Business and technology jobs surge as over 52,000 receive CAO offers
Students target courses to give them skills to travel globally
School-leavers are signing up in their thousands for courses in computers, business and engineering to secure well paid jobs at home and abroad.
A record 52,289 offers are being made by the CAO today, with points for many high tech, business and construction-related courses jumping this year.
One course in particular symbolises the aspirations of many young Irish people with ambitions to travel - Dublin City University's (DCU) degree in Global Business (USA), which has leapt to 590 points.
The increase in offers follows an all-time high in CAO applications - up to a total of 80,887 this year from 79,214 last year, reflecting an ongoing rise in school-leaver numbers.
The head of Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Prof Mark Ferguson, said that "with starting salaries of up to €30,000 and 80 new jobs in technology announced each week, a career path is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) is a wise move".
Engineers Ireland also welcomed the increased demand for engineers - but it warned that severe shortages of specialists in this area will hinder the government's housing strategy.
"Ireland will face persistent housing shortages unless the demand for engineers catches up with demand," said Damien Owens of Engineers Ireland.
But it's not only the high-tech and business areas that are flourishing - a big demand for one of the more traditional careers, nursing, led to points rising for some courses.
In Dublin City University (DCU), the general nursing programme rose by 20 points to 450.
Meanwhile, at the University of Limerick (UL), applicants needed to be clear of 460 points to be sure of a place on its nursing programme.
Overall, about one-third of honours degree courses saw a points increase, with slightly more dropping and many others remaining the same.
While students chasing places on high-tech, construction and business courses - that are more likely to lead directly to jobs - faced a keener race for places this year, there have been drops in popular areas such as arts, easing the pressure on thousands of other college hopefuls.
A number of universities, such as DCU and Maynooth University (MU), increased their intake of arts students.
At UCD, which enrols 1,200 arts students, points dropped 10 to 320, while in MU, which now has the biggest arts intake in the country - up to almost 1,400 this year - points are down to 330.
The main primary teaching courses saw a slight fall in points.
In the construction field, architecture programmes saw some of the biggest points hike.
Quantitative business in University College Dublin (UCD) is the college's highest entry degree, at 585 points.
Meanwhile, at University College Cork (UCC) business courses rose by between five and 30 points.
UCD deputy registrar Prof Mark Rogers said the university continued to support the national recovery but the issue of funding higher education was holding it back.
In TCD there were increases of 10 points in engineering, maths and science.
Medicine points are down slightly, as they are in some other universities, although other healthcare courses, such as occupational therapy (520) and pharmacy (560), are showing increases of five points
UL saw a strong increase in demand for courses in its science and engineering faculty. Points for its aeronautical engineering course by 40 to 500 while its electronic and computer engineering course rose by 15 points to 425.
Science programmes in Limerick rose by 20 points for its applied physics degree.