Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • February 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Jan   Mar »
  • Blog Stats

    • 230,070 hits
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 708 other followers

  • Advertisements

Archive for February, 2018

More than 6,000 students drop out of college in first year

Posted by Francis O' Toole on February 20, 2018

Highest drop-out rates in construction, computer science and engineering courses

Students on UCD’s campus: Overall non-progression rates of 15 per cent compare favourably to international rates. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Students on UCD’s campus: Overall non-progression rates of 15 per cent compare favourably to international rates. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

One in six third-level students – or 6,200 a year – are dropping out of their college courses during their first year, according to the latest official figures.

Drop-out rates are highest in construction, computer science and engineering courses, especially those offered at institutes of technology.

The figures are contained in a report to be published today by the Higher Education Authority based on students progressing from first to second year between the 2013/14 and 2014/15 academic years.

It says overall non-progression rates of 15 per cent compare favourably to international rates.

It also notes that the proportion of students failing to progress has dropped slightly – down 1 per cent over the past five years – despite rising student numbers and budget cuts.

Drop-out rates also vary across different sectors and types of higher education institutions.

Non-progression rates are highest at level six (advanced certificate) and level seven (ordinary degree) courses, where the proportion of students dropping out is between 25 and 26 per cent. These courses are typically delivered at institutes of technology rather than universities.

These rates fall to 16 per cent among students completing level eight (honours degree) courses at institutes of technology and 11 per cent at university.

When broken down by institution, IT Blanchardstown had the highest non-progression rate (29 per cent).

In fact, almost half (47 per cent) of students undertaking level-six courses dropped out, while more than a third taking level seven course (35 per cent) did not progress on to second year.

Non-progression rates

Other high non-progression rates were recorded at Limerick IT (27 per cent) and IT Sligo, Letterkenny IT and Galway-Mayo IT (25 per cent).

Dublin Institute of Technology and Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT) had the lowest rates at 17 per cent each.

Among universities, Dublin City University has the highest rate (13 per cent), followed by NUI Galway and University of Limerick (12 per cent). Trinity College Dublin and Maynooth had the lowest rates (9 per cent).

The findings show a strong link between a student’s CAO points and their chances of progressing at third level, with low achievers much more likely to drop out.

While the overall non-progression rate is 15 per cent, this rises to 32 per cent for students who secured between 255 and 300 points in their Leaving Cert. It falls to 7 per cent for students who obtained between 555 and 600 points.

The study also found that, among socio-economic groups, the lowest rate of non-progression was among those from farming family backgrounds (9 per cent), followed by higher professionals (10 per cent).

Two groups

These are the two groups with the highest level of access to higher education in Ireland.

The highest level of non-progression is among the “manual skilled” and “all others gainfully employed” at 16 per cent.

Medicine had the lowest non-progression rate of new entrants at 3 per cent, along with education courses – typically teacher-training – at 4 per cent.

Construction-related courses, services, computer science and engineering had the highest non-progression rates.

The report notes there have been improvements in computer science, with dropout rates falling from 20 per cent to 16 per cent.

Dr Graham Love, chief executive of the Higher Education Authority, welcomed improvements in the progression rates of computer science students.

Retention initiatives

He said additional funding allocated to retention initiatives – such as maths enabling courses, peer mentoring and additional tutorials for computer science – were contributing to the improvements”.

“While the figures are stable over time and comparable with competitor countries, lower progression rates in key skill shortage disciplines such as construction, computer science and engineering, where mathematics content is high, remains a source of concern,” he said.

Policy-makers say reforms to the points system – which aims to reward students for taking higher level papers and reduce the risk of random selection for college entry – are aimed at supporting a better transition from second level to higher education.

In addition, higher education institutions say moves towards broader entry – preventing students from having to decide, at an early stage, what specialism might suit them later in life – will help to ease pressure on students and reduce the drop-out rate.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Top skills needed

Posted by Francis O' Toole on February 20, 2018

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has released The Future of Jobs report revealing the top 10 skills you’ll need by 2020.

The world of work is changing and adapting at speed to catch up with the rapid and continuous advances being made in technology. We are transitioning into an era that has been dubbed ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (known as Industry 4.0). The Technological Age is squeezing out manual labour and it is predicted that by 2020 (only two years away!) over five million jobs will be replaced by automated machines.

This is a daunting prospect for many but it doesn’t need to be bad news; like previous industrial revolutions many jobs will be sacrificed but many new jobs will also be created. A lot of these new jobs can’t even be imagined right now. According to a report issued by theWEF almost 65% of the jobs primary school students will be doing in the future do not even exist yet. Both the workforce and our knowledge base are rapidly evolving.

So what can you do to safeguard your future as an employee? Think of the skills that cannot be automated. What sets us apart from a robot? If you consider some sci-fi movies from the past such as AI: Artificial Intelligence, Blade Runner and more recently Her, all these films explored the rise of the robot and how they threatened the human race. But in all the films the robots ultimately failed. They were inferior because technology could not replicate human qualities, both cognitive and emotional. So think of soft skills, what you can’t teach a computer to do, these are the skills you need to focus on. If you can’t think of any, fear not the WEF have identified them for us as revealed in the infographic below this article.

Cognitive Functioning Skills

These skills include complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. The transition will bring disruption to industry and challenges that require managers to ‘think outside the box’ to find creative solutions. The digital age is creating an abundance of data. Analytical skills are required to make sense of this information to make important decisions.

Human Connections

Rapid change creates challenges and makes big demands of managers and employees. Leaders require good people management skills and strengths in judgement and decision making to co-ordinate their team. Collaborative work on agile teams will be the way forward. All these changes will require workers to have self awareness and good emotional intelligence. Soft skills so far cannot be replicated by machines so it is in the interest of jobseekers to nurture these crucial skills. The good news is that soft skills aren’t built into your personality, emotional intelligence can be developed. Unlike IQ which is believed to be static your EQ grows with you. So the more practice you get the greater empathy and understanding you can bring to your relationships. Robots aren’t empathic so exploit your emotional intelligence to ride out this revolution.

Notably the 10 Skills of the Future cited by the WEF are all transferable skills so can be used in many roles. Working on these skills now will prepare you for the changes coming down the line. It is never too early (or too late) to start working on identifying and developing your skills.

Thousands of second-level students engage in work experience to get their first taste of the world of work. CareersPortal invites students to identify the skills they utilised in their work placement and be in with a chance of winning a MacBook Air and €1,000 for their school. This exciting competition promotes the importance of Career Skills and encourages the value of career research. It gives students the chance to reflect on the skills they developed during their work experience, and how those skills can help them in their future career.

To find out more about this competition click here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »