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Finding alternative paths to where you’re going

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Did you miss out on the college course you really wanted? Or perhaps you’re looking at all the coverage of third-level and deciding it might not be for you? You have many other options and wherever you go it will be another stage in your education, rather than the end of it. Here we look at the experience of three people who took an alternative route to third-level.

Post Leaving Cert courses

When Niamh Dolan’s CAO offer came in, she hesitated. Was this what she really wanted?

“Over the summer, I’d been working for Tara Stud, ” she says. “I was really enjoying working with horses, and then I got an offer of business in TU Dublin. But I wasn’t ready, it wasn’t what I wanted to do and I wasn’t confident that I would commit to a business degree.”

Dolan spoke to her mother, who advised her that she couldn’t turn down a college course without some kind of plan.

“She understood that I didn’t want this course, but she didn’t want me doing nothing. All my friends were going to college and I wondered if I was making the right decision. A PLC wasn’t part of the plan at first, and I decided I’d continue with Tara Stud and finish out the foaling season. When that ended the following spring, Tara Stud suggested I go to Australia, where the seasons are reversed, and work with them. So at the age of 19, that’s what I did.

“Over there, I met loads of Irish people who had gone to college. Some had done equine science, some had done business courses, but they all talked about how they enjoyed it. So I contacted Dunboyne College, explaining I wanted to do their equine science course but didn’t want to cut my time short.”

Following her PLC, Niamh Dolan has just completed her first year on Maynooth University’s equine business course and is now working part-time with Aidan O’Brien
Following her PLC, Niamh Dolan has just completed her first year on Maynooth University’s equine business course and is now working part-time with Aidan O’Brien

Dolan was allowed to start the level-five course remotely as long as she returned for the Christmas exams. She spent two months in class before Covid-19 hit and learning became remote.

Like a lot of PLC courses, this one opened up a college place for Dolan, who has just completed her first year on Maynooth University’s equine business course. She is now working part-time with Aidan O’Brien, a top trainer with Ballydoyle Stables in Co Tipperary.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without the PLC,” she says. “It gave me confidence and bridged that huge jump between school and college. I even knew more about referencing than my college classmates.”

PLC courses are usually a year in duration, though sometimes run for two years, and are offered by education and training boards throughout the country. To see the full range of PLC courses on offer nationwide, check out fetchcourses.ie.

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships have come a long way in the past decade, expanding beyond their original focus on crafts such as carpentry, plumbing and motor mechanics to include qualifications such as accounting, international financial services, insurance technician, recruitment, biopharma, arboriculture and more.

Unlike a college course, which will cost you money, apprentices are paid while they learn both on the job and in class or virtual settings. Graduates of apprentice courses usually come out with a qualification between level six (higher certificate) and level eight (higher degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications, although some apprentice courses now run at level nine (postgraduate degree) and even level 10 (doctoral degree).

New apprenticeships come on stream all the time, and one of the newer options is the advanced healthcare professional apprenticeship at Griffith College Dublin, which recently had its first intake.

Unlike a college course, which will cost you money, apprentices are paid while they learn both on the job and in class or virtual settings. Photograph: iStock
Unlike a college course, which will cost you money, apprentices are paid while they learn both on the job and in class or virtual settings. Photograph: iStock

Jonathan Murphy is head of apprenticeship services at Griffith.

“This course has been a long time coming,” he says. “It’s designed to bring people’s formal qualifications in line with the experience of their work. In nursing homes, senior healthcare assistant roles are being created which provide higher levels of support for nursing staff but there wasn’t the progression opportunity. This new apprenticeship is a two-year, level-six programme leading to a higher certificate in healthcare support practice award.”

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the rollout of the course because nursing homes, private hospitals and care settings could not release staff and it wasn’t initially possible to have students get the on-the-job training necessary. Now, however, it is up and running, with learners spending one day a week in the classroom and four days completing their workplace learning.

“Graduates will carry out the role of a healthcare assistant at a senior level, working with a registered nurse to create care plans for each individual and implementing the care plan with the team,” says Murphy. “They will apply anatomy, physiology, clinical skills, caring skills and responsiveness to people with dementia that takes into account the patient’s needs and background. It is a hands-on, senior role that involves supporting nurses with a mix of clinical and social care, and we’re looking for people who are caring, compassionate and empathetic.”

For more information on this and other apprenticeships, see apprenticeship.ie.

Traineeships

Adam O’Dea wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to do when he finished school.

“I was burnt out from school and the Leaving Cert,” says the 22-year-old from Newmarket-on-Fergus in Co Clare. “I did a PLC in Galway Technical Institute, which helped me to realise that I wasn’t as interested in pursuing an academic career. My parents wanted me to do something that was right for me, and with my dad working as a tradesman and my mum a hairdresser, they understood what it is not to go to college and still be successful.”

Through a friend, O’Dea heard about a welding traineeship with Limerick and Clare ETB. “He seemed to really enjoy it, and so I went on to the coded plate traineeship. There were evening classes two nights a week and it was held locally, so I could get the bus in. On the course, we were given goals to reach independently, while also being supervised and supported. But we were always encouraged to find our own solutions. I was paid a grant during the training, and I have come out with a good skill that can get me work anywhere in the world – anywhere there is metal. I gained confidence and a belief in myself and my abilities.”

O’Dea is currently working with Brodeen Engineering, a metal fabrication company based in Tipperary.

Adam O’Dea is working with Brodeen Engineering, a metal fabrication company based in Tipperary
Adam O’Dea is now working with Brodeen Engineering, a metal fabrication company based in Tipperary

“Traineeships are a great example of work-based learning,” says Alan McGrath of Solas, the further education and training agency. “You spend a minimum of 30 per cent of your time on the job with an employer, and you get the technical skills and training you need while being face-to-face with colleagues, service users and clients – something you don’t get in the classroom. There’s a real responsiveness to industry needs because we know where the skills gaps are.”

Andrew Brownlee, chief executive of Solas, says that traineeships are a response to a changing world. “If you look at the world of work today, there won’t be the type of job where you work for 30 or 40 years and then retire, even in areas like retail, baking and construction which worked like that in the past. Unless you continually upskill and improve your digital skills, you won’t be able to move up the career ladder. Traineeships are a good start to a career, or a good way to upskill.”


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When will face masks no longer be compulsory indoors in Spain?

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With Covid-19 vaccine campaigns in their later stages and infection rates generally lower, several countries around the world have eased their face mask rules.

Such is the case in England, where masks are now not required in shops and even on certain modes of public transport, or in the US, where fully vaccinated people don’t have to wear one in most indoor settings. 

Spain on the other hand has been strict on its mask-wearing policy throughout the pandemic and its citizens have willingly complied in general.

Many people are still wearing masks outdoors, even though they’ve not been required by Spanish authorities since June, as long as a safety distance of 1.5 metres can be maintained.

So when might it be possible to remove face masks indoors in Spain (other than for eating and drinking) ?

In early October, Spanish media reported that Health Minister Carolina Darias had said that the use of masks indoors would be required until the spring of 2022.

On Wednesday at a press conference after Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council, Darias stressed she never stated that the mandatory use of masks would end in spring next year.

“The face mask has come to stay, at least while the flu virus or other possible viruses are present this autumn,” she reiterated.

“Spain was one of the first countries to regulate the safety distance in outdoor spaces to not have to wear a mask outside, but we know the importance of its use indoors where transmission by aerosols is proven”.

“Let’s take it slowly,” Darias concluded.

READ ALSO – Calendar: When will the Covid restrictions end across Spain?

As usual, Spain’s regional governments have their own views on Covid-19 rules.

Madrid president Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the regional leader with the most liberal take on Covid restrictions during the pandemic, has again taken a different approach by actually offering something closer to a date for when mandatory mask-wearing indoors will be scrapped.

The end of indoor masks should come “after Christmas,” stated Ayuso in late September. “Total” normality and “pre-pandemic” life should not be delayed beyond the spring of 2022, she added.  

Castilla-La Mancha president Emiliano García-Page has also suggested February 2022 as an end date for mandatory masks indoors in the central Spanish region. 

Are regions relaxing any mask-wearing rules?

Catalan Education Minister Josep González-Cambray said on Wednesday that “We will get rid of face masks in schools as soon as we can”. 

According to González-Cambray, the use of face masks in schools is a “health measure” dependent on epidemiological criteria, which is why it will be down to the health departments to decide.

In Valencia, the Generalitat government has said that it will scrap the requirement for children to wear a mask in the school playground. 

“We are working every week with the Health Department and in the next few days the protocol will be updated” because the numbers have been very favorable,” said Valencia’s Minister of Education Vicent Marzà on Saturday.

However, in the Balearic Islands, the regional government has decided the use of masks in the school playground should continue, causing an outcry from many students and their parents.

Balearic  Minister of Health Patricia Gómez confirmed yesterday that the use of masks will continue to be mandatory in school playgrounds “until the situation improves”.

READ ALSO – Going out in Spain: What are the rules for bars and nightclubs?

Why wait until after the winter if the numbers are good now?

The epidemiological situation in Spain is currently the best it’s been since autumn of last year, with a 14-day cumulative incidence of 40.85 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

This means that the country is currently at very low risk for Covid infections according to the categorisation used by the Spanish health ministry.

In addition to this, almost 80 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a percentage that’s higher still if focusing only on those who are eligible for the vaccine (people aged 12 and over).

According to César Carballo, deputy emergency physician at Hospital Ramón y Cajal in Madrid, Spain is in a good epidemiological situation now which should allow to at least remove their masks outdoors.

But flu season is on its way, government leaders and health professionals are keen for the use of masks indoors to continue until after the winter.  

“There is talk that we may have more cases of the flu. We do not know. Last year the flu disappeared completely. We will see this year,” Carballo told Spanish TV channel La Sexta.

“Health personnel are exhausted … to suffer a wave of flu this year would be a severe blow,” he added. “If it were up to me I would maintain that mask-wearing indoors should be required until January or February, accompanied by hand washing and distance”.

READ ALSO: Getting the flu vaccine in Spain in 2021: What you need to know



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‘Million Years ago’: Toninho Geraes vs Adele: The latest plagiarism case in Brazilian music | USA

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Legendary jazz guitarist and composer Pat Metheny once said that Brazilian pop music “might have been the last in the world to have a sophisticated harmony.” Metheny, the winner of 20 Grammy Awards, is one of many international artists to have fallen in love with the Brazilian music of the 1970s and 1980s and incorporated the sound into his own songs. Another example is Greg Kurstin, an award-winning music producer who studied Música Popular Brasileira (or Brazilian Popular Music) in New York, and now works with superstars such as Paul McCartney, Pink and Adele. Now Kurstin and Adele have been accused of plagiarism: singer-songwriter Toninho Geraes, who has written hits for the likes of Zeca Pagodinho, Diogo Nogueira and Martinho da Vila, among others, has claimed that the producer and the British singer almost completely copied the melody of his song Mulheres (recorded by Martinho da Vila in 1995) on the single Million Years Ago, which was released in 2015 and featured on Adele’s album 25.

This dispute over intellectual property coincides with the pre-launch of Adele’s new album following a six-year hiatus. The singer, whose new album 30 is due for release on November 19, felt compelled to mute comments from fans on social media after being inundated with messages from Brazilians on her publications and live transmissions asking her to respond to the accusations of plagiarism. For the time being, both Adele and Kurstin have made no public comment on the matter.

I only wish to protect my musical legacy

Brazilian singer-songwriter Toninho Geraes

“This silence is an evasive strategy,” says Fredímio Biasotto Trotta, Toninho Geraes’s lawyer, who last February sent two extrajudicial notifications to Adele, the British record label XL Recording, Sony Music and Kurstin. In a press release, Sony stated “the matter is currently in the hands of XL Recordings [which owns the rights to the record] and of Adele herself,” explaining that it had only been responsible for the distribution of the single in Brazil and that its contract had expired. XL Recording, for its part, has not made any statement. “We are gathering evidence to file a claim in the British courts, where judges tend to be meticulous in cases like this,” says Trotta, who has been working in the industry for three decades and has been a musician since the age of 11.

What has not yet been revealed, however, is the amount of compensation the lawsuit is seeking. The documents from Trotta ask Adele and Kurstin to provide details of the income derived from album sales of 25 and the profit generated by Million Years Ago on streaming platforms. Martinho da Vila’s album Tá Delícia, Tá Gostoso, on which the single Mulheres is included, was a hit in Brazil and sold 1.5 million copies, according to data from Columbia Records. Toninho Geraes, however, does not want to take legal action and will settle for his name appearing on the writing credits for Million Years Ago, his lawyer has stated. “I only wish to protect my musical legacy,” Geraes says.

Geraes found out about the surprising similarity between the two songs through Misael da Hora, the son of Rildo Hora, who wrote the arrangement for Mulheres and who has worked with the greatest Brazilian samba composers. “He told me about it, thinking it was an authorized version in English, and I was stunned,” says Geraes. The expert analysis requested by his lawyer identified 88 identical, similar or slightly varying bars in the two songs, as well as identical parts in the intro, chorus and endings.

“Brazilian music is very well known, it is a reference point and it is studied wildly everywhere in the world, especially that of the 1960 and 1970s, but generally all of the melodies up to the beginning of the 1990s,” says Trotta. Perhaps one of the most famous cases in this sense was that of Brazilian singer Jorge Ben Jor, who in 1979 sought compensation from British rock singer Rod Stewart for plagiarism of his song Taj Mahal (released five years earlier) in the chorus of the star’s hit single Da You Think I’m Sexy? Stewart publicly admitted the plagiarism in 2012, describing it as “overstepping the boundary” in his autobiography.

In keeping with Trotta’s claim, bossa nova musician and multi-instrumentalist Edu Lobo filed at least two international claims for plagiarism of songs he wrote in the 1960s: one against a French songwriter whose name was never revealed and another, in 1994, against Japanese songwriting trio Tsukasa Yamaguchi, Eiji Takehana and Yasuhiro Nara, who copied his song Ponteio Numa Outra and rebaptized it as Beatitude on their compilation album Multidirection. The case was settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

More recently, the heirs of songwriter Luiz Bonfá, who died in 2001, accused Belgian-Australian artist Gotye of plagiarizing a small part of Bonfá’s instrumental Seville on the hit single Somebody That I Used to Know, which won two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Record of the Year. Gotye reached an agreement to credit Bonfá as a co-writer of the song, a credit that has even been registered with the Australian Copyright Council.

Lawyer Caio Mariano, a specialist in copyright and intellectual property, says though that cases like this are not that common. “At the end of the day, there are also coincidences in music, so it is necessary to prove mens rea – the will and the intention to copy something – to be able to accuse someone of plagiarism. Something that happens a lot is the unauthorized use of musicians such as Tim Maia and Arthur Verocai, among others, who have a rich body of work. In the genesis of genres like hip-hop and rap, for example, there was the culture of sampling in songs. The problems arise when it is done without proper authorization, without worrying about whether it is a violation of copyright,” Mariano explains.

On the dispute between Toninho Geraes and Adele, Mariano opines: “There is a very striking similarity in the harmony, tempo and structure of the songs.” The lawyer points out that Brazilian legislation follows international copyright conventions and that cases such as this one tend to be resolved out of court, via agreements and negotiations. It remains to be seen if this is the path Adele and Kurstin choose when they decide to break their silence.

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South Dublin site with potential for 400 homes seeks €23m-plus

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A substantial residential development site of about 29.4 acres, with the capacity to build almost 400 homes in a prime south Dublin area, has come to the market seeking what is understood to be in excess of €23 million.

The “Brennanstown” plot, which is available in one or more lots, is situated off the Brennanstown Road, one of Dublin’s premier postal addresses, close to the villages of Cabinteely and Foxrock.

It is also close to the Green Luas line, and the site benefits from extensive frontage on to the Brennanstown Road and extends as far south as the Luas Green line at Laughanstown. The site, which is situated within the Cherrywood SDZ, is largely undeveloped and contains five existing residential units.

The land is for sale in one or more lots. Lot 1, known as “Druid’s Glen”, comprises about 8.8 acres of residential development land and 11.1 acres of forestry land, while Lot 2, “Lehaunstown”, consists of about 9.5 acres of residential development land, with a small portion zoned for town centre use under the Cherrywood SDZ.

Zoning status

The third lot comprises the entire 29.4 acres, with development potential for more than 370 residential units and about 600sq m of commercial space.

A report detailing the zoning status and planning potential has been prepared by McGill Planning and is available upon request.

According to selling agent CBRE, the two distinctive plots of lands offer interested parties the potential to deliver both traditional housing and private rental sector accommodation, subject to planning permission, in a well-established residential location.

Darragh Deasy, associate director with CBRE, said: “The scale, affluent location, connectivity and situation of the site within the Cherrywood SDZ offers the purchaser the opportunity to buy a rare development opportunity in Dublin 18.”

There have been significant developments within the Cherrywood SDZ in recent years, with the delivery of housing, apartments and schools well under way, further solidifying the attractiveness of Cherrywood as a residential location.

Upmarket development

Brennanstown Road itself has been home to a marked step-up in construction of late.

Park Developments is currently readying a launch in Brennanstown Wood, a mix of large spacious three-, four- and five-bedroom family homes, while Cairn Homes is planning an upmarket apartment and luxury home development, Barrington, also on the road.

The land at Brennanstown is being brought to the market by CBRE, on the instruction of Declan McDonald of PwC, acting as receiver on behalf of Nama.

The site was previously placed on the market back in 2018 for €35 million, but was withdrawn after developer Johnny Ronan issued High Court proceedings against a Nama-appointed receiver over the sale. The dispute arose over a right of way across the land.

Mr Ronan was subsequently reported to be interested in acquiring the land for about €29 million in 2020, but this sale didn’t proceed.


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