A BLIND student from Corbally was among those celebrating his graduation at the University of Limerick this week.
It was a proud moment for Josh Stundon and his family, including parents Donal and Mary and twin sister Robin, after he graduated with his Bachelor’s degree in Law this Tuesday.
Josh, who shot to prominence in recent years on YouTube as the ‘blind skateboarder’, has always been in mainstream education, learning with the aid of voice recognition technology and Braille.
A keen piano player, Josh’s career may not necessarily lie in court, as he harbours hopes of becoming a music producer. The past pupil of Castletroy College, has been blind since birth and has been playing the piano since he was four years old.
“Once I got through first year (in college), I really started to settle in. I started doing what was expected of me. I studied very hard. The first year for me was a major transition,” he told the Limerick Leader.
“I had a few favourite subjects, some of my favourites were criminal procedure, the laws of evidence and crime and criminal justice,” he said.
Asked what advice he would give to young people with a disability who wish to study in university, he said: “I would say there’s very little to be afraid of. If you want to pursue your dream and you know that you can have it, then come to university because there’s lots of support there for people in the same situation as me.”
He plans to return to UL in the autumn to do a Master’s in Human Rights and Criminal Justice.
Some 2,422 students will graduate from UL over four days of conferring ceremonies this week, including 44 PhD graduates.
UL graduates continue to be the most sought after Irish university graduates as they are 22% more likely to be employed after graduation than any other Irish university graduate.
At the conferrings, UL president Professor Don Barry, spoke of the “UL edge” – and said: “It is something of which this university is very proud.
“Our most recent survey revealed that more than seven out of 10 of our graduates are going into direct employment. And most of the rest go on to further study and research,” said Professor Barry.
Despite the challenging environment, UL’s graduate employment rate for 2014 primary degree-holders is now 22% higher than the HEA’s most recently-available national average figure which is 51% for 2013.
The survey of UL’s 2014 graduates showed 92% are either employed or pursuing further study.
Each year, the UL Careers Service collects information about the ‘First Destinations’ of UL graduates. During the April/May period following graduation, graduates who have completed full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses are surveyed for details on their current status.
This current survey was conducted nine months after graduation and focuses on the employment and further study patterns of the graduates of 2014. A total of 3,149 graduates were surveyed and a response rate of 86% was achieved.
Just over 70% of graduates went directly into employment, 56% in Ireland and 17% overseas. This is a three per cent increase in employment levels on 2013 with a seven per cent increase of those securing employment within Ireland.
In recent years the Mid-West has become the most popular region of employment and accounts for 36% of jobs, followed by Dublin at 27%.
The most popular overseas location was the UK at 41%, an increase of 2% on 2013, followed by North America at 21%.