Benefit of ‘Round Zero’ offers at Cavan Institute highlighted

The Director of Cavan Institute is encouraging students and their parents to look at the diverse range of options open to students locally, as well as the traditional direct entry route to Higher Education.

Ann Marie Lacey made the call this week following the issuing of the first round of CAO offers last Friday.

She says that, while Leaving Certificate predicated grades were generally well received, there was disappointment for some students who saw points rise for their preferred courses at Institutes of Technology (ITs) and Universities.

Ms Lacey said that this, coupled with the impact of Covid-19 on the Leaving Certificate class of 2020, has put increased pressure on young people trying to map out their future.

At the same time, they are adjusting to a “new normal” with a changed learning environment meaning a mix of on-site and on-line learning for most third level institutions this coming academic year.

Ms Lacey is encouraging parents and students to consider a Post Leaving Cert (PLC) course while they weigh up their options.

She pointed to the ‘round zero’ offer system, which say over 4,000 places in universities and ITs offered to PLC students on August 8 last. These students were able to use their Leaving Cert points and PLC points combined to access their chosen courses.

“As well as PLC courses, opportunities also exist in the areas such as apprenticeships and traineeships and courses in Further Education and Training (FET) can offer excellent benefits, such as smaller class sizes and on-the job training,” Ms Lacey further outlines.

Benefits of further education and training

Mr Andrew Brownley, CEO of SOLAS, the state body responsible for the Further Education and Training sector, recently outlined the many benefits of FET including 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. Also, one in five of the current intake in ITs and technological universities come from FET, with more and more people recognising the value of this FET-HE pathway.

Many universities, colleges and ITs have programmes in place to recognise 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.

Career opportunities

Ms Lacey also stated that, while progressing to higher education is still a focus for many, students should be mindful of the career opportunities open to them directly after completing a PLC course either at Level 5 and Level 6.

As one of the largest FET colleges in the Country, Cavan Institute offers over 70 PLC courses as well as apprenticeship and traineeship courses. These courses are all offered under the umbrella of Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board, (CMETB) which provides a wide variety of FET courses throughout the two counties.

Covid restrictions

With Covid restrictions, Cavan Institute will be offering a mix of on-site and on-line learning this coming academic year and on-site class sizes will be restricted to a maximum of 12 students. The benefits of direct contact with students will not be lost at Cavan Institute, according to Ms Lacey, with students attending the Institute for all practical classes, as well as a range of theory classes.

Support will also be available to students in the areas of blended learning and over 100 new laptops will be available to students on a loans scheme.

A wide range of measures have been put in place to make the institute as safe as possible for both staff and students with two-metre distancing being implemented in all theory classrooms.

Student induction will start next week and guidance with timetabled classes commencing on September 2020.

Vacant places

While many of the courses at Cavan Institute are now full and waiting lists are in place, there are still some vacancies in certain course areas.

If you are interested in making a late application, you can go to: and apply on-line.