Further Education and Training

Further Education and Training (FET)

In Ireland the term ‘further education’ is used to describe education and training which occurs after second level schooling, but which is not part of the third level system.

This includes apprenticeships, traineeships and Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses.



Apprenticeship is a recognised programme of training (varying between 2 and 4 years) by which people become trained craftspersons or professionals.

Apprenticeships combine on-the-job employer-based training with off-the-job training in training centres and educational colleges around Ireland and lead to awards at Levels 5- 10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Apprentices are employed under a formal contract of apprenticeship

Apprenticeship is overseen by a national Apprenticeship Council. The further education and training authority SOLAS is responsible for apprenticeship on behalf of the Government and liaises with employers and education providers.

The apprenticeships system in Ireland is currently being revised and modernised, informed by industry- led consortia. Over 20 new apprenticeships have been introduced in Engineering, Electrical, Construction and Finance, with more planned. This is in addition to established apprenticeships in the more traditional trades, for example, engineering, construction, motor, electrical and furniture.

Examples of new apprenticeships include:

For a full list of apprenticeships available to date in Ireland, please refer to the link below:


12 more have been approved by Quality Qualifications Ireland

  • Baker
  • Butcher
  • HGV Driver
  • ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer
  • ICT Associate Professional Software Developer
  • IFS Advanced Specialist
  • OEM Engineer
  • Telecommunications Field Engineer


How to Apply for an Apprenticeship in Ireland

An apprentice must be over 16 years old. The educational requirements vary for each apprenticeship. Check with http://www.apprenticeship.ie/en/apprentice/Pages/ApprenticeInfo.aspx

It is the responsibility of the apprentice to find an employer with whom they can serve their apprenticeship.


Apprentices attending a Higher Education Institute (HEI) for off the job training will be liable to pay a registration fee to the HEI.


Additional Information on Apprenticeships in Ireland:








Post Leaving Certificate Courses

Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses can be one year or 2 years in duration. A one year PLC course generally leads to a QQI Level 5 course on the National Framework of Qualifications.

A 2 year PLC course generally leads to a QQI Level 6 course on the National Framework of Qualifications.

PLC courses are designed to include practical work, academic work and work experience. The qualification can lead to employment but can also be used as a springboard to further education and training.

Courses are delivered in a wide range of subjects, such as business studies, childcare, community care, computing and technology, e-commerce, horticulture, multimedia production, sport, performing arts, horticulture, equestrian studies, hotel and catering and leisure and tourism.

How to Apply for a PLC course

Application is made directly to the Further Education College 

Find a PLC course

Further education programmes are run by both public and private colleges and institutions and lead to awards validated by the Irish government’s awards agency Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI), as well as awards validated by a range of Irish, UK and other international awarding bodies.