Lord Mayor of Cork City Cllr Colm Kelleher pictured with the current class of Carpentry and Joinery students at Cork Training Centre.

College is just one option!

As Leaving Cert graduates scramble for college places, the Lord Mayor of Cork has pointed out that the traditional university route is not always the “be all and end all”.

The current Lord Mayor might be known now for his political endeavours, but in a former life, the Fianna Fáil councillor was a well-established carpenter across the city and county.

A former student of Coláiste Choilm, the Lord Mayor said that the inspiration to embark on a career in carpentry came to him during his youth.

He said: “My family have always been very business orientated and always worked for themselves, on both my mam and dad’s side, and I was heavily involved with my grandmother’s shop.

“That’s what led me to my passion for woodwork initially. I had decided by my third year in secondary school that I was going to go in to carpentry.”

After completing his Leaving Certificate, Cllr Kelleher undertook an apprenticeship while attending the Cork Training Centre, formerly known as FÁS.

The centre offers a diverse range of courses, supports and training, and is where many of Cork’s tradesmen and women complete traditional craft apprenticeships.

“I still have all the tools in the shed, and a coffee table that’s been unfinished for a long time, and a long time has turned in to a couple of years,” said the Lord Mayor.

Meanwhile, time is quickly running out for Leaving Cert graduates who have until Monday afternoon to accept their college offers.

On Tuesday, the Central Applications Office (CAO) issued 82,175 round one college offers to 55,221 applicants. These offers consist of 49,358 Level 8 course offers and 32,817 Level 7/6 course offers.

Applicants looking to start college this year now have until 3pm on Monday to accept their offer, with many having received two simultaneous offers, one from the Level 8 list and one from the Level 7/6 list.

Applicants must now choose between these lists and can only accept one offer per offer round.

Round two offers will be available to view on the CAO website from 10am on 20 September and applicants must respond by 3pm on 22 September. Offers will then be issued on a weekly basis to fill any remaining places.

Point requirements for many Level 8 course have risen significantly this year with a large portion of applicants expected to miss out on their first choice courses.

Eileen Keleghan, CAO Communications Officer, is encouraging applicants to carefully consider any offers received in this round.

“One of the common queries that we receive at the offers stage is around order of preference. Applicants who receive a lower preference offer can accept this offer and it will not prevent them from receiving an offer of a course higher up on their courses list in a later round,” she said.

With competition so high for places this year, Ms Keleghan is urging applicants to also consider their first offer carefully as it may be the only one they will receive.

“If an applicant has not received an offer, they will receive a statement of application email. It is important that applicants notify CAO immediately if there are any errors or omissions in their CAO account. They must make sure to do this as soon as possible to allow any corrections to be considered for subsequent rounds,” said Ms Keleghan.

A comprehensive video guide to the CAO offer and acceptance process is now available at cao.ie.