The one-year, full-time Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió course, now is its second year, is based at the institute's centre in An Cheathrú Rua, Connemara. Covering a broad range of subjects including journalism, broadcast skills, sound production, post-production, ethics, law and communication skills, the course includes a four-week work placement. Previous students have worked at RTE Lyric FM, Raidió na Gaeltachta and BBC Northern Ireland where some have been offered further employment.
Described by several students as "an eye opener" to the media industry, the course includes an element of print journalism which last year saw students complete a supplement that was published in Foinse.
Pádraig Ó Duithche from Corr na Móna, who was among the first group to study the course.
"I thought, like many people, that all that was involved in the course was sitting behind a microphone. I learned that you have to present yourself and you have to inform yourself about the subject that you are going to talk about because you talk live on air," he said.
Cathal Mac Gearailt, who completed his work experience with Raidió na Gaeltachta in Kerry, said he would recommend the course to anyone.
"I am doing different things every day. One day I will be presenting a programme, the next I will be working the sound desk and doing different things in the studio," he said.
Course tutors include Norita Ní Chartúir, an experienced journalist who has worked with Raidió na Gaeltachta, and Uinsionn Mac Dubhghaill, a former Irish language editor of the Irish Times who has also worked as a journalist with Nuacht TG4.
With a strong emphasis on practical skills, the course is geared towards preparing participants for a career in radio, either in front of the microphone as a presenter or behind the sound desk as a technician or producer. Opportunities in the Irish language media have expanded greatly in recent years with the advent of TG4 where sound, presentation and technical skills are much in demand. And with over 40 radio stations on air across the country there are several career options available to graduates of the course.
Course fees will be paid and participants will receive a weekly training allowance from Údarás na Gaeltachta. The Dioplóma i Scileanna Raidió begins on 12th September 2005 and is offered by Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in An Cheathrú Rua, Co. na Gaillimhe.