Green Economy to provide opportunities
At times like these we are all searching hard for good news, news that encourages us and lifts our spirits in the middle of the gloom. It's particularly important for our young people.
As many parents notice, this generation is becoming very cynical and disillusioned about the future of the country, and about their own future prospects in particular.
It goes without saying that young people represent the future of the country, and we must do our utmost to give them the encouragement and opportunity they need.
There is encouragement that, even within the context of cutbacks in the publicly funded sectors, education is earmarked for continuing growth. Students will be required to make a bigger contribution to third-level costs, which will be a burden for many.
But future growth depends on a skilled and educated workforce, so students should do their best to avail of the opportunities that are out there.
The Green Economy is one of the areas where growth is forecast. The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) has just published a report which identifies the future skills needs of enterprises engaged within the Irish 'green economy' and which proposes a range of measures to drive business and employment growth.
If substantive progress were made, the report anticipates that employment in the sector would rise from 18,750 in 2010 to 29,000 by 2015. Taking into account both 'expansion' and 'replacement', it is believed that around 14,500 employment opportunities would arise over the next five years.
It is anticipated that there should be more employment opportunities for engineers and scientists, technicians and other skilled workers.
Meanwhile at this time of the academic year, a number of universities recognise the school Leaving Certificate examination achievements of some of their new entrants with a series of awards.
Last week, a total of 436 first-year students of Trinity College Dublin were awarded special Entrance Exhibitions Awards. The awards are presented to those who achieved 560 points or more in the Leaving Certificate or equivalent examination.
This year, 34% of the new entrance scholars are pursuing studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences; 31% studying courses in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; and 17% studying courses in the Faculty of Engineering, Mathematics and Science.
In UCD Entrance scholarships, which are awarded to the highest point students in each degree programme across the university, were awarded to 177 students, 129 of whom achieved more than 540 points in their Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) exams. A total of 479 UCD First Years in 2010 reached the "High Achiever" status, by attaining 540+ points in their Leaving Certificate (or equivalent).
Earlier in the month, NUI Maynooth awarded a total of 100 scholarships to students at its Entrance Scholarship Awards ceremony.
The Trinity College Dublin Open Day, scheduled for today, has been cancelled. The National College of Art and Design (NCAD) hosts its Annual Open Day tomorrow from 9am-2pm. Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) hosts its annual open day for all its courses on Saturday from 9.30am-2.30pm, in its Aungier St campus.