Embarking on a new educational journey
Congratulations to the record number of applicants who receive college offers this morning from the CAO. It's one of a number of records broken in a year which has seen better grades in the Leaving resulting in higher points for many courses, especially those that students believe will get them good jobs when they graduate.
Going to college is expensive for students and their families. But parents see it as a worthwhile investment, as all the indications are that those with a third-level qualification have higher earnings over a lifetime than those who left the education system earlier - not always, but generally. Graduates also have a lower unemployment rate than those without third-level qualifications.
This is hardly surprising, as an increasingly complex and technologically-driven society demands higher levels of education from its citizens. Projections show that the economy will need a rising supply of people with higher-level skills well into the future. Not all of these skills will be learned in third-level colleges, and many young people decide that higher education is not for them. In fact, one in five who got their Leaving Cert results last week did not apply to the CAO and choose to follow different paths. Some will go directly into the workplace, while others will enrol in colleges in further education or else sign up for one of the broader range of apprenticeships announced recently by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan, where they will also acquire urgently needed skills.