Access Programme extended to Cavan and Monaghan

Helping Students Break the Mould

IT Sligo has announced the extension of an innovative programme designed to help students access third level education despite financial and other obstacles..

The Breaking the Mould programme which is currently open to participants from Connacht and  County Donegal, is being extended  to include students from Counties Cavan and Monaghan.

A record 37 students are this year participating in Breaking the Mould which entitles them to a special one-off grant payment to help with the costs of going to college, one-to-one mentoring throughout the year and participation in a two week summer school designed as an informal introduction to college life before the academic year begins.

The Programme targets students who might not aspire to a college education for a variety of socio-economic reasons. It has been running at the Institute since 2002.

Participants  must be aged 22 or under,  and have attended a post primary school or education centre in the catchment area – which now includes Connacht,  Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan.  The programme is funded by IT Sligo and private donations.

Successful applicants are offered a place in their chosen course if they achieve the minimum entry requirements and are within 10 per cent of the points required under the CAO.

Breaking the Mould Programme Coordinator Ann McCauley explained that students who complete the two week summer school receive a  special one-off grant payment to help with the costs of going to college.

 “During the summer school,  participants  get tuition in a range of  subjects such as maths, computer skills and communications and they also attend daily workshops  on such topics as how  to manage their  finances, adjust to student life and stay healthy and stress free”, she explained.

Breaking the Mould application packs are distributed to principals and guidance counsellors in all post primary schools and education centres in the catchment area in late November/early December. Students are invited to apply by the February 1st deadline which coincides with the closing date for CAO applications.

One former beneficiary,  now a third year student at IT Sligo, said that after completing her Leaving Certificate she thought college would not be possible for her  because it would  place an unfair burden on her family.

“My mother was a single parent and I am the eldest of six so it would have been hard. Then I got a  place on this programme and that made all the difference.  I am really enjoying my course at IT Sligo”.

Another student daunted at the thought of college life said that the two week summer school had made the transition from post primary school much easier. “I got my bearings before all the other students returned to college.  I learned my way around the Institute, and around Sligo and the financial help is a great boost.”

To find out more about the Breaking the Mould programme contact Ann McCauley on 071-9137355 or email


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