My Department does not prescribe minimum entry qualifications for PLC programmes. In inviting applications each year to participate in the programme, schools and colleges are reminded that ESF aid towards the cost of these courses is received on the basis that they enhance the employment prospects of young people whose skills are inadequate for the labour market; that priority for admission should therefore be accorded to applicants on the basis of need, and that these courses are suitable for those who have completed senior cycle or a VPT-1 programme or requivalent.
A special tabulation extracted from the 1995 ESRI annual school leavers survey indicates that 19 per cent of PLC participants achieved less than five Ds at leaving certificate, and a further 33 per cent achieved no honours, while 38 per cent achieved between one and three honours. The programme therefore attracts a wide variety of participants in terms of attainment levels prior to entry.
Preparation for interviews and interview techniques are a normal part of senior cycle programmes provided under the guidance service, and as part of transition year, leaving certificate applied and leaving certificate vocational programmes.
I am not aware of any particular difficulties in accessing PLC courses. However, I will be happy to investigate the matter if details of any problems are made available to my Department by the Deputy.