Student Unions support sixth College Awareness Week

Posted on: 12 November 2019

From apprenticeships to arts degrees, from literacy to learning for life, upskilling is at the centre of the annual College Awareness Week. The sixth College Awareness Week (CAW) takes place nationwide from November 17th to 23rd 2019. This year the campaign will be officially backed by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).

CAW, founded in Trinity College within the Trinity Access Programmes six years ago, is a multi-organisational and collaborative campaign which invites communities across Ireland to host events in schools, afterschool programmes, Colleges of Further and Higher education, training centres, libraries and businesses, among others. It is now a nationwide campaign, and last year reached 170,000 total participants.

CAW promotes the benefits of education for all and is committed not only to third level but also to the further education and training (FET) sector, which offers apprenticeships, traineeships, Post Leaving Cert (PLC) courses, community and adult education and literacy services.


CAW 2019 will be launched in Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin, whose annual Awards Night on 20th November will be combined with a Pathways to College event. Louise Ronan, school Deputy Principal, said, “Every student leaving Coláiste Bríde will have a plan for their future pathway. The night hopes to join the dots for girls and their parents, showing that work done in the classroom every day will be what helps the student achieve their full potential on the next phase of their learning journey.”

A CAW preview event took place on 11th November at St Mark’s Community School, Tallaght. Students there have created an art installation entitled “Through the Keyhole – College is Key”, with life-size silhouettes and a large lock and key symbolising the importance of education in unlocking opportunities.

On 19th November, PJ Drudy, Professor Emeritus of Trinity and founding member of the Trinity Access Programmes, will take part in another CAW event set for CBS in Naas – he will join over 60 volunteers from across the community, including past pupils, who will help guide all the 6th year students in the school through mock interviews, reviewing CVs and  offering insight into their daily working lives and what is required for professions as diverse as becoming a Garda, engineer, mechanic, scientist, and university lecturer.

The campaign is sponsored by Perrigo and supported by a range of education-based organisations. These include SOLAS, the Higher Education Authority, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and Trinity College Dublin.

This year CAW will enjoy strong support from the Union of Students of Ireland, after USI Congress voted in April to support the campaign and encourage student union representatives in all Higher Education institutions to become involved.

USI Vice President for the Southern Region, Darren Malone said:

The Union of Students in Ireland is delighted to be a part of College Awareness Week. It is so important that students at second level are given a clear path to progress to higher education, and are made aware of all the pathways available to them. We will be in schools across Ireland throughout the week giving talks on access routes to college, and the importance of the third-level student experience.

In 2018, CAW reached new heights with over 1,700 events logged. 243 second-level schools organised events, including 114 DEIS schools. Other event organisers included universities and colleges, libraries, primary schools, community groups, GAA clubs and museums.

CAW’s priorities include improving participation rates among people with disabilities, mature students and Irish Travellers. For more information please visit

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