Alternative Education Routes

Image of two hands holding matching jigsaw puzzles into the sunset, signifying future plans.

Alternative Education Routes

To have a successful career you don’t necessarily have to take the most linear path to get there. In the past few decades the recommended educational route for young Irish students was through the third level stream either by attending a university or an institute of technology. In more recent years businesses are now placing value on alternative education routes leading to a successful career.

With exams fast approaching for students across the country, it is time to stop panicking and start exploring all your options.

Post Leaving Certificate (PLC)

Undertaking a PLC is an excellent option for a student that isn’t entirely certain about the path they want to take after finishing secondary education. Most PLCs offer a wide range of courses from Music Technology to Electronics which usually last one year. On completion you graduate with a level 5 or 6 FETAC (Further Education and Training Award Council) qualification. Many of the courses offered by PLCs are directly linked to level 7 and 8 courses offered by universities and institutes of technologies. So, if you were unsuccessful in getting your chosen course after completing your leaving certificate attending a PLC can be the perfect stepping stone to getting there the following year.


Everyone learns differently, many like the structure of the education system, while others are more hands on and learn by doing. Apprenticeships are an excellent alternative for those who don’t enjoy mainstream education. They give you a real understanding of the working world while also giving you the opportunity to develop valuable skills. This is becoming an increasingly popular route for many students that in the past would have been forced to go down the more traditional education route. Many companies value apprenticeships as much as they do formal education routes. For further information on apprenticeships in Ireland please see:

Online Education

For those who wish to further their education but may not be able to do so for financial or familial reasons, or perhaps don’t feel comfortable in a large education setting can avail of online education facilities. Technology has allowed universities and colleges to offer their courses online. This is a fantastic means for both those entering third level education for the first time or those returning to education and upskilling. The Springboard run by The Higher Education Authority offers over 8,000 free online, part-time courses for those returning to education, looking to upskill or those looking to change their career path. For more information on the Springboard please see:

Education is one of our most valuable commodities and shouldn’t be taken for granted. However, employers have come to realise the value of skills that are learned and developed differently. PLCs, apprenticeships and online education are not only for post-secondary students but also for mature students. These options are an excellent alternative of working your way up the career ladder.

If you require any further information on alternative education routes that lead to your dream career, please feel free to call +353 (01) 5461115 or email us at

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