Changes to the CAO website

As promised in this month’s guide, I am outlining the much publicised changes to the CAO website for this academic year.

On November 5th 2021, the CAO introduced some changes to their website to give better visibility to other career pathways rather than just Universities and IT’s. They are now providing links from their website to the Apprenticeships and Further Education and Training websites.

The main reason they have done this is, under instruction from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, is to show students that other pathways exist. The hope is that more students will give serious consideration to these other routes to careers thereby relieving the pressure off the points race. It will also encourage students to pick routes to further education which may better suit their best way of learning.

Apprenticeships provide a more practical route where work is combined with specific learning relevant to that job. Further Education and Training provides qualifications in a less arduous setting with the focus on acquiring specific skills such as caring for the elderly or practical computer skills. They also enable successful students to gain entry to Higher Education.

It must be noted that, for the time being, these changes are merely links to other websites. An applicant must still apply in the same ways as previously. Only those applying for higher education courses can do so on the CAO website. Those wishing to apply for an apprenticeship must do so directly with an employer who is approved for apprenticeship training. Those wishing to do a Further Education Course (sometimes called a Post Leaving Cert course, or PLC) must do so directly to the institution offering that course. However, all these courses are listed on the FET Course Hub website with links provided to the individual institutions.

I have scheduled a detailed look at apprenticeships and FET courses for the February guide. If you have any questions before then, I am happy to answer them at the next Live Q&A session .