Record rise in number of mature students
THE number of mature students going to college reached 111,000 last year -- or almost 5pc of the entire adult population -- as people opted out of the dole queue and back into education.
And Leaving Certificate pupils looking for the best career prospects should consider education courses where graduates were the most likely to find a job.
In its annual report for 2010, the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which advises the Government, found that more people than ever are taking part in lifelong learning. Numbers are up 40pc in the past five years.
Almost half of the mature students were full-time, while 45pc were either in full-time or part-time employment and were up-skilling.
Meanwhile, the report found that, despite the recession, the number of young third-level graduates who were in work remained unchanged at 85pc.
Graduates of education courses were the most likely to find employment, with 92pc securing a job.
Engineering graduates had the most trouble finding a job, with 11pc of them jobless.
And there were promising signs for the hi-tech knowledge economy, with the number of PhD graduates in science up by just over a quarter.
However, that trend wasn't replicated at second level where higher-level maths, chemistry and physics continue to flag in the popularity stakes.
This is despite more pupils than ever before sitting the Leaving Certificate, with 87pc of secondary students completing, and more of them opting to take higher-level exam papers.
Maths was the only subject to see a decline in the numbers sitting the higher-level paper with just 8,400 students, or 16pc of all pupils, taking it.