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FETAC Level 5 Drug and Alcohol Courses filling up

Lecturer talks about LCI Addiction courses.

Comments from delighted students on previous DAA courses:

” Tutor was very good. Give him a medal.” Student. Limerick June 2012

” I learned a lot from this course, I felt comfortable voicing my opinion, the tutor listened and responded to all my questions.” Limerick  June 2012

”Tutor was excellent. Will use all the course in my work.”  Limerick In House course April 2012

” Course was well run. Lecturer Rebecca was very friendly and approachable and replied to me emails within hours. She helped with all my enquiries. Very enjoyable.”  Galway April 2012

” The tutor really engaged the class and had a wealth of knowledge that helped apply the theory to everyday practice.” Student. Dublin – May 2012

”There was no part of the course I feel can be improved. What I signed up for I received and it was delivered very professionally.” Student. Dublin – December 2011

”I really enjoyed the course and am finding it beneficial to my work already.” Limerick November 2011

”Learned a lot … I will miss my Wednesday nights with the lovely people I met on the course. Really enjoyed the discussions.” Student. Limerick November 2011

” I learnt things without even realising … amazed at how it challenged my assumptions both consciously and unconsciously.” Student.  Castlebar July 2011

” thoroughly enjoyed and felt more knowledgeable in the field” student.  Castlebar July 2011

”I work in the environment and it will really help me in my future work.”  Castlebar July 2011

This Drug and Alcohol Addiction component certificate course at FETAC level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications takes place over 10 weeks with 3 hours of lectures per week. 30 hours total classroom time. A further 2-3 hours of self directed learning is recommended for successful completion of the course.

Locations and dates for Early 2013:

  • Limerick29 January to 2 April 2013: Tuesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; The Limerick Education Centre. 
  • Mayo 29 January to 2 April 2013: Tuesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; The Mayo Education Centre, Castlebar.
  • Dublin30 January to 3 April 2013: Wednesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; DIT Aungier Street.  

Places are limited to just 16 people so early booking is essential in order to avoid missing out on a place on this course.

The Dublin course is nearly full and the Mayo and Limerick courses are filling fast.

You can secure a place by clicking here and paying a deposit.

The end of January will be the last time that the FETAC Level 5 Drug & Alcohol Addiction course will be delivered.

From April 2013 the course is to be restructured and replaced by the FETAC Level 5 Community Addiction Studies Course, which The Learning Curve Institute have been validated to run.

The Reading Room

The LCI site has a Reading Room for all it’s key course areas.

There are links to useful sites, research papers and reports as well as reading lists.

You can see the Reading Room for Addiction by clicking here.

We highly recommend the National Documentation Centre on Drug Use  as it contains all key information on drugs and addiction.

This site provides drug and alcohol information and support.

It also has a free, secure and confidential online chat  service.

We support their work and you’ll see that we’ve added a link to their Facebook feed on this blog.

Pop over to our site and see all the other courses coming up between January to June this year. You can also download a course calendar from the top post on this blog.


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Happy New Year – Course Calendar – January to June 2013

The Learning Curve Institute Team send you good wishes for 2013.

The new year is a great time to make decisions about new skills, learning and knowledge.

We created a course calendar so you can easily see the range of courses on offer from January to June.

We have courses in:

  • Addiction
  • Counselling
  • Languages
  • Social Studies
  • Mental Health

LCI course calendar Jan to June 2013

If you click on the image above you can download a pdf of the calendar.

All the courses have live links to their specific site page where you can find more information on:

  • Dates
  • Venues
  • Prices
  • Course content
  • Learning Outcomes
  • Accreditation
  • Booking on the page

In January  the FETAC level 5 Drug and Alcohol Addiction course starts in 3 locations around Ireland.

Here are a few testimonials from delighted students who have attended previous courses

‘ I really enjoyed the interaction from both the tutor and us all in the class, the different opinions from everyone and all the different professionals.” Student. Limerick DAA June 2012

” I learned a lot from this course, I felt comfortable voicing my opinion, the tutor listened and responded to all my questions.” Student, Limerick DAA June 2012

” The tutor really engaged the class and had a wealth of knowledge that helped apply the theory to everyday practice.” Student. DAA Dublin – May 2012

The Drug and Alcohol Addiction component certificate course at FETAC level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications takes place over 10 weeks with 3 hours of lectures per week. 30 hours total classroom time. A further 2-3 hours of self directed learning is recommended for successful completion of the course.

Locations and dates:

  • Limerick29 January to 2 April 2013: Tuesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; The Limerick Education Centre. 
  • Mayo 29 January to 2 April 2013: Tuesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; The Mayo Education Centre, Castlebar.
  • Dublin30 January to 3 April 2013: Wednesday Nights; 6:30-9:30pm; DIT Aungier Street. 

Places are limited to just 16 people so early booking is essential in order to avoid missing out on a place on this course.

The FETAC Level 5 Component Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Addiction is designed to equip staff in drugs and/or homeless services and those engaged in community development with the competencies and knowledge necessary to meet the various needs of substance users and to assist them in making choices regarding treatment options.

This multi-disciplinary module operates under Adult Education Principles focusing on experiential learning. Essentially this FETAC Drug and Alcohol Addiction Course covers 5 main areas:

  1. Psycho-pharmacology
  2. Understanding Addiction and Dependency
  3. Health Issues
  4. Engagement Skills and Interventions
  5. Attitudes

Students will receive handouts and relevant literature to enable them to develop their understanding of drug and alcohol addiction appropriate to this level. In each session students will have the opportunity to observe and discuss the various categories of drugs and the effects that addiction may have on the family and community. Role-plays and scenarios will be used to enhance the groups understanding of drug and alcohol addiction issues and to discover the various treatment options that are available.

Other news

We’ve redesigned our site so it’s a lot easier to use and in 2013 we’ll be piloting a blended learning approach and incorporating online learning for some of our courses.

This blog will be updated on a regular basis as we keep you informed about courses and learning opportunities.

Leave a question or comment here as we love hearing from people.

Have a great 2013.

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Students from around Ireland receive their FETAC Certificates

Learning Curve Institute students receive their FETAC Certificates

FETAC Level 4 French and Spanish Students with their certificates:

On March 5th 2012 students from Mayo, Galway, Dublin and Dundalk travelled to Castlebar to receive their FETAC Accredited Minor Awards in Addiction, Mental Health and Languages from Minister of State Michael Ring in an Award Ceremony run by The Learning Curve Institute at Breaffy House Hotel.

The Learning Curve Institute (LCI), formed by two Westport people in 2009, is a FETAC accredited education and training provider specialising in the fields of Mental Health, Addiction Studies, Social Studies and Languages. Having grown substantially in its first 3 years in business The LCI celebrated its growth by arranging its first award ceremony for some of its 94 students nationwide who this week have attained their FETAC certificates.

Minister Michael Ring applauded the students for their efforts in attaining their qualification and praised them for their initiative in furthering their education.  He spoke of the importance of upskilling to attain employment or advance careers in these challenging times. He also paid tribute to the LCI for its achievements in creating and growing a business in spite of a recession.

Addiction and Mental Health Students

FETAC Level 5 & 6 Addiction and Mental Health Students with their Certificates

The Minister’s words of encouragement were re-iterated by Paul Conlon CEO of Coolmine Therapeutic Community.  In his work with people in addiction recovery Mr. Conlon stressed the importance of education in their journey to a drug-free existence. Whether working professionally in the field of recovery or living with a family member who struggles with an addiction or mental illness the LCI courses were increasing awareness and promoting understanding of those whose lives have been affected by addiction or mental health issues.

Michelle O’Toole of Allergan’s Shared Services Centre in Westport spoke on the importance of language learning from an employer’s perspective and of the potential job opportunities that exist in businesses like Allergan that serve a global market.

LCI directors Sean Foy and Liam Printer acknowledged the achievement of the students and their commitment to learning. There were four special achievement awards for students who had shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their work. The overall student of the year Award went to Louise Moloney from Galway who received the highest overall marks on the LCI’s FETAC Addiction Course across the country.

Louise Moloney, Galway - Winner of the 2011 Student of the Year Award.

The company Directors also spoke of their plans to extend their courses across Ireland and into Northern Ireland in the next 18 months and their ongoing work in online and blended learning which would open LCI courses to a worldwide audience.

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Government needs to reverse cut to foreign languages programme in schools

In the press release below, Liam Printer, Head of Languages at The Learning Curve Institute has called on The Government to reverse their proposal to abolish the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative.

“The initiative currently supports modern languages in over 550 schools nationally with a core team of just 6 people. They provide training, resources and school-based support as well as funding 300 visiting teachers who deliver the programme in schools nationwide. The amazing thing is that they manage to do all this within a budget of under €2 million, and not the €2.5 million erroneously quoted in the budget documents” commented Head of Languages at The LCI, Liam Printer.

Learning languages in the classroom

“I genuinely fail to understand how The Government seems to think that this will benefit the country in the long term. Over 14 years of expertise will be lost to the system. Many jobs now require candidates to possess a second language before they can even apply, this decision will put Irish people at a huge disadvantage as they try to compete for jobs with our fellow Europeans. The backward thinking will also result in over 300 more teachers on the live register at an estimated cost of €6,000,000 per annum in social welfare payments. It simply beggars belief that in our Nation’s first “jobs budget”, our leaders are cutting an incredibly beneficial programme for children that costs €2m per year to run only to replace it with a cost of €6m per year to the exchequer” continued Mr. Printer of The Learning Curve Institute.

As recently as October the Royal Irish Academy published their National Languages Strategy which called for the Modern Languages in Primary Schools Initiative to be integrated into the mainstream curriculum, as strongly recommended by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (2005) and the Council of Europe Policy Profile (2008) document, rather than being limited to extra-curricular time and to a portion of schools.

“As a country Ireland is already years behind the Barcelona Agreement and the Lisbon Strategy, which called for systems to be in place to facilitate early language learning of at least two foreign languages by 2010. Just one month ago in November 2011, all EU countries, including Ireland, ratified recommendations to “step up their efforts” to implement the Barcelona Agreement. The momentum that has been built will come to a sudden and regrettable halt depriving Irish children of skills their European counterparts can take for granted,” concluded Liam Printer.

The LCI deliver FETAC accredited language programmes and Leaving Cert revision courses in French and Spanish across Ireland. For more information on all the language courses run by The Learning Curve Institute see or email

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Why Ireland’s new drink driving laws won’t work!

Padraic Hanley, Head of Drink Driver Education Programmes at The Learning Curve Institute, blogs on the new drink driving limits in Ireland which come into effect today, the 27th of October 2011.

On the face of it Ireland’s new Road Traffic Bill No.2 looks like a pretty good and welcome piece of legislation. The second amendment to the Road Traffic Act 2010 introduced by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, will allow for mandatory breath testing at lower drink driving limits and is due to come into effect over the Halloween bank holiday weekend. But will this controversial and costly piece of legislation, which is undergoing its second incarnation in as many years, live up to it’s expectation?

Ireland has lowered it's drink driving limits

Under the new legislation the Garda Siochana Traffic Corp were to be issued with 1000 breathalyzers calibrated for the new limits, which will replace the existing equipment. Unfortunately only 500 of them are being made available now and the rest will arrive “later”. So already the effectiveness of the new initiative is reduced by 50%, and this will increase further as breathalyzers are removed from active service for maintenance purposes.

An already dwindling and under-resourced Garda Traffic Corp has been issued with instructions to mount hundreds of Mandatory Alcohol Test (MAT) checkpoints nationwide from this Friday to enforce the new lower limits. This will include roadside breath testing at the scene of a Road Traffic Accident (RTA), where an injury has been caused, and the testing of an unconscious driver once removed to hospital. But will these extra detection initiatives translate into increased conviction rates and licence disqualifications?

The Minister has promised a “toughening-up of the drink-driving regime” and has assured there “will be no loopholes” in the new legislation. The new laws will reduce the Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) from 0.8 mg per 100 millilitre to 0.5mg for experienced drivers and to a virtual zero for learner and commercial drivers. Minister Varadkar hopes that reductions in the blood alcohol limit will mirror similar changes made in Queensland Australia, which saw fatal accidents fall by 18 per cent. But is the new regime really that tough? In reality how similar is it to the Australian model?

As Head of the Learning Curve Institute’s Drink Driver Education Course and lecturer and programme developer on their FETAC Drug & Alcohol Addiction Course I have conducted extensive comparative research into the effectiveness of interventions to reduce the occurrence of drink driving and thereby reducing alcohol related harm. This research included a comparison of the Irish and Queensland models and I will briefly outline some of the differences between the two jurisdictions.

Road side breath testing is only part of the solution

Ireland and Queensland have a similar population of about 4.4 million people. They are both English-speaking states and have many social, political and cultural similarities, including a high prevalence of alcohol use. Ireland’s new lower drink driver limits are now also the same as those introduced in Queensland since the mid 1980’s.  However, it is the differences between how the two jurisdictions have applied, enforced and supported the lower BAC levels that have caused such drastic reductions in Road Traffic fatalities.

  • Queensland police conduct 3 million MATs each year and even with such coverage will only catch a fraction of offenders.

Irish police conducted 55,000 MATs in 2010.

  • In Queensland the evidential Breathalyzer is the only evidential test required to secure a licence suspension.

In Ireland the lower of two further tests conducted in a Garda station, a written Garda statement and an independent analysis are required.

  • In Queensland disqualification from driving is effective immediately on a positive breathalyzer result and your vehicle could be impounded for up to 3 months.

In Ireland you can drive away within hours, continue to drive for months after the offence and are entitled to apply for a 50% remission off the disqualification.

  • In Queensland the Courts uphold 90% of on the spot disqualifications.

In 2010 in the Irish District Courts out of 21,153 drinks driving offences disposed of; only 8,651 resulted in a disqualification.

  • Queensland Courts insist on mandatory attendance at Offender Rehabilitation Programmes, similar to the Learning Curve Institute’s Drink Driver Education Course, which have shown a 55% reduction in high risk and repeat offending.

Irish Courts provide for a similar sentencing option – with little evident awareness of this amongst the legal profession and the Judiciary.

  • In Queensland cumulative disqualifications for multiple drink or drug driving related offences are applied. This means that disqualifications for drink driving offences are served (one after the other) and ensures the longest possible disqualification.

In Ireland concurrent sentences for drink driving and other offences are applied. This means that disqualifications are served (at the same time) thereby a person only serves the longest period for multiple disqualifications, and the shortest period does not affect the offender.

Drink Driver Education Courses are already in place in many other countries

So, what is Ireland’s barrier to emulating Australia? Why isn’t Ireland leading the way in this field, demonstrating best practice? Where does the blame lay – poor legislation, lack of political will, scarce resources, vested interests or something more? Ultimately and without question the price of this inertia will be paid for on Irish roads.

The Learning Curve Institute offers a 2 day Drink Driver Education programme. Full details can be found here: Drink Driver Education programme 

The Learning Curve Institute also offers a host of FETAC accredited programmes in Addiction, Mental Health, Counselling, Social Studies, Languages and Communications all over Ireland on a regular basis. For full details go to  

To arrange an interview with Padraic Hanley, Head of Drink Driver Education, please contact The Learning Curve Institute on 098 25530 or





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New three tier drink driving penalty system in Ireland

Head of The Learning Curve Institute‘s Drink Driver Education Programme and Lecturer in Addiction Studies, Padraic Hanley, blogs on the new three tier penalty point system announced by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ireland on August 23rd 2011 for people who are caught with a Blood Alcohol content between the old level of 80mg and the new level of 50mg.

Never Ever Drink and Drive

Nothing seems to provoke more “public” or should that be “media” reaction than the mention of tinkering with drink driving limits and the enforcement of our drink driving laws. The recent announcement by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) of the introduction of a new ”proportionate and graduated” three-tier penalty point system, which will be introduced this Autumn, will be no different.

The new system will allow drivers who choose to drink and drive and are caught with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) between the new limit of 50mg of alcohol per 100millitres of blood and the old limit of 80mg to be given a lesser sanction of three penalty points and an on the spot fine of €200, avoiding a court appearance and licence suspension. Drivers who are caught with a BAC over 80mg will face a court appearance, a minimum driving ban of 6 months and a possible fine of up to €5000.

The usual TD’s and publicans will be rolled out to decry the demise of “rural Ireland” (as we never knew it) and even blaming the RSA for the increase in rural suicide rates. No doubt, the well known fable of the old man who has his three or four pints and drives home without causing any harm will be trotted out. Meanwhile, opposition TD’s will argue that the new system is too “lenient, confusing, sends out the wrong message and encourages drivers to “take a chance”.

 Across the floor the Government and the RSA will highlight the increasing detection rates for drink driving and decreasing statistics for deaths on Irish roads, last years being the lowest on record at 211. As senior lecturer on the Learning Curve Institute’s Drink Driver Education Programme, and as a rural dweller, I am well aware of these unacceptable statistics and the real human costs and consequences that they represent for individuals, families and communities across the country.

 Whether you live in an urban or rural area the facts about drink driving speak for themselves. Alcohol is a contributory factor in one in three fatal collisions and any amount of alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of collision. All drink driving detections are a result of individual choice to drink and drive. Any death on Irish roads is one too many. The message is still loud and clearer than ever before – NEVER EVER DRINK AND DRIVE.

To read more about The Learning Curve Institute’s Drink Driver Education programme Click Here. To read about the other courses The LCI offers visit the website:  For more information or to arrange an interview please contact The Learning Curve Institute on 098 25530 or 

To read more about reaction to the new system in The Irish Independent Click Here.

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Only 1 in 20 Irish college students can speak two foreign languages.

Head of Languages at The Learning Curve Institute, Liam Printer, blogs on a recent report which highlights that only 5% of Irish college students are able to speak two foreign languages.

Students on Spanish course with The LCI

In a recent Eurostudent report on the Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life, it was found that Irish college students are among the worst in Europe when it comes to speaking foreign languages with just 1 in 20 claiming to be proficient in two foreign languages or more. As a language teacher myself and someone who has a great passion for language learning and instilling and sharing that passion with others, I think that this lack of foreign languages among Irish college students is something that really needs to be addressed.

In my opinion, in this modern age with global business at everyone’s fingertips through the internet it is more important than ever that Irish graduates have an understanding of European societies and languages. Candidates who can speak another language are immediately far more employable than those that can’t.

According to The Irish Independent on June 16th 2011 “In a recent GradIreland survey, carried out by the careers services in the higher education colleges in Ireland, one-third of employers expressed concern about a shortage of foreign language skills, up from one in five last year.” This is proof that if you want to secure that dream job or get yourself a promotion, having a foreign language is a key step in the process.

The Irish Independent goes on to state that “The importance of foreign language skills was also highlighted in another report produced by the FAS Skills and Labour Market Research Unit on behalf of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, providing an overview and analysis of the demand for labour as measured by trends in advertised job vacancies. The analysis of the vacancy data pointed to the importance of foreign languages as an integral part of the skills portfolio of candidates.”

“Where job vacancies arose, jobseekers with third-level qualifications coupled with work experience and foreign language skills were more likely to be in demand.”

The Learning Curve Institute is a FETAC Registered Provider

It is clear that more and more employers are looking for foreign language proficiency and qualifications on candidates CV’s. Along with our Leaving Cert revision and preparation courses, The Learning Curve Institute is now offering FETAC Accredited Minor Awards in French and Spanish in three different counties at Level 4 on the National Framework of Qualifications. The courses take place over 8 weeks and gives candidates a really solid grounding in the language with key phrases and vocabulary ideal for work, conversation and travel. The courses are aimed at beginners or near beginners and and are ideal for anyone looking to upskill, boost their CV or land that new job.

Click Here for more information on French and Spanish language courses offered by The Learning Curve Institute or email for a prospectus or information pack.