Rough Guide to the Student Grant 2017

There’s a lot to think about when going to college. Financial support is one of the big ones. Each year Crosscare Youth Information service produces a ‘Rough Guide to the Student Grant’. Below is the 2017 version, available for you to download and share freely.

 

You can download the ‘Rough Guide to Student Grant 2017’ here

There have been a few small changes to the grant for 2017, but for most people the criteria and figures will stay the same.  If you are eligible for the ‘Special top-up rate’ the threshold has risen to €23,000. The grant for some Post Graduate students has been reintroduced. Mature students that had previously dropped out of college can now apply for a grant for a plc course and there are changes around counting bursaries and for children of naturalized citizens. More detail about this can be found from the Dept of Education or you can click on this link to view their recent announcement of the scheme.
Our guide will give you a basic introduction to the grant, mainly around the types of questions we get mostly get asked about, including the thresholds, figures and eligibility criteria.
Some of the other costs of going to college:

  • PLC Programme Participant Contribution of €200 per year for Level 5/6 (Colleges for Further Ed).  You are exempt from this if you qualify for The Student Grant.
  • Student Contribution of up to €3,000 per year for Level 7/8 (ITs/ Universities). You are exempt from this if you are eligible for The Student Grant.
  • Fee for student facilities e.g. internet, services
  • Exam fees
  • Costs for specific courses e.g. Art material for design courses, – some course material can cost over €2,000
  • Travel Costs

 

If you are having any difficulty with any of the student grant process, whether that s uncertainty about one part of the application, or you would like us to sit with you and help complete the full  application form, then we are happy to help with that difficulty.

You can give us a call, contact us via social media or email. We also have offices in Bray and Arklow where you can meet an information worker, but we can also make arrangements to visit other parts of the county to meet with groups or individuals.

A PDF version of the Rough Guide can be downloaded here below

Student Grant Rough Guide2017

 

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Guide to Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in Ireland have been undergoing a bit of a change of late.  Good news is there are a lot more opportunities now.  Our youth Information team in Crosscare have put together a rough guide to introduce you to the basics, but the important thing to know is that you can contact us if you have any specific questions that we can help you with.

Feel free to download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships

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What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is the term used to describe a period of training where you learn mostly on the job, mixing blocks of college work with full time employment. As an apprentice you will earn as you learn.  You will be paid for your work and you will gain internationally recognised qualifications.

 

Pre-Apprenticeship

A pre-apprenticeship course is for young people who want to do an apprenticeship but don’t have the minimum entry requirements.

These courses have both hands-on and classroom based modules, and aim to develop skills, knowledge and expertise to gaining an apprenticeship in a range of trades or industries.  For information you can contact us or SOLAS.

Craft Apprenticeships

Craft Apprenticeships are coordinated by SOLAS.

Entry requirements:

There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert or equivalent (QQI level 3/4).
  • In reality, however, many employers would prefer to take on those with a Leaving Cert or equivalent.

If you can’t meet these criteria, you can still become an apprentice if you:

  • Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship training course.
  • Are over 16 and have worked for at least three years in a relevant industry that SOLAS approves and have competed a successful assessment interview.

Female Bursary

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, SOLAS/ETBs offer a bursary as an incentive to employers  to encourage them to recruit more women.  More information can be found on the old FAS website

 

Occupational Apprenticeships:

There are new apprenticeships available in areas such as;

 

NFQ level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries.  There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job.  The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.  Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods.

Where to find apprenticeships:

To help find employers Careers Portal have a great list of where to find potential employers here.  Also keep an eye on their ‘news’ section which details current opportunities some of which are apprenticeships.  They also have a lot of information about existing apprenticeships including training and entry requirements.
You can also contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.  A quick tip would be to join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives and talk to potential employers.
Call into your local to SOLAS and make an appointment to talk to someone about apprenticeships. Check with SOLAS for details of employers that are looking for an apprentice.   Also their website Apprenticeship.ie gives advice on how to find apprenticeships etc.
If you are interested in Construction you can register your interest and create an account with apprentices.ie also see their vacancy page for current opportunities.

You can also check out vacancies online with Jobs Ireland.

Quick tip – keep at it and be persistent!

 

For more information download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships

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If you can’t find the information that you need about apprenticeships we are here to help you. You can find us in our office in Bray at St Bricin’s on the Herbert Rd, or in The Seomra Youth Centre. We are also in The Vault youth Centre each week, and can be contacted through the youth workers in Newtownmountkennedy and Kilcoole.

Our phone number is 01 2050502, or you can email youthspin@crosscare.ie.  You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter

 

HEAR & DARE schemes 2017

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HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) and DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) are schemes that seek to offer University places on reduced points or extra college support for applicants that are  coming from social or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are disadvantaged for reasons of a disability or learning difficulty.

We did a blog post last year outlining the different ways that you could apply and what the criteria was etc. There have been some changes this year to the DARE scheme, so we thought we would flag up the changes and remind people what the basic criteria was for each scheme. The blog post from last year can be found here (part 1) and here (part 2)

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DARE

DARE is available for school leavers under 23 who have a disability, and that can demonstrate that the disability has a negative impact on their education. the DARE Team have a list of the types of disabilities or specific learning difficulties, along with what documentation or evidence that is needed to go with the application.

hear-info-2017

HEAR

HEAR is available to school leavers under 23 who may come from social and economic backgrounds that has a negative impact on their education. Other than income, some backgrounds are under represented in university intake, so HEAR attempts to provide support to students in families that haven’t traditionally continued into higher education.

 Changes to the DARE scheme for 2017

  • This is the second year of changes to the scheme.  Some were introduced last year including a change to define the scheme as one aimed at students whose disabilities have had a negative impact on their education. With this came an evidence based Education Impact Statement. Verification of disabilities could be done by GPs from last year, and a prioritisation of students eligible for both DARE and HEAR.
  • After a review of the 2016 changes, some more adjustments have been made
  • If applying on the basis of a specific learning difficulty, psychological assessment reports can not be of any age, however, attainment scores (whether from school or psychologist) must be from after 1 Feb 2015.
  • Development Coordination Disorders are no longer required to submit a full pyscho-educational report from the previous 3 years – they can by of any ange.
  • GPs can now complete the confirmation of diagnosis.
  • Instead of a statement there is now an ‘Educational Impact Statement checklist’ that is done by the person applying alongside their teacher
  • The school section of the Education Impact Statement has been reduced, which the Scheme says will make it easier for schools to complete and for parents and applicants to understand.
  • Applicants don’t need to include previous schools if they have changed secondary school (unless their current school is unable to capture the impact of the disability).
  • There is a more comprehensive teachers manual.

To get precise and exact information and explanation of the changes you can download or read a document called ‘Important Changes to DARE 2017 by clicking HERE

Further reading
The DARE Handbook 2017

The DARE Information leaflet 2017

The HEAR information Leaflet 2017

The HEAR Handbook 2017

Leaving Cert Results – What Next?

Ok, so you’ve got  your results, and the initial shock, happiness, despair or whole range of emotions have settled. What happens next? What are your options? Our free resource is available for you to download and share outlining important dates and some of your options for your next steps.

Download our Leaving Cert Results – Whats Next? publication

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If you haven’t already applied for a student grant, it’s not too late. The deadline for priority applications was in July, but applications can still be accepted, although they will not be processed until those received in July are sorted.

You can apply through SUSI, and you can get more information through our publication, The Rough Guide to Student Grant 2016.

 

Why you should join your local library

A library is like having the internet in a building. If you can imagine it, chances are someone has written about it. And in the same way that clicking a link brings something new, each shelf or room in a library offers more and more new discoveries for the curious mind.

If you think a library is a dusty old building full of old people telling you to shush, where all you can do is get a book…then think again.

 

I was going to a flowery, romantic piece about how brilliant libraries are, how they open portals to other worlds found only in books, are a playground for the imagination, and can take you to places you might never visit. But, while all of that might be true, the reality is the Library Service speaks for itself on a much more practical level.

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Yep – That’s MY library card 🙂

What my library card does

A good library service really is one of the best things our County Council provides for us.

Think about it for a minute.

 

That’s just the stuff you take away from the library!

Stay in the library and –

  • You get free wi-fi,  and use of computers
  • There is study space if you are a student – quiet space for homework
  • You can sign up for, and take, e-learning classes (Not available in all of Wicklow’s libraries)
  • You can sit and read a magazine or newspaper freely available for all
  • There are places to find out about your local, and sometimes, family history
  • All libraries tend to have story time events for little ones, so a great place for both parents and children to meet with friends
  • There are book clubs for adult, teens and junior readers
  • There are different holiday activities including arts & crafts or different workshops (check your local library for dates of different events)
  • Blessington Library for example, hosts a lego club, autism support and citizens advice among its services.
  • It is also a great place to find out about local services on the various posters and flyers on the notice boards
  • You get REALLY friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff

 

And you know the jokes about FINES?  If you are late, they only charge 5 cent per day. So if you were a week late it would be 7days x5cent =35cent.  That is a fair deal by any standard.

 

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Image Source: Otis College of Art & Design Library – Found at mrlibrarydude.wordpress.com

 

Where can I join?

We are well served for libraries in Wicklow.  There are ten around the county, and if you can’t get out to a library, or there is none near you, Wicklow has a mobile unit that travels to different locations right around the county.

 

A tiny bit of history

I got my love of reading from my dad. I fed that love through the library in Enniskerry.  Another reason I’m fond of that library in Enniskerry is because it’s a Carnegie library. One of three in Wicklow (Bray and Greystones are the other two).  I love that fact, because Carnegie libraries are names after Andrew Carnegie from Scotland who made his fortune in America, and one of the ways he shared his wealth was by building almost 3000 public libraries around the world.

 

A short flowery bit

If I was king of the world, I’d give everyone a library card. Of course, it would be a little unnecessary because, everyone can already get a library card for free, or at least they can in Co Wicklow.

Libraries are for everyone. They don’t discriminate.  Whether you are a millionaire who could buy their own library, or a poor family that can’t afford to buy a single book, your library card entitles you to the same service, the same welcome and the same experience.

Books broaden our horizons. They are the gateways to possibility and potential. So libraries are like a great bunch of keys to a humongous number of gateways…yeah, too much!!

 

Join your local library. You’ll never regret it.

 

Our tips for better studying

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Studying!! It’s such a pain in the bottom area

All that time going over the same stuff till your eyes fall out and hardly anything sticks in your brain. Of course now that Christmas has gone, Mocks are upon us, and  your Junior Cert/Leaving Cert or end of year exams are inching closer, the pressure to study more and more is probably being piled on in school and at home.

 So now is the time to develop some good study habits so that you can still have a life, and reduce the amount of stress you are going through as exam time gets closer.

 

Get organised! Think about where and when you are studying. Have a clutter free space. Tidy your room, maybe have folders to put your notes in – one for each subject.

Plan a timetable – Have a look at your full week, include school, meals and weekends. Each day add time to do your homework, allow time for breaks, pick which subjects you will spend time studying each daystudy tips how to study-page-001

Make a study plan each week – different to a timetable because you will look at what you are hoping to get done by the time you finish that week’s work. Set yourself goals or targets.  Don’t spend forever making plan after plan, just note down what you need to do for that week and break it down into smaller chunks that will get your to your target.

Regular breaks – While its important to put in the time, your time is used better doing 20-25 minute chunks and then having a short break.

Limit the distractions. Switch off the TV If you have if you get worked up and anxious without your phone and can’t switch it off, try leaving it in a different room, or you can download an app that blocks notifications for a set time while you study. Some people study better with music, some need total silence. If you have music, make it background music, not something intense that distracts you from work

distractionDiet and exercise – try to avoid sugary snacks and fizzy drinks. You’ll get a quick burst and then crash. Use your breaks to have a quick walk or to do some stretches.

Study with friends can be a great way to help each other. Not to compete or compare yourself to others, but it can useful to have others around whom you can ask questions

 

 

Studying can be difficult and boring, but it is an important part of getting the best grades you can from your exams. The tips above are quite general but should help most people to find a study routine and environment that will help. For more detailed support have a look at our attachments

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You can download our Study Tips Posters using the links below

Study Tips Poster 1

How to Study Poster

Study Tips poster 2

 

HEAR And DARE Schemes – What are they? How can they help? (Pt 2)

Research has shown that students form certain groups are under represented in higher education. Students who Come from a background where nobody in your family ever went to university, or where there is no wage coming into the house are less likely to go to university. In part 2 of our blog posts looking at the HEAR and DARE schemes, we have a look at the HEAR scheme which aims to support those very students.

HEARDARE

What is HEAR?

Standing for Higher Education Access Route, HEAR is a scheme which aims to improve the opportunity for school leavers, from what is termed socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to get into University or college.

Students may benefit from a reduction in points to help get your college or university place, plus, once in college or university you can access different personal and social supports, such as extra tuition.or even (if available) extra financial help with grants or scholarships.

How would I know if I am eligible for HEAR?

Visit the HEAR website at www.accesscollege.ie where you will find the range of criteria that applicants need to meet. You need to be under 23 and meet the residency rules.

There are 6 indicators from which applicants need to meet a combination of in order to be eligible. For example, everybody needs to meet the income limit, but that can be combined with having a medical/GP visit card, and attending a DEIS school.

The six indicators are:

  1. Income: Your family income is on or below the HEAR Income Limit
  2. Medical/GP Visit Card: Your family has a Medical or GP Visit Card that is in date on 31 December 2015
  3. Means Tested Social Welfare: Your family got a means tested social welfare payment for at least 26 weeks during 2014
  4. Socio-economic Group: You belong to a group that is under-represented in higher education. This based around occupation and employment status of parents or guardians. The groups are non-manual workers group and semi- and unskilled manual workers group.
  5. DEIS School attendance: You completed 5 years in a second level school that takes part in the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) scheme run by the Dept of Education & Skills.
  6. Area Profile: You like in what is considered a disadvantaged area where there may be high unemployment rates (for example)

The different combinations are a mix of Indicator 1 and a combination of 2 others

Hear indicator

How do I apply for HEAR?

Much like the DARE scheme, you need to apply through CAO by 1 February 2016, indicating you wish to access the HEAR route.

You will need to complete the HEAR application form by 1 March 2016 and you will need to have your supporting documents submitted by 1 April 2016.

What supporting documents will I need?

You will need to be able to show your family income for the previous year, so you will need either a P21 from the Revenue, or self-assessment form if your parents/guardians are self employed or engaged in farming, OR a statement from the Dept of Social Protection of your parents/guardians receive a social welfare payment.

There may be other documents needed for different individual family circumstances.

Anything else I should know?
There is plenty of support and advice available if you want to check you are doing things right. All colleges have a staff member who can advise on the HEAR Applications. The CAO Helpdesk can help.
We in the youth information service can help with applications
And of course there are the HEAR advice clinics held in various venues around the country on Saturday January 16th 2016.
The HEAR website has plenty of support documents and forms available to download – we’ve linked to them below for your benefit.

Financial support is available through the SUSI system, but that is totally separate from DARE and has its own criteria based around household incomes and progression through the education system.