LIT president issues warning to CAO students

Dr Maria Hinfelaar, president of LIT, says there is a major lack of qualified chefs
WITH the change of mind deadline for the CAO fast approaching, the president of LIT has warned students to make the right choice to enhance their job prospects.

WITH the change of mind deadline for the CAO fast approaching, the president of LIT has warned students to make the right choice to enhance their job prospects.

The difference, she said, could be a student starting out on a successful career path or being among the 15% or so of students nationally who drop out in their first year of third level studies.

Dr Maria Hinfelaar urged students to look to careers that suit their natural skill set, as well as certain disciplines with significant employment potential.

“Despite the economic challenges, Ireland still has one of the biggest gaps in Europe between skills and employers’ needs. This shows the real employment opportunities that exist and this is an opportunity that this year’s Leaving Certificate students should not ignore.

“There are an estimated 4,500 vacancies in ICT. Unemployment rates for engineers in Ireland are as low as 5%. The hotel industry is seeking to train approximately 3,000 new people a year due to natural attrition. The lack of chefs in restaurants is now at crisis point. The shortage of science graduates has also been well flagged,” she said.

“Even in the unexpected area of construction, there would appear to be a skills shortage based on recent statements by the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland who voiced their concern that there is an increasing struggle to find qualified graduate surveyors to fill vacancies.

“Some of these opportunities are in areas that perhaps this year’s Leaving Certificate students won’t even have considered. They have only a fortnight to get it right but it is enough time for students to make the choice that’s best for them.”

To assist students who are still undecided, LIT will operate a CAO advice helpdesk from now until July 1, CAO deadline day, on LITforMe@lit.ie. The helpdesk service will culminate with an advice day on campus on Wednesday, June 26. Leaving Certificate students will be given an opportunity to come to the campus, view the facilities and meet the LIT staff relevant to their queries. The LIT Career Officer will be available for one-to-one sessions. Appointments are to be made through the helpdesk email LITforMe@lit.ie as spaces are limited.

LIT’s graduate employment rate is up 8% since 2009, with 85% of graduates securing employment or further study opportunities and 50% of those have managed to secure employment in the Mid-West region.

“We also place a big emphasis, through our mentoring system on looking out for students, particularly in first year when the danger of attrition rate is highest. Students at risk of dropping out are looked out for and given special attention.”