Route from School to University is not a ‘One Size Fits All’ Model

Speaking ahead of this week’s Leaving Cert results, Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said that the established route from school to university is not a ‘one size fits all’ model.

Andrew Brownlee, CEO, SOLAS

Andrew Brownlee, CEO, SOLAS

“The impact of Covid-19 has been immeasurable on all sectors of society,” Mr Brownlee said.

“Despite Covid-19, one thing has remained consistent this year, the annual scramble for Leaving Cert students to figure out their next step.

“This year brings the added pressure and the complication of trying to map out a future alongside Covid-19. Ahead of the publication of Leaving Cert results, SOLAS is encouraging students, and their parents, to look at their options and to realise there are diverse opportunities open to them as well as the traditional route of entry to higher education directly from school.

“Post-secondary education is not a ‘one size fits all’ model. Further education and training can offer students many benefits, such as smaller class sizes, learning on-the-job apprenticeships, and traineeships.

“After such a difficult and overwhelming year, I would encourage this years’ cohort of Leaving Certs to look at all the options available to them.”

Benefits of Further Education and Training

The benefits of Further Education and Training (FET) highlighted by SOLAS include the following:

  • PLC courses can provide a foundation for students in specific sectors before they commit to completing an undergraduate course. Examples include Pre-University Law and Pre-University Science.
  • Recent research has shown that having a foundation in FET helps the chances of getting your degree if you move into higher education. We also know that 1 in 5 of the current intake in Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities come from FET, with more and more people recognising the value of this FET-HE pathway.
  • Many Universities, Colleges, and Institutes of Technology have programmes in place to recognize FET qualifications as a route to entry. If a student completes a PLC program with good results and meets specific criteria, they have a good chance of securing a place on a third-level course.
  • FET courses and programs are available in every county in Ireland, delivered through 16 Education and Training Boards nationwide.

Apprenticeships are now available in a wide variety of areas, including international financial services, recruitment, auctioneering, engineering, hospitality, and insurance practice. More apprenticeships will be announced in the coming months.

“Leaving Cert results time is stressful for both students and parents. Often, there is huge pressure on young people to have their education and career path mapped out, and unexpected Leaving Cert results can seem like a catastrophe and a dead-end for these plans,” Mr Brownlee said.

“With the added pressure of Covid-19 uncertainties, we’re encouraging students and parents to explore all their options – the CAO is not the only route to take.”

Go to for more information on Further Education and Training opportunities.



SOURCE: Materials provided by SOLAS
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.



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