and client care. Software students will have experience in web design and programming. Engineering students will have spent the year studying specific core modules such as Electronics and Mechanics in a specialised workshop. Office Skills students will be experience in using Microsoft Office.
The transferable skills gained while completing a Further Education course ensure that students are well equipped for the world of work on completion of their programme. Work Experience is a core aspect of Further Education courses. As part of this module, students complete a work placement in their vocational area. The skills and networking gained during work experience can provide valuable opportunities for employment in the future. In fact many students on courses such as Medical Secretary obtain offers of employment from their current employer while on work placement.
Communications is a key module on Further Education courses. This module covers the skills needed for jobs searching, CV writing and interviews. Making presentations and peer collaboration are important elements of many jobs. Students will gain valuable experience in all of these areas that they can bring to their future employment.
Further Education courses can be offered on a full- or part-time basis and are available in a diverse range of areas including Art, Business, Computing, Childcare, Engineering, Healthcare, Nursing, Science and Social Care. There really is a FE course to suit every single person’s requirements.
Are you interested in pursuing a Further Education course? If so, you can find out information at www.qualifax.ie or by going directly to the website of the FE college you are interested in. However please be advised that most courses start in September and if you wish to be considered for a place at your local FE College, you need to apply without delay.
Mary Mc Mahon
Further Education Co-ordinator