Evaluating Post Leaving Certificate Provision in Ireland
This paper summarises the key findings of an evaluation of the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) Programme, the largest full-time further education (post-secondary non-tertiary) programme in Ireland. This programme has multiple purposes – preparing people for employment, acting as a bridge to higher education and serving as a second-chance route for adult learners. Based on evidence from both administrative data and a unique specially-designed learner survey, we find positive results for the estimated counterfactual impact of PLC provision on employment at 16 per cent relative to similar individuals who entered the labour market directly on completion of their (upper secondary) Leaving Certificate, with a corresponding positive estimate for transitions to higher education standing at 27 per cent. Nevertheless, the evaluation found that PLC courses were often poorly connected to the labour market and that reforms could further improve the labour market prospects of leavers.