New CAO figures show that students are increasingly opting to study for careers linked to the construction industry. Architecture, engineering and business courses are among the most popular for students entering college this autumn.
Applications for higher degree courses linked to the built environment are expected to increase by 20 percent in the next month. Engineering and technology should be up 7 percent. A 6 percent increase is expected in both law and architecture applications.
Policy and industry groups will welcome the rise in applications for technology and construction courses. It is predicated that the skills shortage in these sectors will soon reach crisis levels. There is already a significant shortfall of information and computer technology professionals as well as qualified construction personnel.
Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation, says the construction sector is buoyant.
“We’re hiring at a rate of about 1,000 jobs a month,” said Parlon. “There has been a 50 per cent increase in the number of architectural roles available this year.”
Arts are down but not out say CAO figures
Applications for arts and social sciences are down by 3 percent. However, arts is still the most popular degree programme. Arts is the first-choice for an honours degree for 16,000 college applicants.
The number of college applications has increased overall as well. Population growth and promotion of higher education is seen as responsible for this. However, the surge in applications is believed to be putting pressure on the third-level education sector. Furthermore, applications are projected to rise by up to a third over the next ten years.
The message that higher education is necessary seems to have been clearly received. Ireland has the highest proportion of young people with third-level qualifications across the European Union.