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Sunday 26 March 2017

Struggle to fill courses as slump in maths takes toll

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

ENGINEERING and computing courses have failed to attract enough qualified candidates to fill the available places following the first round of third level offers.

The CAO yesterday published a list of course vacancies on its website with dozens of engineering and computing courses trying to fill places.

Many of these places are available due to another year of disappointing results in higher level maths in the Leaving Certificate.

Yesterday evening, there were vacancies on 151 courses around the country, most of them at institutes of technology.

The National University of Ireland, Maynooth, had spaces to fill on a number of electronic engineering courses, while there were also vacancies on mathematical sciences at Dublin Institute of Technology.

Some of the colleges with vacant places will be holding their own "second chance" maths exam.

Meanwhile, the National Parents' Council post-primary exam helpline said it had received an increase in queries this year about course vacancies as students see what options are available to them.

Rose Tully, co-ordinator of the helpline, said many callers yesterday were concerned because they had not yet received an offer from the CAO. She said the second round of offers, due out on September 1, will be particularly important to them.

Guidance

The helpline, which was sponsored by Eircom and the Irish Independent and which closed last night, was staffed by members of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. Over the last week it received more than 1,400 individual calls and more than 2,600 queries.

"We have been flat out. It really shows that the service is needed and that everybody is doing their best to help parents and students on the ground," said Ms Tully.

NUI Galway yesterday issued a final call for applications to the six courses it is offering to the unemployed as part of the Springboard initiative.

All the courses are part-time and can be taken via distance learning for those who are unable to attend the campus on a weekly basis. Jobseekers who take part in the courses do no lose their social welfare.

Nuala McGuinn, adult education development officer at the university, said: "Springboard is primarily designed to help people who have lost their jobs as a result of the recession and who need to up-skill to gain sustainable employment again."

Irish Independent

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