Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • March 2018
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Posted by Francis O' Toole on March 21, 2018

Undergraduates looking to secure employment upon graduation might be disappointed to discover that they lack a range of core skills high on employers’ agendas when recruiting. Some students opt for postgraduate studies to give them the edge on other interview candidates but further studies isn’t always the answer. Often employers are looking for skills that aren’t taught in college and need to be learnt and developed in the workplace.



Having the skills and knowledge demanded by the sector is no longer sufficient. Jobs are now cross-sectoral. With rapid advancements in IT and technology infiltrating all industries, new skills are demanded of employees. Although efforts have been made to develop and adapt many undergraduate programmes, many more courses do not prepare students for the requirements of the workplace.




On top of this employees are expected to have honed their soft skills. Employers are looked for people with good communication skills, problem solving and analytical thinking skills, management and leadership skills, creativity, design and innovation, entrepreneurialism, team working and people skills. These skills have been identified as the skills of the future. The skills that cannot be automated but require empathy and joint-up thinking. (For more information on the skills of the future click here).


Employers need graduates and graduates need job opportunities so what is the solution?

During the recession many graduates were forced to take on unpaid internships to garner the skills they required. The Job Bridge programme allowed interns to earn and extra €52 on top of their social welfare payment. The Job Bridge programme ceased last August and is due to be replaced with a new programme in the second quarter of 2018.


A more attractive route is to engage in a graduate training programme. As the economy recovers these programmes are becoming more plentiful and are a great way for undergraduates to gain experience and training in their sector. The pay may be lower than some graduates would desire but the training and experience gained during these relatively short programmes (one –  two years) are an investment in one’s career and often a stepping stone to greater career opportunities.


Graduate training programmes bridge the gap between college and work. They ease graduates into world of work and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in their role. Some programmes will offer graduate a chance to experience different departments in the company before settling on an area they feel suited to. These programmes provide on-the-job training, a wage and a gateway to future career opportunities in the company.


Some examples of cross-sectoral graduate recruitment campaigns include: CRH, Intel, Analog Devices, Deloitte, EY, ESB, Accenture.


European Movement (EM) Ireland has a long-running internship programme, where final-year students or recent graduates undertake a placement for between three and six months in their offices in Dublin city centre.


BIM Seafood Graduate Training Programme is an 11-month programme for graduates of food, marketing and business degrees in partnership with UCC and LKIT aimed at promoting careers in the seafood industry. See


If you are a nearing the end of your college studies you might like to check out the Graduate page on Here you will find information on postgraduate studiesCV and applications,  links to Graduate Recruitment and Training Programmes and more.


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