Supporting transition from Further Education to Higher Education

Supporting transition from Further Education to Higher Education

Supporting students through Further Education and towards transition to Higher Education

ACCESS+  will focus on supporting the transition of school leaving students from linked Cork City DEIS schools into Further Education (FE), their retention in Further Education and progression on to UCC, CIT or other Higher Education (HE)(third level) institutions. 

Support is focused on three phases: 

  • Transition of second level students into FE 
  • Retention of students in FE 
  • Progression onwards 


August 2021

ACCESS+ continues to operate within the advised Government guidelines. This means a blended approach to delivery of services. Outreach work in schools and second level centres as well as supports for students in Further Education continues in this blend of online and in-person service delivery in accordance with what is permissible in each case.

  • Students and staff in second level can contact james.bilson@ucc.ie directly
  • Further Education students in CSN, St. John’s or College of Commerce will be invited to Induction for the ACCESS+ programme via their college email address. You can also contact me directly
  • For more information on UCC PLUS+ see here, or contact uccplus@ucc.ie
  • For HEAR queries email HEAR@ucc.ie

Who is it for? 

UCC ACCESS  is an initiative of the UCC PLUSoffice.  The UCC ACCESSprogramme is specifically for the following:

  • students who have attended one of the Cork city DEIS Schools that are linked to UCC PLUSor Youthreach centres (see list below) 
  • students who are members of the Traveller or Roma Community 
  • students from Cork Life Centre 
  • students who are under 23 years old at the end of the calendar year in which they commence their Further Education studies

It involves working with students during secondary level education as they make decisions about their future. If they pursue the Further Education pathway of progression, i.e. in College of Commerce, Colaiste Stiofain Naofa (CSN) or St. John’s College, ACCESS will work with these students throughout their time in FE and on towards Higher Education. 

What actually is it? 

The goal is to help you to progress in your studies. 

This will mean different goals for each person and goals and aspirations may change along the way. For example your progression goal may be: 

  • progress to UCC  
  • progress to MTU or another HE provider.  
  • completion of the year of study in the FE college and a Level 5 award 
  • progression within FE to a Level 6 course for the following year,  
  • employment, work, an apprenticeship 

Whatever your goal may be, the role of  UCC ACCESS+ is to help you get there. There will be many challenges on the way, there will be changes of mind, new ideas or realisations or maybe personal circumstances where life gets in the way of your studies.  UCC ACCESS+ aims to provide the student with additional supports in those circumstances. 

Do I need to apply? 

No, if you are from one of the listed schools (below), the Cork Life Centre or a member of the Traveller/Roma community then you will be included in the post-entry supports of ACCESSwhen you accept a course place at one of the FE Colleges (CSN, CCoC, St.Johns). You will be contacted with regard to attending the orientation programme. 

 Participating Schools & Institutions in Cork City 

  • Bishopstown Community School, Bishopstown, Cork
  • Colaiste Eamann Ris (formerly Deerpark CBS), St Patrick's Road, Cork 
  • Gaelcholáiste Mhuire, G North Monastery Road, Cork 
  • Mayfield Community School, Mayfield, Cork 
  • Nagle Community College, Mahon, Cork 
  • North Monastery CBS, North Mon Road, Cork 
  • North Presentation Secondary School, Farranree, Cork 
  • Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Cork 
  • Aidan's Community College, Dublin Hill, Cork 
  • Patrick's College, Gardiner’s Hill, Cork 
  • Vincent's Secondary School, St. Mary's Road, Cork 
  • Terence MacSwiney Community College, Hollyhill, Cork 
  • Ursuline Secondary School, Blackrock, Cork 
  • Cork Life Centre
  • Ballincollig Youthreach
  • Cork City Learning Support Service
  • Dean Street Youthreach
  • The Glen Youthreach
  • Knocknaheeny Youthreach
  • Mahon Youthreach


ACCESS will provide a range of supports that may include

Pre-entry :  

  • Meetings with 6th Years, Q+A in schools to be fully informed about the FE options, future progression routes and requirements 
  • attendance at Careers Events, Parent evenings, open days  
  • HEAR Advisory sessions
  • Traveller and Roma outreach in Junior Cycle
  • Course shadowing support at FE Colleges 


Post entry:  

  • Induction event: meet fellow UCC ACCESSstudents, visit the FE college, familiarise yourself with rooms, names and timetables, attend social events 
  • One to one meetings to discuss challenges, progress and goals 
  • Advocacy between you and your tutors and course director 
  • Signposting and referral to internal and external support agencies 
  • Connection to UCC and MTU and opportunity to visit campus and lectures 
  • Course shadowing opportunity in UCC 
  • Info and support to apply for CAO and HEAR 
  • Study skill supports and signposting 
  • Access to resources 
  • Welfare and budgeting information 
  • Social events 

Contact information:  


Guidance Counsellors and Secondary Schools and all other enquiries can contact James Bilson at james.bilson@ucc.ie 

Post entry

Students can make a one to one appointment using this booking app link or email james.bilson@ucc.ie



ACCESS UCC PLUS, First Floor, The Hub, UCC, T12 YF78