Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Nicola O'Higgins from Bord Iascaigh Mhara to give some advice for people considering this job:


Nicola O'Higgins


Bord Iascaigh Mhara

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  Nicola O'Higgins
You need to work with people in the industry as knowledge is everything  - where to buy, who from, when etc. Health and safety courses and a pleasant manner and drive are also important.

The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with clever technology. They will often follow the latest developments in their chosen field, and prefer mentally stimulating environments.
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Further Ed & PLC Courses
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Further Ed & PLC Courses

Further Education courses are often referred to as PLC or Post Leaving Certificate courses. These courses are valuable qualifications in their own right but can also be used as a bridge or stepping stone between second and third level education.

Most PLC courses offer awards at levels 5 and 6 on the NFQ framework, while others offer equivalent awards by professional bodies or other national or international awarding bodies, e.g. City & Guilds, BTEC etc.

Understanding QQI awards and Progression Routes.


Additional FET / PLC Course Searches

The easy-to-use FETAC Points Calculator is available here

The Higher Education Links Scheme

The Higher Education Links Scheme provides 'linked' or connecting pathways from certain named Level 5 and 6 awards through to CAO. Where an award is ‘linked’, it is recognised for application purposes by the particular Higher Education Institution. 

The Scheme 'links' specific FETAC Level 5 Certificates and some Level 6 Advanced Certificates to a number of reserved places on higher education courses and the Institutes of Technology.  In addition to this, some Higher Education Institutions operate an admissions criteria and scoring system for non-specific FETAC Level 5 Certificate and Level 6 Advanced Certificate applicants.

FETAC publish a document annually showing the progression from Level 5 and Level 6 Certificates to Higher Education courses at third Level [2013 edition pdf]. 

Detailed information on the Higher Education Links Scheme is available on here.

Common Awards System

FETAC has introduced a new awards system known as the Common Awards System (CAS). All FETAC awards will be part of CAS from 2014. CAS awards will replace existing linked FETAC awards.

A copy of the  new scoring system for 2013 Progression to Higher Education, for eligible FETAC applicants is available here.