16 February, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

SNA Combined Intensive Course, Who is it For and Why is it Intensive?

Special Needs Assisting Combined Level 5 and Level 6 Intensive course at Portobello Institute

Do you want a more fulfilling career that offers new life experiences and a better work-life balance? Maybe it's time for a career change. Special Needs Assisting (SNA) has offered students all three.

Covid-19 has forced us all to consider our lives and our careers. If you're considering a change, Portobello Institute's SNA Intensive Level 5 and 6 programme is one of the fastest ways to turn your life around in a brand-newmeaningful direction. 

SNA Intensive Level 5 and Level 6 are two courses combined into one. It is delivered online over two weeks of daytime classes. 

Our most popular course at Portobello, there are then 6-8 weeks to complete six assignments with continued tutor support.

Sarah Coyne is the Special Needs Assisting course advisor, "Students cover Level 5 on the first week and then Level 6 on the second week. There are three assignments for Level 5 and then three more for Level 6. Each assignment averages about 1,500 words so there is a good bit of work to be done once the course content is covered." 

The intense nature of the course allows you to go from having never studied Special Needs Assisting to completing two levels within five months.

Portobello can supply a pre-certificate to each student who has completed and passed their course, so they don't have to wait until they get their certificate from the QQI to start working. 

SNA Lecturer at Portobello, Samantha Cooney, gives more insight into what students can expect on the SNA combined intensive course.

Why do SNA students choose the intensive method of learning?  

"The SNA intensive courses are quite an individual experience when it comes to learning. Students that join the intensive courses benefit from a concentrated learning experience. The course is run daily with lots of additional supports, pre-recorded presentations and learning tasks got the students engage with in their own time."  

What can people expect when they sign up, what supports are available?  

"There's no denying that the intensive courses are intense! However, the content is broken down using a variety of different strategies.  

"Firstly, as a professional and researcher in the special education sector, I use examples from my own experience to guide learning. This can take the form of case studies, scenario-based tasks or even just content exemplars.  

"Secondly, a multitude of learning tools are used including group discussions and collaborative tasks, online content resources and reflective exercises. The most important strategy use is relating learning to experience. Everyone comes to these courses with experience and transferrable skills. These come from working in other sectors, previous courses, parenthood etc. I work to support students in identifying these transferrable skills and finding their place within special needs assisting.  

"The course is interactive and engaging. Students are supported throughout and after the courses in terms of their assignments. Feedback has shown that students complete these courses with new knowledge, confidence and friendships from all around the country.  


What kind of person do you find usually does this course?  

"A variety of different learners usually attend these courses. Individuals who are working in the sector already and are seeking to upskill and those for whom this is a step towards a career change.  

"Additionally, many people partake in these courses who have never engaged with further or higher education or have not done so for many years.  

"Regardless of student background, experience or anxieties, all students share the common aim of supporting some of the most vulnerable children in our society.  


Would you recommend the intensive method?

"I would recommend the intensive method for individuals who feel they will benefit from a concentrated learning experience. Additionally, students who understand the need for self-discipline regarding their learning will benefit from this course.  

"For anyone working in the sector already and is seeking to upskill, the intensive method is ideal."

This SNA Intensive Level 5 and 6 course is the perfect way to kickstart your career into the world of Special Needs Education and it can add a new skillset and understanding for Early Years practitioners.

The focus is on supporting the student through their work, gaining real-life experience from our experienced tutors and emphasising the employment opportunities available to you as soon as you have completed the course in a pre-school, primary school, secondary school or special school. 

Read more: Tutor Fran Trehy shares her inspiring career change from airport manager to SNA.  

Portobello Institute offers a Level 5 and Level 6 Intensive SNA booking package, a Level 5 Intensive course and a Level 6 Intensive course all with upcoming dates. Sarah Coyne is our SNA course advisor contact him directly on 01 892 0041, book a consultation or email sarah.coyne@portobelloinstitute.com

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