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Further education and training (FET) in Ireland offers a popular range of training and education options, including Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses, apprenticeships, traineeships, skills training, community education, adult literacy, and vocational training. FET courses are often vocational, aiming to equip students with specific job skills


Post Leaving Certificate courses

The Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme is a full-time programme for young people who have completed their Leaving Certificate and for adults returning to education. PLC courses are mostly provided by colleges of further education and training centres in the 16 Education and Training Boards around Ireland. Some voluntary, secondary and community and comprehensive schools also provide PLC courses.


PLC courses lead to a certificate at NFQ Level 5 or 6 and can be used to apply for a place in higher education. A large variety of courses are offered with a mix of practical work, academic study and work experience. There are about 30,000 PLC places available in Ireland each year.



An apprenticeship programme is a work based education and training option with  a mix of on-the-job training and classroom learning and  leads to a nationally recognised qualification. There are now apprenticeships available in a variety of areas, not just the traditional trades leading to recognised awards from levels 5 to 10 on the NFQ.


Read more about apprenticeships here.


Progression to higher education

The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) gives learners the opportunity to use their QQI award at Level 5 or 6 major award to apply, through the CAO, for a place in the first year of a higher education programme.


Information on linked awards, special requirements and places available on higher education programmes are published by the admissions office of each higher education institution and on the CAO website.