National Learning Network – Castlebar

At NLN in Castlebar, we provide a range of free courses to people who have had an accident, illness, injury or have a disability and extra support needs.

Our courses are tailored to each student’s needs, to help them to build their confidence while getting practical job-seeking skills to help them get a job or go on to further training.

For more information on courses available at NLN Mayo, see below or call the centre today.

Watch this video as our instructors introduce our range of courses at NLN Mayo

Contact: Mary Hanlon

Address: Breaffy Road, Castlebar, Mayo

Tel: 094 9022770

Contact Centre

Autism Support Programme – The Hub

The Hub is a course that works with students to achieve academic, social, vocational and independent living skills using evidence based methods and Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to strengthen and teach new behaviours and self-management strategies.

Students’ skills are assessed when they begin the program to see what their individual strengths and needs are and an individualised plan is designed based on the results. Teaching is specific and broken down into steps for each individual in accordance with their needs. We move with the student at their pace. Our service encourages the individuals to lead decisions regarding their individualised programmes.

A support plan is drawn up for challenging behaviour if needed. We focus on skills building (e.g., communication skills, self-management skills) so students can develop the skills to regulate themselves.

Certification: Certification is an option for students on the autism programme via QQI modules and/or ASDAN. ASDAN provide autism specific curriculum programmes and qualifications for students in vocational skills and certification is available for students of all abilities.


This exciting course gives students the opportunity to learn the skills needed to develop personal effectiveness and self-advocacy. It encourages people to become more independent, to operate in a supported community situation and to progress on to further training or education. Typically students aged 16-25 year old, who have recently completed formal education are best suited to this course.

Certification: QQI Level 3 Employability Skills (3M0935).

Culinary & Life Skills

National Learning Network has partnered with Mayo Abbey Training Centre to give students the practical experience in commercial setting to develop “hands on” practical experience with a qualified instructor.

This programme equips the learners with the basic skills necessary in preparing, cooking and serving simple everyday meals. Learners are provided with an introductory knowledge of Culinary Skills through hands-on practical experience. The focus is on preparing learners wishing to work in the catering hospitality and food service industry.

Modules include: Work Placement, Nutrition & Healthy Options, HACCP Training, Growing & Cultivating Vegetables, Breakfast Cooking, Digital Media, Communications, Food Preparation & Serving

Certification: QQI Level 3 Employability Skills 3M0935 & Culinary Skills 3S0924

Fast Track to Employment

This course is aimed at supporting people into the workplace. The instructor works closely with the student in sourcing a placement around their preferred industry sector / employer. The programme combines practical on the job work experience 3 days per week (15 – 20 hours), supported by classroom-based learning in the centre 2 days per week. This programme is designed to offer real employment opportunities and direct links to employers.

Modules include:

Safety and Health at Work, Work experience, Computer Applications, IT Skills, Personal Effectiveness, Retail Administration, Retail Selling, Manual Handling and Fire Safety training.

Certification: QQI Level 4 Employment Skills or Level 5 General Learning

Skills 4 Life

This course is designed to enable young people to explore their creative side through the use of digital media, art, podcasting and more. The main aim of this course is to develop the confidence and skills to enable students to gain employment or go to further education or training. Course duration: Up to 18 Months.

Modules include: Personal Effectiveness, Work Experience, Career Planning, Information Technology Art & Design, Digital Media, Visual Art Practice and Computer Application.

Certification: QQI Level 3 and 4 in Employability Skills.

Hospitality Inc.

If you want to work in the hospitality industry, this course will support you to explore this dynamic exciting sector. Specifically, this programme is designed to give you the starter skills and knowledge to enable you to secure experience and employment in the hospitality sector. This programme involves both classroom learning and on the job training which will lead to greater employment opportunities for those looking to join the workforce. The course has a duration of 6 months.
Modules include:
Work Experience, Food & Beverage, Food Safety, Front of House, Health and Safety Training, Housekeeping, Customer Care.

Certification: QQI Level 3 Work Experience module

IT & Business Studies by Blended Learning

This course combines classroom-based and homebased learning. Students are provided with a laptop and also get individual support from their instructor. There is a strong focus on work experience, helping students to get a job. This course is designed to equip students to work in a variety of office/administrative roles.

Modules include:

Text Production, Word Processing, Spreadsheet Methods, Database Methods, Presentation, Info & Communication Systems, Bookkeeping and Payroll, Web Design, Work Experience, Teamworking and Powerpoint.

Certification: QQI Level 5 in Office Administration and ICDL

Career Pathways

This course is designed as a stepping-stone to getting a job for students who may have little or no experience of work or who are considering a change in career direction. Students are supported in personal development, confidence building, developing social skills, independent living skills, as well as job-seeking skills. Work placement is a key part of the course and students are given a range of work placements and encouraged to
explore further education options.

Modules on this course include: Communications, Personal Effectiveness, Computer Literacy, Internet Skills, Career Preparation, Work Experience, Personal Care and Presentation, Nutrition & Healthy Options, Application of Numbers, Health & Safety Awareness, Digital Media, Caring for Children, Manual Handling, Independent Living Skills and Numeracy and Literacy supports as needed. The duration of the course is up to 18 Months.

Certification: QQI Level 3 and 4 in Employment skills.

Sports Industry and Gym Instructor Studies

This course is a combination of classroom-based and fitness facility-based training. As part of the course, students will complete work experience in the sports and leisure industry and there is a strong focus on getting a job or going on to further education. Students take part in daily sports and fitness activities, such as soccer, swimming, tennis, racquetball and gym training. This course offers a varied range of career options to potential students interested in working in the sports industry. Students who have completed their studies with NLN have gone to work as Personal Trainers, Gym Instructors, Swim teachers and some have even started their own business.

Modules include: Work Experience, Sport and Recreation studies, Sports Anatomy & Physiology and RLSS Life Guarding, Start your own Business, Customer Service, Communications, Personal Effectiveness, Team working, Food and Nutrition, Leisure Facility Administration, Assistant Swim Teacher Award.

Certification: QQI Level 5 Sports Recreation and Exercise (5M5146).