The further education and training sector provides a broad range of options to meet the needs of over 300,000 learners. The PLC programme is the largest of the full-time further education and training, FET, programmes with up to 30,000 PLC places available annually. Each ETB determines how best to distribute and plan the programmes to meet the needs of their area.
This year, 2,697 PLC places were allocated to Dublin-Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board, which is responsible for FET in Dublin 15. As part of a plan to establish PLC provision in this area, Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board has been working with two local community schools to start PLC courses in September 2019. Unfortunately, the lack of uptake for these courses has meant they were unable to commence as planned. The education and training board will continue to work with my Department and the schools in Dublin 15 to support the establishment of PLC provision in 2020.
Also this year, 2,438 PLC places were allocated to Louth-Meath Education and Training Board, an increase of over 40%. This increase gives scope for further expansion in PLC enrolment in the future, including for Dunboyne.
Opportunity to progress to third level is a national priority for the Government and my Department. A review of the National Access Plan for Equity of Access to Higher Education 2015 to 2019 was published in December 2018. The review acknowledges significant developments in implementation, including increased investment in new access initiatives.