Further education in Portlaoise.
Portlaoise College recently launched its new Portlaoise Institute of Further Education website offering a wide spectrum of full-time courses in Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) levels five and levels six.
Portlaoise Institute for Further Education is part of the Laois/Offaly Education Training Board (LOETB).
Portlaoise Institute provides professional certification in fields such as beauty therapy, hairdressing, business studies, computer science, design, health and humanities and sports and recreation.
In the beauty and hair department courses include hairdressing year one and an advanced certificate in hairdressing year two.
The business department offers certified courses in business studies, information technology skills and security studies with criminology.
The computer science department courses are science studies and applied science.
The design department includes courses in digital creative media with animation and engineering technology.
The institute's health and humanities departments courses are childhood studies with special needs assisting, healthcare support, nursing studies, applied social studies and advanced certificate in social, health and community studies.
The sports and recreation department offers a certified course in sports and leisure management.
Keith McClearn is deputy principle at Portlaoise College.
“We launched a brand new website which is our main form of recruitment. We run around 16 courses throughout the year which start in September. Some students use it as a stepping stone to college as they might be too young to go to college and others use it to gain employment as it’s a higher education programme. It’s about 50/50 really.
“All courses are one year full-time courses from 9am until 4pm and people can use these as stepping stones to go to university. Some use it for experience for example someone doing the nurses studies might decide after the year that it might not be for them so rather than giving up four years they have given up one but most love what they do.
“We have around 300 students every year usually and our further education at Portlaoise College has been running for well over 20 years. The courses are open to anyone who has an interest in any of the courses on offer.
“Going to college can be a huge financial strain with each academic year costing three to four thousand euro’s. We charge €450 for the full year and if you have a medical card we only charge €200. These courses are all full awards.
“Basically just register online and wait to be called for an assessment. We have carried out 300 assessments so far and will be carrying out more in May. A handful out of the 600 to 700 may not be able for the courses for whatever reasons so we refer them to our guidance section then next year they can apply again.
“The courses are similar to the school year with all the usual holidays included and some courses like childcare do one day per week in work experience but most do two weeks work experience around February. Many create such a good impression during their work experience that they are offered employment.
“Exams are at the end of April and the start of June and we have a graduation ceremony then each year around September which is lovely for parents to see and the families of mature students.
The building has full WiFi and a cafeteria. These courses are an opportunity for students to receive 400 points,” he said.
The link to the new website is www.portlaoiseinstitute.ie
For further information you can contact Portlaoise Institute of Further Education on 057 8621480.