Jul 032008

Written for the Evening Echo Career Moves section

image There are all sorts of reasons why people don’t go to college straight from school. There are also plenty of reasons why, after a while, those same people feel they’d like to broaden their educational horizons and explore the opportunities a third level qualification can offer.

But making that transition back into education can be daunting. Where do you start? Do you have the right qualifications to meet the often stringent entry criteria? Isn’t there a complex application process to endure? Too many questions, when what you need are answers.

One of those answers could be a joint initiative run by Business Information Systems at UCC, CIT and Cork City Partnership. The Diploma in Applied Business Computing has been specifically designed to offer people a path back to third level education, ultimately leading to employment in the vibrant arena where business and technology overlap.

“The course started 8 years ago, with Tom Butler as Programme Director, and was aimed at providing a second chance for those who missed out on third level education,” explained current Programme Director, John McAvoy of UCC. “For a wide variety of reasons, individuals may experience difficulties in their lives which prevented them from achieving a third level qualification. This course aims to give them an opportunity to meet their potential.”

The course is full time and runs over two years. It is open to adults over 20 and unlike most third level courses, there are no prerequisites when it comes to academic qualifications. Every applicant is judged on their own merit, and the application process couldn’t be more straightforward: simply fill in the application form and attend an interview.

Successful applicants aren’t required to pay any tuition fees for the course, and there are numerous maintenance grants and financial support schemes available to students, depending on their individual circumstances.

The course introduces students to a wide variety of disciplines spanning information technology and business, including computer networks and IT infrastructures, database design and development, computer programming, multimedia development for Internet applications, information systems for business, accounting and economics.

It is a course designed with the students in mind. “It is a University qualification so it is a tough course, but we tailor the course to suit [the students]. They still work as hard as all other third level students, but we adapt the course to take their background into account.” said John McAvoy.

“This course really prepared me for working on computers,” commented Pat McCarthy, who graduated from the Diploma in Applied Business Computing in 2004. “I didn’t realise at the time that the subjects were so relevant to the type of skills required by Business.”

John McAvoy is justifiably proud of what students achieve on the course. “Every two years, we have a group of students dressed in academic robes at a graduation ceremony they would have missed out on if not for this Diploma,” he said.

Two years from now a new group of students will be graduating from UCC with a Diploma in Applied Business Computing. Could you be one of them?

For more information on the Diploma in Applied Business Computing contact John McEvoy by e-mail on j.mcavoy@ucc.ie or by telephone on (021) 4903338.

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