Post Leaving Cert courses (PLCs) are designed to give students the skills required for employment. They are closely linked with industry and prepare students for work. There is a mixed teaching approach taken to PLC education; students are taught through academic studies, work experience and more practical ‘hands on’ learning.
Most PLC courses are 1 year in duration and are FETAC level 5 accredited. Some courses offer an additional year for a level 6 accreditation.
Why choose a PLC course?
- Some students don’t enjoy studying and would not relish the thought of beginning a University course. Despite this they still value education and want to pursue a vocational based programme that will prepare them for a job. A PLC course is a good option for this student.
- Students might apply for a PLC because it is the chosen route to their preferred career path. Not all careers require a degree. Some jobs require training and this can be sought at PLC level and may not be available at degree level (examples include: beautician, some design careers, fashion buying).
- A PLC can be a popular choice for the student who doesn’t know what s/he wants to do. Some students like to try out a course of study for a year before pursuing it to degree level. Similarly a student may have their heart set on a particular degree but they also harbour an interest in another area and they would like to complete a one year course to explore their interest while they defer their degree programme.
- PLCs can offer a ‘back-door’ into education. If a student cannot secure a place on a degree programme through Leaving Cert. points they could chance an alternative route to education. There are many pre-university courses available through PLCs, the most popular being Pre-Nursing, Pre-University Arts, Pre-University Science, Art Portfolio courses. Most PLC qualifications will offer a student the opportunity to apply for many university or Institute of Technology courses as a FETAC student. Most courses reserve a small number of places for FETAC students.
- PLCs are widely available across the country in a wide variety of subjects. Some students need an extra year to mature before going to University (which may involve leaving home) so may choose to complete a PLC course first.
- For some a PLC course is a fall back plan. If the Leaving Cert. doesn’t go as well as planned students who apply for PLCs may wish to take up their PLC course offer rather than repeat the Leaving Cert.
How to Apply
Most PLC Colleges have an online application process available through their website. PLCs do not fall under the CAO application process. Applications are made directly to the college so keep an eye on the PLC college websites for information on when the application process opens. Most colleges begin taking applications in December or January. Students can usually apply for more than one course in the college. Places fill up quickly on popular courses so it is advisable to apply early. Students will be called for interview and successful candidates are offered places before they sit the Leaving Cert (on provision that they fulfill the entry requirements).
Grants and Access Programmes
PLC students can apply for a SUSI grant provided they are eligible. The HEAR/DARE programmes are not accessible to PLC applicants.
Some PLC Colleges in Dublin and surrounding areas:
Colaiste Dhulaigh (Raheny and Coolock)
Colaiste Ide (Finglas)
Featured Image – Blackrock Further Education Institute