Solas – Guiding pathways to success

More options for students with links to Further Education Training and Apprenticeship information on the CAO

For students, choosing their next route after leaving school may seem daunting, but there’s never been a better time to explore a wide variety of options out there to suit every learning style, all while developing skills for the next generation. 

For the first time ever, the 2022 CAO website has added new and important information for both Guidance Counsellors and students to take note of, accessible with just a click of a mouse. 

Thanks to the CAO, students can now explore a variety of Further Education and Training (FET) and Apprenticeship options via the CAO website at http://www.cao.ie/options. Now it’s never been easier to explore more options for students to suit a range of interests and aptitudes while supporting even greater learning and career prospects for school leavers.

For Guidance Counsellors, this important step towards demonstrating harmony and parity between educational routes of further and higher ed for school leavers is an important one. It’s vital that students have the information made available to them to help them make smart, informed choices about their future in relation to employment, education and training.

Already, SOLAS has calculated that over 35,000 people linked to either Apprenticeship or FET information as a result of visiting the CAO website – an encouraging sign that more and more students see FET and Apprenticeship options as the right choice to suit their needs. FET can also act as a stepping-stone into higher education, helping students progress their educational journey, while also giving them the chance to sample subjects of interest. 

Making Smart Career Choices

FET and Apprenticeship cater towards a broad range of learner interests to help students reach their potential. With courses available across every county in Ireland, they offer exciting new opportunities to meet the demands of a fast-paced and ever-changing world, designed to build the critical skills needed to support Ireland’s future. 

Both FET and Apprenticeship courses serve roughly 200,000 unique learners annually. School leavers form a key part of this number with 30,000 students taking up Post Leaving Certificate courses and over 20,000 students availing of Apprenticeships in 2020 alone. 

There is a wide variety of educational pathways to enter Ireland’s workforce, with courses available across sales, marketing, creative industries, engineering, construction, healthcare, hospitality and so much more. 

FET and Apprenticeships help students to make smart career choices, developing a skilled workforce able to meet future challenges across everything from climate change to supporting our ageing population, to meeting the demands of a digital world.

For many learners the “earn as you learn” option is growing in demand, with many school leavers wishing to fast-track their career and qualifications by taking up apprenticeships. Apprenticeships can take graduates as far as they want to go, from Leaving Certificate all the way to NFQ Levels 9 and 10. There has also been a huge increase in women taking up apprenticeships. In 2015, just 26 females were in apprenticeship. Since then there has been significant progress, rising to 1500 females by 2022. Discover a wide spectrum of courses on the Generation Apprenticeship website at http://www.apprenticeship.ie or freephone 1800 794 487 for more information on apprenticeships. 

For the FET learner, applied learning courses enable students to apply classroom theory to real-life situations to prepare students for the world of work. There is a broad range of subject choices available across fascinating areas such as engineering, hairdressing, digital media and psychology. FET is diverse, exciting, and FET is for everyone. Discover more opportunities in FET, by visiting http://www.thisisfet.ie. 

Interest in apprenticeships is also growing, with exciting learning opportunities that suit a diverse range of interests. The demand for taking up FET and Apprenticeships is out there. Keep an eye out for future communication campaigns from SOLAS highlighting FET options via the CAO online after the CAO round opens. 

Learn more about FET and Apprenticeship options here:
www.cao.ie/options