Ask Brian: I can’t afford to study business in college full time

Do you think I could manage a business degree while working part time to fund myself?

Lidl Ireland offers a two-year retail-management degree in partnership with Dublin Business School. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Lidl Ireland offers a two-year retail-management degree in partnership with Dublin Business School. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

PROBLEM: I want to go to college to study business and was offered a course based on my CAO points. But I couldn’t afford three to four years of college, even with a grant. Do you think I could manage a business degree while working part time to fund myself?

ADVICE: I appreciate your concern about funding your degree. You’re certainly not alone in your predicament, and surveys from the Union of Students in Ireland consistently affirm what you say about the high costs of maintaining yourself through college.

Working part time, although practical financially, might impede your academic performance and take away from all of the other benefits that attending college for a number of years brings.

Outside of securing a scholarship or entering into some form of professional apprenticeship, your options to be paid as part of the degree are extremely limited.

However, given that you mentioned you were interested in studying business, there might be a sponsored and paid degree that you could consider.

Nine years ago, Lidl Ireland launched a retail-management degree delivered over three years in partnership with Dublin Business School, which is accredited at level seven on the National Qualifications Framework.

However, following a review, the degree has been adjusted to a two-year programme for the coming academic year. The status of the degree isn’t affected, and successful graduates will receive a bachelor of business in retail management.

The degree is fully sponsored by Lidl, which, in addition to paying course fees, will also pay participants €20,000 in the first year and €22,000 in the second year.

The programme is divided 50-50 between the classroom at DBS’s Dublin city-centre campus and working directly in one of the retailer’s stores. It is structured in a way whereby each work-based term will be followed by a college-based one, which is then followed by another work-based term and so on. Each term is 16 weeks long.

Demand for a business course such as this is high, with more than 1,200 applicants each year. For the current year’s intake, the company has indicated that 50 places will be offered. Applications for the 2016-2017 programme close on May 25th.

It is important to note that the application process has nothing to do with the CAO process. The firm has indicated that it will invite 200 applicants to undertake assessments in either Dublin or Limerick in July, and those selected for the programme will be notified in mid-August.

Applications are open to those aged 18 or over on November 11th, 2016, who have completed a Leaving Certificate or a post-Leaving Cert (PLC) level-five course, and have a genuine interest in retail management.

You will also need to be prepared to commit fully for the duration of the programme, which can be challenging, particularly for those who haven’t experienced the workplace before. However, the training provided should give graduates a solid foundation for developing the type of skills they will need for a career in management in the retail sector. Further details are available on both Lidl and DBS’s websites.

  • Email your education queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com
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