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Even though Ireland is in the midst of a lockdown, it doesn’t mean individuals are setting aside personal or career goals, according to a survey submitted to over 25,000 users of leading Irish database; the survey has revealed a large increase in interest in online courses and training as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

73% of those surveyed say they are more likely to consider online courses and distance learning, with a further 18% indicating that they may consider such options – an increase of 36% to those who’ve availed of remote training options in the past.

Maintaining a Work / Life Balance

Across the country, people are changing the way they work, parent and interact socially, and the Internet has had a major role to play in that transition. Most people that were questioned for the study – a whopping 51%, in fact – agreed that online or distance learning programmes can offer the same quality content as on-campus programmes.

One busy worker added: “It’s more beneficial to me as I work for HSE and can’t find much of my personal time to myself. Online courses allow me to switch in and out with easy access, no travel and high-quality learning.”

However, there is some way to go before all facets of training move online, as 50% of respondents felt that online / distance learning programmes aren’t practical in their chosen field. As one learner commented: “The course I want to take is dressmaking, which is very hands on. You need to be there for fittings.”

Plus, with schools closed, many people are struggling to balance working at home and managing a family. One parent observed how their lives have changed drastically: “My kids are at home 24/7 and it’s hard trying to fit time in for myself.”

Many People Facing Fears and Obstacles

With the COVID-19 crisis continuing and no end in sight, the issue of concentration and lack of personal motivation came up a number of times among respondents.

One concerned individual commented: “People might find it hard to concentrate if they are worried about COVID-19,” while another added: “The anxiety of this pandemic has caused a definite drop in motivation to actually work. I know I am not the only one feeling this way.”

A few people reported having problems with connectivity, and despite government efforts, some didn’t have access to broadband in their area. Yet, the main obstacle for everyone questioned on the survey was fiscal.

A number of respondents reported having lost their jobs, and many others feared for their future income. “I’m worried about the uncertainty of my employment. It would affect my ability to pay for a postgrad course if I lost my job,” commented one, while another added: “Price is an issue as my husband was let go. We are looking after the pennies but still want to develop further.”

A Call for Online Training & Virtual Events

Course providers, it’s an ideal time to move your training online. In total, 73% of respondents to the survey say they are now more likely to consider online courses and distance learning, while 18% are open to the idea and are ready to be convinced.

Many of these potential students are already familiar with the format of studying remotely, too; of those interested in booking onto courses, 41% have already enrolled on an online or distance learning course, while 30% have also taken a blended course in the past.

In addition, 69% said they’d be interested in attending a virtual (online) courses fair, showcasing colleges and course providers that are providing courses, while 43% said they would consider attending an online open day.

Focusing on Career Goals

People are using this downtime in very different ways. 44% of those questioned were planning to take an professional online course, while 63% said that if a training provider moves their programmes online, they would be encouraged to book onto a course over the next 3 months.

Of those surveyed, 42% have booked courses recently, 59% of people were considering undertaking professional training for their career, 17% were thinking of taking a postgraduate course, 17% wished to improve their soft skills, and 21% wanted to brush up on their technical skills – perhaps mastering the intricacies of Excel. “I would like to focus on upskilling myself and get ready for the market when it opens up,” added one respondent.

New Online Training Portal Launched

This survey was submitted by Careers Unlimited to 25,000 users and followers of and ahead of the company’s launch of online portal,

This new website is a comprehensive database of online, distance learning and home study options offered by Irish colleges and course providers and lists a range of programmes from hobbyist to postgraduate level.

If you’re looking to find a training option to suit you, click here, or if you would like to find out how to feature your courses on the portal contact

Staying sane, balancing a hefty work schedule and keeping your children occupied is no easy feat. As parents, we all have the best of intentions when it comes to home schooling, but it’s not always easy to adhere to a detailed lesson plan when you have deadlines to submit for, meetings to attend, or a demanding remote working schedule. It can be an enormous struggle to keep your family educated and entertained while holding down a job; here at JobsExpo, we commend your efforts - but at the end of the day, once your kids are safe and well, you’re doing a great job. Here's our Jobs Expo Survival Guide to working from home with kids.

Working From Home With Kids

Plan, Plan, Plan

Discipline is a limited resource. One way to avoid throwing in the towel too early is by prepping what you have to do ahead of time, and sticking to it as best you can. If you have the lunches prepped the day before, and the lesson plan ready to go at the beginning of the week, it makes it that much easier to persevere when all hell breaks loose on a Thursday, and your boss needs all hands-on deck for a client presentation as your child's teacher hands out that lengthy assignment list!

Keep it Creative

This is what Pinterest was designed for. One way to make your time at home more bearable and keep kids - big and small alike - entertained, is to add a bit of fun and creativity into your day. Sure, the onus might be to focus on the relatively dry staples of Maths and English when it comes to home schooling. But get ordering those paints on Amazon, start coming up with fun projects; sewing, painting, crafts - you might even find something you enjoy yourself that helps your blood pressure levels stay low!

Routine is King

Maintaining a routine, getting up, getting dressed and getting ready for the present forms of ‘school’ and ‘work’ all help when it comes to maintaining the structure and balance of each day. Keep your workspaces separate from those chill out zones, and make sure to divide up the home-schooling responsibilities equally between parents to keep things running as smoothly as possible. It’s important to lead by example, no procrastinating - at least visibly - on your own ‘homework’ too.

A Problem Shared….

It’s important to remember that you are not alone in all this - although it can feel like it sometimes. There are so many parents across the globe, struggling with this impossible balancing act at present. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your employer. Let them know what problems you are facing and find a workaround that works for everyone. Is there flexibility to your working day? Could some of your tasks be done in the evening, or at the weekend when your partner has more time to pitch in?

Pooling Resources

When it comes to your kids’ class, there are so many parents in the same boat;why not group together and share some of the home-schooling responsibilities as a unit? Set up ‘remote study groups’. Having those external appointments at set times is a great way to keep to a routine.You might not be in the same room, but you can certainly cover lessons and get through that extensive homework list one Zoom meeting at a time.

Take Time for Yourself

As parents, it’s too easy to keep going 24/7 with the focus on your work and family and not take any time to unwind. Whether it’s playing Xbox with your work friends or sitting out the back with an ice-cold white wine, take the time to enjoy a few moments of calm each day. Make sure you and your partner cover for each other on all those duties; personal time and space is precious and does wonders in restoring the well of patience that so often runs dry after a long day of home schooling.

Give Yourself a Break

Starting out, we all had the best of intentions; how many times did you tell yourself that screen time will be kept to a minimum and you’ll be up doing PE with Joe Wicks every single morning? However, there will be times when that just isn’t feasible - and that’s perfectly ok. Don’t let those other parents with Instagram's full of crafts and freshly baked cupcakes fool you. You won’t be the only one resorting to iPad time / Frozen 2 /Playstation -depending on the age bracket - so you can have enough peace to get through that important work call. And OrganicVeganYogaMom29’s carefully curated social media account shouldn’t guilt you into thinking otherwise.

Enjoy It as Best You Can

As the old proverb goes: this, too, shall pass. Yes, there will be many, many times over the course of this pandemic where you’ll be pushed to the limits of your sanity - and you’re not alone there. That’s why wine was invented. However, there will also be those quality, fun, rewarding moments - so don’t forget to take the time and savour those too.

Like many, many people across the globe, new technology has been making a big impact on the changing face of our daily working life. For the foreseeable future, physically going into that office, or meeting a colleague for a casual coffee and informal chat is something that’s off the table. If you’re used to working with teams in other countries or districts, then remote meetings will be old hat; however, for many of us, connecting online with colleagues and clients is a completely new experience. If you want to get familiar with navigating the social etiquette and best practices on how to hold productive remote meetings, then don't worry - we have you covered with our top ten tips below!

Remote Meetings: The Basics

1. Make Sure it’s Necessary

There is a common misconception that just because people are working from home, that they are idle, and dying for some kind of human interaction. In fact, because of the vast amount of work involved in updating systems, learning new technology and generally transitioning businesses online, many people’s workload is fuller than it has ever been. With this in mind, before you call a meeting you must ask yourself: Is this absolutely necessary? Could this be solved with an email thread? If the answer is maybe, then this is a meeting that doesn’t have to happen. Be respectful of other people’s time and be selective when it comes to who is sitting in on it.

2. Schedule a Tech Check

This is a learning curve for everyone. While it’s important to be understanding, we can’t stress how frustrating it is for a large group of busy people to wait on one person to figure out how to unmute their mic - especially when there’s a mountain of work to get done that would put Everest to shame. So if this is your first meeting with any given group, budget time ahead of the meeting to do a digital recce. This will allow people to check that their WiFi signal is strong enough, their camera is working, and how to manoeuvre with the technology without eating into your scheduled time.

3. Be Prepared

Know that people’s calendars have never been so filled with requests for chats, meetings and catch ups as they are right now, and know where you fit into that. If you’re the host of this meeting, then make sure people have as much information available to them before it starts, so they can choose if it’s appropriate for them to go, be fully read up on what’s going to happen, and can do any research or prep on their end ahead of the meeting. In the title of your invite, have a clear indication of what you intend to cover over the course of the meeting; ‘General Catch Up’ for instance is just too vague. Circulate an agenda to all attendees, and make sure you budget a realistic time frame for the online call, and stick to it, as best you can.

4. Keep Your Eye on the Prize

What is the goal of this online meeting? Is this a catch up with colleagues about daily targets, or is there a focussed to-do list a mile long? Either way, lengthy chit chat about the present, terrifying news does not help you achieve it. If you’re running this meeting, then it’s your role to make sure it stays on task. We recommend that if things start to veer off course - table all off-topic subjects until the end of the meeting, then people with time constraints can opt out, knowing that all the important areas have been covered. Again, it all comes back to respecting other people’s schedules. You’ll find that if you host one too many meetings where people start talking banana bread recipes or personal politics, you’ll get less and less people ‘available’ for meetings in the future.

5. Clear Ground Rules

The general rules of thumb for remote meetings are as follows: punctuality is key, pay attention, cameras on, mics off and be respectful of whoever is talking. Don't be afraid to establish these again clearly in the agenda if you're hosting the first meeting of a new group. Once a meeting is fast moving and to the point, people should have no time to answer work emails, or have a muted going back and forth with their partner in their kitchen. As the host, you must lead by example. Also, it’s your responsibility to introduce people if they’re new to any given group.

6. Dress to Impress

And this goes double for your space. If you think no one is eyeing up your piles of dirty washing in the background, or your collection of bathrobes, think again. As a host, being clean and groomed is paramount. No one is expecting formal wear or an hour’s worth of makeup application, however, brushed hair, relatively smart attire (as far as the webcam can see, at least) and a tidy space goes a long way to giving a professional impression. And keep that door closed… avoid any unexpected visitors in the form of pets or children at all costs!

7. Get Acquainted with the Software

Back in the days of in-person meetings, nothing was more awkward than a speaker struggling, trying to get a projector working, or having connectivity issues with WiFi. And when it comes to remote meetings, the same principles apply; have all those kinks worked out beforehand. Once you have your agenda planned, have all relevant links, slides, or items you’d like to share ready to go. Familiarise yourself with the screen sharing options of the software you’ll be using, as well as the chat box, and the muting buttons. Do you need to set up breakout rooms or share a clip? Do a test run of everything you’ll be using ahead of the meeting so everything runs seamlessly on the day. And dear god, use a work-only profile. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people accidentally sharing the dodgy sites they’ve been visiting while utilising the screen sharing option.

8. Minimise Distractions

When it comes to contributing to a larger group, it’s best practice to mute your own mic. However, if this is a group of people not too familiar with online meetings, be prepared for all sorts of background noise. You’ll have pets, kids, partners pottering around kitchens… if you’re the admin, then it’s on you to mute everyone. If someone wants to ask a question or contribute, get them to put up their hand or use the chat box. And be very mindful of background noise or any other issues emanating from your own side, don’t be afraid to check in occasionally and see if everyone can see and hear you.

9. Share the Workload

Are you wondering how you can keep people engaged during meetings and keep track of everything that happens, and adhere to the agenda? Phew - that sounds like a lot, because it is. Then here’s a bit of invaluable advice,  assign and rotate various admin roles within the meeting. Get your team to take turns being the facilitator, timekeeper and notetaker. It will not only allow for a smoother run of things, but will also give everybody a greater understanding and empathy when it’s someone else's turn to run the meeting and things start to go wrong.

10. Follow Up

And finally, don’t let what you cover in the meeting fall by the wayside. There’s nothing worse than constantly going over the same topics again and again. Keep track of everything you get through, assign tasks, send follow up via email with any actionable or notable items. Then, the next time you all meet, you can see how far you’ve come in relation to reaching those goals. Celebrating achievements is a great way to start any meeting!

Is there anything you’d like to add? Do you have any tips or tricks that you find keep the momentum of a remote meeting going? Then we’d love to hear them - just comment below! 

Looking to follow a career in Cyber Security, Network Engineering or Software Development?. If you're looking for IT training apprenticeships, then look no further. Meet the FIT team on 17th October in Croke Park's Hogan Suite. Register for your FREE ADMISSION to Ireland's leading careers fair right here.

FIT & The New Tech Apprenticeships

FIT are Ireland’s Appointed Coordinators of the new National Tech Apprenticeships. These Apprenticeships aim to attract and grow the talent pipeline by providing training in Software Development, Network Engineering and Cyber Security. There has never been a better time to pursue a career in Ireland’s IT sector.

Currently, there’s over 12,000 current vacancies in the tech sector-as highlighted by the recent FIT ICT Skills Audit 2018. Delivered with their valued partners, Ireland’s Education and Training Boards (ETBs), FIT are helping more people to discover their talents through training. This concept remains at the heart of the national apprenticeship system.

Furthermore, these companies are keen to recruit Smart People with Smart Skills. These new Tech Apprenticeships allow participants to ‘earn while they learn’. In addition, this has been championed by industry and is now incorporated as an integrated component of statutory provision. Over a two-year period the programme combines college-based learning with on-the-job application. This in turn culminates in the attainment of the ICT Associate Professional Apprenticeship Award QQI Level 6.


The Tech Sector Wants YOU!

Demand for people with tech skills is growing rapidly! The digital transformation has captured the attention of the nation’s industries. Hence, many great companies are looking to apprenticeships to fill their skills gaps.

Emerging Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are creating new industrial sectors. Driverless cars, delivery by drones and further prospects result in the creation of new roles. These new roles demand skill sets and career paths across all sectors of the economy. And this’s expected to grow in the coming years.

Built on a proto-type that was ‘road-tested’ with over 150 leading technology companies sponsoring 249 successful participants, the New Tech Apprenticeships facilitates three track of technology training nationwide:


FIT are looking for people with a passion for IT with a can-do attitude and aptitude for learning.

Follow FIT on social media for all the latest Tech Apprenticeship news!

@FastrackIntoIT on Facebook and Twitter/ on Instagram

Jobs Expo Dublin will be hosting a diverse line-up of talks and seminars from professional trainers, employers and career coaches. Career Coach, Thomas McCormack, will be giving his talk, Chasing Dreams & Beginning Again, on our Agenda Stage.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, many people in Ireland have been made redundant. This virus has changed all our lives in an unprecedented fashion. It's very easy to get into a rut and focus on the negative. We see it on our screens and hear on our airwaves each and every day.

However, this time has also allowed us time to reflects, take a step back from the rat race and gain new perspective on life. We are given a chance to realise what is really important to us. It's true that many have lost their jobs, but this for many can also lead to new opportunities that they might've not taken otherwise.

It's tough to begin again. We are out of our comfort zone and forced to re-think our career path. You might come to terms with the fact that you wanted to leave your job, but were too afraid to take the first step. For some there might even be a dream job that they haven't yet woven into reality. Sometimes you just need that extra push.

For those are seeking a new career opportunity, Jobs Expo will be returning to Croke Park on 17th October. We've a variety of employers looking to recruit on the day and career coaches and speakers offering advice throughout the day. Register today for FREE ADMISSION and we'll see you this autumn.


Starting your career, facing final exams or looking for that new job is stressful at the best of times. Coupling it with the most uncertain of times, in the midst of a global pandemic makes it a time filled with stress and worry for a great many people. Whatever about protecting our physical health from this unseen enemy, it is also vital that we work to maintain and protect our mental health during this challenging time and try to stay in control of the things we can control and be mindful of what we can’t. 

Staying Mindful In a Crisis

Mindfulness is a technique which we can all learn and can help bring some element of calm to this situation. According to mindfulness practitioner Joanne O’Malley; “Mindfulness or being ‘Present’ and ‘Aware’ cultivates a way of being that builds people’s inner resources, their mind & heart fitness. The practice helps us to be in control of our own minds and mental / emotional stats, instead of our minds/ automatic reactions being in control of us.”

Information and misinformation

One of the greatest problems surrounding this pandemic is misinformation, and how people are affected by it. Whether it be my social media platforms, fake websites, messaging apps, or people repeating hearsay in conversation-the Covid-19 pandemic has thrown up hundreds of examples of disinformation and misinformation, ranging from fear mongering, to paranoia, to downright dangerous erroneous medical information. It’s vital that you shield yourself from any stress, strain or damage that such misinformation can cause by only abiding by information from trusted sources, such as national media, government and health agencies. The Covid-19 pandemic has monopolised news networks, and is very hard to avoid, but you do need to give yourself a break. Try turning the notifications off on your phone, only check news feeds once a day if you can, because rest assured you will hear the news at some point, and it is best you hear anything from a tried and trusted source.

Health Comes First

You will have increased stress to deal with at this time in addition to what may be pressing deadlines, coursework and/or job applications. But whatever the external pressures that you may have, the most important thing is your health. Everyone deals with the current situation differently so make your own decisions based on what works best for your welfare and be mindful of what your priorities are. Don’t take on unnecessary extra stress or work at this time. While we are all in this situation together, around the world, each and every person has unique life circumstances which may add to their concern. For example, if someone has an underlying health condition that may exacerbate their vulnerability, or has family members who may be at risk, it can detract from their ability to contribute. So bear this in mind if you are involved in group work for a college project or waiting to hear back from someone in relation to a job. Compassion and empathy are more important now than ever so ensure that you treat others the way you would like to be treated yourself. 

Make sure you:

Scientific research has proven that mindfulness techniques demonstrably reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and fear. There is plenty of help out there, both in terms of professional advice and of course free digital resources to help you develop this skill to take some time out to care for yourself.

Useful resources:

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