Over 1,000 extra college places will be offered through the CAO this year.
The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, today (Tuesday June 28) announced the expansion, which consists of a total 1,056 targeted college places in areas such as IT, engineering and nursing.
Speaking today, Minister Harris said, "I’m delighted to announce these additional college places as I know it is a constant concern for Leaving Cert students. This year we have made a real effort to make sure that they are in sought after courses, and ones that will produce graduates with the skills our country is crying out for.
"Some examples of courses receiving extra places this year include IT, architecture and construction, nursing, engineering, education and welfare."
He continued: "In the coming weeks the Minister for Health and I will also bring a memo to Government to outline a 5-year plan to secure extra places in medicine, another area in which we are in need of more qualified staff.
"After a stressful number of weeks for school-leavers, I hope today will offer some good news about the weeks ahead."
Minister @SimonHarrisTD speaks about the choices at third level as he announced over 1,000 extra college places today, including 60 medicine places, and 16 new apprenticeships such as farm management, horticulture and software solutions architecture. https://t.co/ScrOskQ8Zn— Department of Further and Higher Education (@DeptofFHed) June 28, 2022
Additionally, 16 apprenticeships in fields including roofing, robotics, cladding and automation are also currently in development and will commence this year (2022).
He said, "While these extra CAO places are a vital and welcome development, it is essential we continue to expand our third level system for everyone. There must be multiple pathways that learners can take as they prepare for their chosen careers.
"That’s why we are working hard to introduce new apprenticeship programmes, such as the ones in bar managing and wind turbine maintenance which we launched in March, and we have also improved the financial incentives on offer to employers to take on apprentices, particularly female ones."
Minister Harris also confirmed work is underway to improve pathways from further to higher education as part of the government's Unified Tertiary System strategy.
He said, "There should be no barriers for students who want to pursue their chosen educational and career goals. Students anxiously awaiting their Leaving Cert results should know that while their points are important, they alone will not determine whether they can succeed in their education and career ambitions.
"There are different routes to getting where you want to go, and we are working hard to ensure they are accessible to everyone."
The minister also announced the abolition of the €200 levy for Post-Leaving Cert courses.
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