FET: a chance to decompress, progress and develop career resilience

October 12, 2020

Mary Hickie, principal of one of CDETBs largest colleges Coláiste Dhúlaigh, speaks very movingly in a recent Near FM interview about the challenging return to college for her 1,400 full-time and part-time students, as everyone manages online and blended learning.  She speaks especially about the cohort of students who have been in their bedrooms since March with none of the rites of passage like Leaving Certificate, debs, trips abroad and summer jobs.  They deserve to be supported, she says, and the staff at Coláiste Dhúlaigh, like every staff member across the CDETB,  have spent the entire summer up-skilling in technology and ways to deliver blended and hybrid learning.

She speaks also to the older student who might be thinking of coming back.  Her message is ‘If you’re thinking of coming back to education don’t be frightened.  We can very quickly bring you up to speed – give you the digital skills you need to progress on your chosen path’.

Mary talks about the different programmes on offer; Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) full-time courses.  Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Skills to Compete, Traineeships, Skills to Advance.  She speaks excitedly about their new Apprenticeship in Hairdressing, and their highly established degree courses in Animation.

As Mary says ‘If we had a planned transformation of the education system to go digital, it would have been a long hard road. If you look at how far we’ve come in the last six months, it’s unbelievable’. This is FET and the exact same thing that Mary describes so well has been replicated in 12 other colleges and two training centres across the city. This 20 minute podcast with Mary is well worth a listen here.

It’s not on and not right.

Minister Simon Harris told the Oireachtas recently that this country has been too long behind the curve in embracing FET.

“I think we should drop the snobby attitude in this country . . . that everyone should be funneled straight from secondary school into university. It’s not on and not right. We’re behind the curve in relation to things like apprenticeships,” Mr Harris told the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education.

New apprenticeships offer degree and even master’s level qualifications in areas with acute skills shortages, Mr Harris said

Read the full article by Carl O’Brien in the Irish Times: ‘Snobby obsession with university for school leavers must end’.

FET could provide a chance to decompress.

In the same paper Breda O’Brien wrote recently:

The class of 2020 have had a very rough time. They prepared for years for terminal exams which never happened. As for those who took a year out, none of them foresaw the massive jump in points. FET could provide a chance to decompress.

One of the most attractive aspects of FET colleges is the level of care for students and the small class sizes. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, most classes will be even smaller this year but will still be offering significantly more in-person classes than higher education will.

FET courses already have better retention rates than higher education but those who progress from them to college also have higher retention rates when they get there.

Read Breda O’Brien’s full article ‘Why the class of 2020 should consider Further Education’ here.


We are in a world in which career resilience is the new buzz term.

In this recent student special in Hotpress magazine, Mary Stokes, who is a Guidance Coordinator in FET, describes FET as ‘a route to a successful career that is often overlooked in the race for a place in university – but, in a world in which career resilience is the new buzz term, Further Education and Training has become more important than ever. So, as you start to plan your next move, it makes sense to check out what FET has to offer.’

In this article Mary describes how CDETBs ‘Ballyfermot College of Further Education is celebrating its 40th anniversary by rising defiantly to the challenges of Covid-19.

She says;  ‘Crucially, the Music Department at Ballyfermot views the music industry from a contemporary standpoint – supporting musicians in developing a wide range of the practical skills necessary in today’s competitive market. With top-class industry-standard studios and resources, BCFE offers the modern musician and producer the ability to develop their craft on the tools used by professionals. Read the full article here. Student Special: Hotpress Magazine -The Benefits of Further Education and Training.

Why not act now?

Consider getting your national QQI qualification in a CDETB College.

To find out more click on a  CDETB College of Further Education or Training Centre near you.
Or search our course database to find the course of your choice.

Click here for advice and supports about Coronavirus Covid 19.
To ensure the safety and well-being of all students government regulations on safety and social distancing will be strictly adhered to.



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