Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

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Choosing a career in a world transformed

Choosing a career in a world transformed

BRIAN MOONEY’S – Irish Times

ADVICE CENTRE: Events of the past year have fundamentally changed how the world economy operates and will lead to major changes in employment opportunities both in the short and medium term.

How the public perceive these changes, and particularly those currently considering educational and training options for the coming academic year, will have a profound effect on the demand for places on all programmes offered both in Ireland and throughout the world. These changes will lead to increases in the demand for particular courses and decline in the demand for others.

Demand increased substantially for places on all teacher training courses, with all the associated security associated with such posts, and decreased by even greater levels for any programme associated with the building and construction industry.

What will this mean for those considering their educational options in 2009? If the 2008 pattern is repeated, then we will see a major increase in interest in those course leading to careers in the public service, or to other areas that appear to offer long-term employment security.

What are the areas that will experience the greatest downturn in interest?

The construction industry is supported by a wide range of disciplines – civil engineering, surveying, architecture, architecture technology, planning, valuation, construction management, auctioneering, and property management.

The fitting-out of property has created opportunities for those in the interior design colleges, and for those involved in the design and manufacture of furniture and fittings.

The purchase and sale of property provides the core of the income stream for most solicitors, and following on from the loss of income may lead to a decrease in interest in law degree programmes.

The expectation of severe cutbacks in government expenditure in the years ahead may consolidate the view that career opportunities in the health sector will be severely limited. This may lead to a fall-off in demand for courses such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and radiography. It may even lead to a fall-off in demand for places in nursing.

What areas are likely to attract greater interest in the current environment?

Many students may choose to apply for an arts degree in 2009, as a good holding operation, given that it will not commit them to any particular career direction for a further three years. Whatever happens in the world and domestic economies, we will always need social-science graduates to manage our social service, as we will need teachers to teach in our schools and colleges. We will need graduates in IT, science and engineering to operate our high-tech industries that are still very strong employers of Irish graduates.

As the developing world increases in wealth, the demand for high-quality food products should provide a strong platform for those interested in the agriculture and food industries and in educational programmes that lead to careers in these fields.

Given the huge potential that the ongoing development of countries such as China and India offer, business courses that lead to careers which will service these growing markets should remain in strong demand in the years ahead.

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