Dunboyne College to go to 1000 students!

             In December of 2018 Dunboyne College received the ideal Christmas present with confirmation from LMETB, Solas, and the Department of Education that the college will have the teaching resources to reach 1000 students from next year. This coupled with the fact that work on identifying a new site for the development of the new campus is well advanced means that the only college of further education in County Meath can develop even more new programmes to add to its existing 44 courses, as well as developing new traineeships, apprenticeships and HND qualifications into the future. The college serves Meath, west Dublin and north Kildare but students are currently coming from other parts of Leinster as well. Last year we had over 2100 applicants for 800 places so the new allocation for additional students is most welcome.

The progression opportunities to third level from Dunboyne College are significant and this past summer 241 of our graduates received honours degree Level 8 offers and 208 received Level 7 ordinary degree offers. Many mature students also received early offers and some has already taken up offers in the UK for nursing, law or sports. This year our students are in nearly every third level college in the country from Dublin to Dundalk, Athlone to Galway, Waterford to Sligo. As usual some of our local universities had the bulk of the offer especially Maynooth University five miles away with 85 offers including 49 for Arts as well as multiple offers for Social Science, Science and Business and Law. There were also numerous offers to other universites including 22 to DCU, 14 to UCD, 8 to Trinity College, 8 to NCI, and 68 to DIT. It was similar story for our local I.T. College in Blanchardstown where there were 126 offers in Business, Creative Media, Sports Management and Coaching, or Early Childhood Care and Education. Other IT colleges around the country now have Dunboyne College including 25 offers to Dundalk I.T., 17 to Athlone I.T., 17 to Tallaght I.T., 16 between I.T. Sligo and Galway Mayo IT, and 9 to I.T. Carlow. There are also students in Waterford, Letterkenny, Tralee and Thurles. Four of our students enrolled in University College Galway this year and 2 in University College Cork for courses ranging from Arts to Midwifery.

Dunboyne College of Further Education has now grown to over 820 students doing QQI level 5 and 6 courses at our campus in Dunboyne Business Park and is the only dedicated PLC further education college in County Meath and the surrounding areas. Well over 90% of the students who have achieved a full QQI level 5 award with Dunboyne College in recent years received third level offers or have accessed the career of their choice. Those who choose not to go the third level proceed directly to employment as the skills achieved at QQI level 5 and 6 are much sought after by industries in this region in areas like childcare, healthcare, cookery, beauty, haircare, business, tourism, animal care, etc. The feedback on the courses from students has been excellent in terms of the new skills and confidence they felt they received to go on to future learning and to access job opportunities. 96% of students rate the college as either excellent or very good in a recent student survey.

One year QQI level 5 Programmes like the majority run in Dunboyne are an ideal way to pursue a course in an area of interest and access to third level option. By having a day a week in a work experience setting, it allows students to see if they are pursuing the correct option before embarking on a four year degree course or entering a career. The flexible options in Dunboyne allow students to sample various modules in September to make sure they are pursuing the correct course choice. Students often do far better at further education level as they are now studying in an area of their passion and aptitude like nursing, sports, childcare, science or cookery rather than in the Leaving cert where Irish English Math’s etc. were compulsory. As students also learn referencing, research and self-directed learning they tend to stay the full third level course afterwards, unlike many who go straight from Leaving Cert who are often not very sure of their options. Dropout rates for students who do a level 5 QQI course are less than 3% on progression compared to 10% at university level up to 20% on some courses for leaving cert entrants to IT colleges. Dunboyne courses are increasing in popularity with this year over 2100 students applying for 800 places for 2018 entry.

This year the college introduces Nutrition Health and Wellbeing, Sports and Food Science, Pre-University Business Law, Pre Primary and Post-Primary Teaching, Online Marketing, Graphic Design, Media Film and Production as well as new level 6 offerings in tourism, equine, animal science, business and sports. In 2017 Dunboyne College had introduced Applied Psychology, Sports Injury Prevention and Pre University Arts English (Liberal Arts) to add to the Equine Business, Airline Studies, Hairdressing, Pharmacy Assistant, Beauty Therapy, Office Administration, Retail Studies, Computer Systems and Networks, , and Creative Media introduced in the last two years. Dunboyne College since its inception in 2003 has run courses in Nursing, Social Studies, Art, Pre University Business and Pre University Arts programmes which have been added to over the years by students studying Childcare/Special Needs Assistant, Health Service Skills, Pre University Science, Food Science, Professional Cookery, Animal Care, Multimedia, Computer Information Systems, Sound Engineering, Sports Science, and Sports Management.

Dunboyne College Open Evening this year runs from 6 pm until 8:30 pm on Thursday the 17th January where students and parents can visit each faculty and get first-hand information on each course and view the facilities. There is an online enrolment on-going with interviews on the 28th January, 15th March 1st May and the 29th of May. Late interviews are in June and September. In fact late applications will be taken until late September depending on the availability on the courses. School leavers, mature students, lifelong learners and those who want further opportunities to progress in their jobs will all benefit from these QQI programmes in nearby Dunboyne. It should never be thought about as an extra year, but rather as a wonderful opportunity to explore what you really want to do, to make the right choice, and have a passport to make sure that choice is possible.

Denis Leonard

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