QQI Level 5 General Studies in Business 5M3114

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) was designed to provide unemployed adults the opportunity to return to full-time education while retaining their social welfare entitlements. VTOS Ballinrobe provides further education & training in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere where the needs of the student are paramount.  Our goal is to equip learners with both the confidence and technical experience to pursue their career of choice. Our 1-2 year full-time QQI accredited courses lead directly to employment and/or to progress to a number of further education or third level colleges with confidence and competence. Our professional and supportive team is ready to help you to achieve your goals.

Course Overview

Students on this course will acquire a broad range of business and computer related skills for work in an administrative/accounts role or to progress to further/higher education.  On successful completion of this course students will be awarded a QQI Level 5 Certificate in General Studies – Business. All students will also complete 60 hours in a work experience placement as part of their studies on this course.

Entry Requirements

No formal qualifications are required. However, applicants must demonstrate a moderate range of knowledge, skills and competencies relevant to the course.


  • 5N3113 Research and Study Skills
  • 5N1354 Bookkeeping Manual and Computerised
  • 5N1358 Word Processing
  • 5N0690 Communications
  • 5N1356 Work Experience
  • 5N1546 Payroll Manual and Computerised
  • 5N1977 Spreadsheet Methods
  • 5N1364 Digital Marketing


  • 5N1611 The Internet

Learning Outcomes

The course is structured to provide students with a high standard of training and assessment leading to recognised certification. On successful completion, students will be qualified to apply for roles such as Clerical/Administrative/Front Office/Reception/Personal/Executive Assistant.  Participants will:

  • obtain solid practical experience in using Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Publisher, Teams and Outlook, etc.)
  • gain practical experience of employment preparation through creating and updating their CV, interview simulations and 60 hours of work experience
  • be able to touch type to a speed of 35 words per minute
  • be qualified to obtain positions in professional, financial and public sector employment
  • be able to use a range of Digital Media (to produce materials including images, sound and video, for use in the creation of web pages/online publications)
  • learn how to create webpages and use the Internet, & social media for business purposes

Course Content

Research and Study Skills

This module is particularly of use to those who are thinking about progressing to further/higher education as it provides the skills and competence to engage effectively with the research and presentation of learning for formal academic and purposes.  Topics include:

  • The different features and functions of range of research and research methodology
  • Identifying ethical issues about research and study
  • Gathering of relevant information from the various sources
  • Demonstration of effective strategies for studying
  • Using a variety of presentation strategies for assessment in learning

Digital Marketing

The Digital Marketing module will introduce students to the core competencies required to develop and execute digital marketing strategies and activities using a range of e-tools within a range of digital marketing contexts. It will provide a detailed understanding of what digital marketing is, major trends and important concepts such as:

  • Social media marketing on various platforms e.g. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn and other emerging social media
  • Rich Media e.g. videos, GIFs, Instagram stories, podcasts, content narration audio, infographics, live streams and topical webinars & other emerging rich media
  • eMail Marketing e.g. automated email tools, permission-based email, etc
  • Search Engine Optimisation e.g. principles of SEO, including keywords, metatags, page titles, descriptions, headings, links etc., using website diagnostic tools and interpreting their data
  • Online Advertising e.g. Google AdSense and Google AdWords’, banner ads, targeted advertising on social media based on interests and pages visited, measuring user responses to ads, including views, impressions, click through rates, etc.

Spreadsheet Methods

Student will develop an understanding of spreadsheet concepts and gain practical experience in spreadsheet design and implementation and be able to use of macros and additional complex formula and functions.

  • spreadsheet elements
  • formulae, functions, graphs and macros
  • sorting, and filtering
  • use advanced spreadsheet features
  • conditional IF statements, statistical, financial, and date and time functions
  • graphs, with appropriate titles and labels, from spreadsheet data

Word Processing

This module deals with everything the learner needs to get the most from a word processing applications (Microsoft Word), including

  • text manipulation
  • inputting tables
  • mail merge & merge files
  • headers/footers
  • application of styles and much more

Book-Keeping Manual & Computerised

  • Complete the books of first entry
  • Post the information from the daybooks
  • Extract a trial balance
  • Prepare a Bank Reconciliation Statement
  • Prepare the end-of-period VAT Returns
  • Bookkeeping is undertaken using manual and computerised system

Payroll Manual & Computerised

  • Process the payroll for employee(s), using manual and computerised system
  • Extract information from completed records to prepare all necessary end-of-period and year-end returns etc. for the Revenue Commissioners


This module provides the communication skills needed to work on frontline customer relations.  It examines:

  • ways in which social media is used in the business environment
  • research and writing skills
  • preparation and practice of public speaking
  • develop negotiation skills

Work Experience

Students will develop career planning skills such as:

  • Preparation of curriculum vitae and letter of application
  • Assessment of career goals/ and techniques for achieving these goals
  • Interview preparation and simulation
  • Research of and participation in suitable work experience

Careers and Progression

Successful completion of the course will enable students to seek work administration, sales or bookkeeping and is a valuable steppingstone to progress to further/higher education in a wide range of subject areas.


The Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) is designed to prepare you for employment, whether you are changing direction or just starting out. VTOS Ballinrobe offers full-time courses that will help you develop in-demand and practical skills in business, Computer Applications, IT and Office Skills.

The practical and supportive approach to our course delivery makes VTOS the ideal training path for anyone wishing to up-skill for a new job, enter the workforce for the first time or progress to further education.

VTOS Additional Supports

  • There are no course fees, and course materials, including the use of a laptop, are provided free of charge
  • Meals and travel allowances are provided
  • Learners in receipt of a payment from DSP will receive an allowance equivalent to their DSP payment, and those under 26 will receive the maximum JA rate of €208 per week
  • Learners returning for a second year will continue to receive their VTOS allowance during the summer months
  • Childcare support is available
  • An Adult Educational Guidance service is provided for all VTOS students.

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