School leavers swing back to law and construction courses
SCHOOL leavers are swinging back to college courses leading to careers in the construction industry and professions such as law and architecture.
A breakdown of this year's applications to the CAO shows a big return in popularity in areas that suffered a big decline after the economic crash and end of the building boom.
The figures also show a continuing resurgence in interest in business courses, with a rise of almost six per cent in first preferences for honours degree courses.
CAO applications are at a record high for this time of the year, at 73,091, up almost three per cent on 2013.
Rising college applications reflect the population boom as well growing numbers of second-level students opting to stay on in school to sit the Leaving Certificate.
Six years on from the building industry crash, a notable feature of this year's CAO applications is the return in interest in construction.
Although the numbers are small, first preferences for Level 8 (honours degree) courses in the built environment category have more than doubled from 133 in 2013 to 312. Meanwhile, first preferences for Level 8 architecture courses are up 15 per cent on the year, while law has seen a four per cent rise.
The rise in popularity in engineering and technology courses is continuing with a 10 per cent rise in first preferences, while agriculture/horticulture has also retained its attraction, with 12 per cent growth.
Science has enjoyed a huge surge in interest in recent years, but that has slipped this year with applications rising by less than one per cent.