Leading to a QQI Level 5 General Studies qualification 5M3114

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Programme Aim     

The aim of this programme is to enable the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and competence required for participation in a traineeship or apprenticeship, including a broad range of knowledge in an area of personal interest, literacy, numeracy and key skills for academic research and enquiry.

In North Connaught College our students will be facilitated to prepare for progression onto an apprenticeship course or a traineeship. They will be given the opportunities of re-skilling/up-skilling and exploring concepts and subject areas that may interest the learner in future programmes and ultimately into employment or a trade.

Students will gain vast practical experience in the areas of:

  • Functional Maths
  • Spreadsheet Methods
  • Word Processing

Other areas of study include:

  • Communications
  • Research and Study Skills

Programme Progression 

On completion of this programme learners will have the skills, knowledge and competencies in a broad range of skills to progress onto a traineeship programme or an apprenticeship.

Entry Requirements  

Education: No formal education or qualifications are required although applicants may have participated in primary and secondary education. Applicants will be expected to demonstrate a standard of knowledge, skill and competence equivalent to NFQ Level 4 when accessing this programme.

Aptitude: Applicants must have a motivation to learn, an interest in the subject and the ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies set out in the course.

Previous Experience: Applicants must be able to demonstrate a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course and be able to exercise initiative and independence when carrying out course activities.

Course Content  

Title Award Awarding Body
Communications Communications (5N0690) QQI
Functional Maths Functional Maths (4N2138) QQI
Spreadsheet Methods Spreadsheet Methods (5N1977) QQI
Research & Study Skills Research & Study Skills (5N3113) QQI
Work Experience Work Experience (5N1356) QQI
Word Processing Word Processing (5N1358) QQI

Learning Outcomes 

On completion of this programme learners will have acquired a broad range of knowledge in an area of personal interest together with key skills for academic research and enquiry. Learners will have the skills, knowledge and competencies to make informed decisions concerning participation in further education or training.

Further Details    

Below is a more detailed description of each of the Components.


One of our most important modules, whether in the workplace or in a college environment it is essential to be able to transfer knowledge in a clear and concise way and also to be aware of the different types of communication. The module covers both written and practical aspects of communication and gives learners practice and confidence for public speaking which is very important for the third level where presentations are compulsory.

Functional Maths

This course aims to equip you with the knowledge, skill and competence to recognise situations where mathematics can be used in daily life, and how to apply mathematical skills to these situations. Use of a calculator with confidence not just to perform extended calculations, requiring functions such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, but also the possibilities of using other functions such as scientific notation keys, memory keys, clear key, etc.  An introduction to indices.  Distinguish between the different forms of interest, simple and compound, and applying the appropriate given formula to a range of savings and credit options. Calculate pay slips using appropriate deductions, gross profit, net profit, VAT, etc. You will also become familiar with the different words and terms associated with pay slips. An examination of algebraic equations; what they look like and how they can used in everyday situations to solve problems. Solve problems for a range of familiar and unfamiliar, meaningful, real life situations using mathematics, deciding on appropriate mathematical techniques to use, applying the techniques, examining patterns and any relationships.

Work Experience

Students must find a work placement in which they must complete 80 hours, a diary is kept of experience learned while also the skillset of writing a C.V, cover letter and interview techniques are all covered. An excellent module for anybody wishing to prepare for a traineeship or apprenticeship.

Spreadsheet Methods

Investigate a range of common uses for spreadsheets. Explore key spreadsheet terms including cells, cell references, numeric, formulae, functions, graphs and macros. Demonstrate some common spreadsheet usability features to include use of toolbars, sorting, and filtering. Print complete or partial sections of a spreadsheet. Generate a variety of types of graphs, with appropriate titles and labels, from spreadsheet data. Demonstrate skills and resourcefulness in editing and amending spreadsheets to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Research and Study Skills

This programme seeks to develop in learners, a detailed knowledge of research and study skills, using a variety of approaches including lectures, class discussion, team work, presentations, etc..  The learner will develop a knowledge of research and experimental methods, the essential features of copyright law. Learn the gathering of information using primary and secondary sources. Be able to demonstrate mathematical skills involved in sampling, averaging and data representation. Examine effective strategies for study and preparation for examinations, including note-taking skills and revision methods. Examine their own personal learning styles.

Word Processing  

Describe a typical word processing application in terms of common uses and features including – text manipulation, document formatting, graphics, tabs, tables, mail merge and label printing. Identify frequently-used toolbar icons and related functions associated with file handling and text formatting. Create documents applying a range of text processing features including – margins and line spacing, indenting text and paragraphs, borders and shading, numbering and bullets. Use a range of proofing tools including – spell check, thesaurus, search and replace. Apply file management facilities, including – creating files and folders, saving files in different formats, copying files and folders, renaming files. Apply a range of table features. Create mail merge and labels. Improve personal performance by using additional resources such as the help facility to solve familiar and unfamiliar word processing   problems.


A registration fee of €200 is payable by all entrants to plc courses in Ireland. Those with a medical card or a maintenance grant do not have to pay this registration fee. Maintenance grants or Back to Education allowances are available for eligible students.  A student service charge of €85 is payable by all students.