A dearth of jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in Ireland has seen demand for post leaving cert (PLC) level courses sky-rocket this year, leaving school-leavers and redundant workers fighting it out for limited college places.
Institutions have been inundated with requests for courses, receiving on average around twice as many applications as there are places available. The demand, thought to be driven by a lack of alternative options in today’s workplace, has been described as unprecedented.
Demand in the PLC sector is also being boosted by an influx of disappointed third-level applicants who didn’t receive an offer of a college place through the the over-subscribed CAO system this year, which also fielded a record number of applications.
In all there were 78,982 applications to the CAO this year, an increase of 7.5% on 2008, and as of last week a total of 44,481 places had been accepted. Further education colleges report that they have processed 60,000 applications for the 31,688 PLC places they have available with a number of colleges reporting a significant rise in the number of applications from mature students, echoing the increasing number of job losses.