Thursday, November 25, 2010

From the campus to the dole queue

Student Excellence Awards were presented at the National College of Ireland today, and I finished a class early to attend. The award for both Best First Year Student and best Third Year Student went to students (Brian S and Darren O'N respectively) from the B.A. in Management of Technology in Business - much of my teaching in on this programme. Many congratulations to both students, and all the other worthy winners of their respective awards. Students are presented with a certificate, and get their photos posted on the Atrium wall for a year (plus of course the added value of having something really worthwhile on their CV).

There is now considerable difficulty for new graduates in getting jobs. Last Tuesday the Irish Times published a report "From the campus to the dole queue" - the report describes the experiences of three recent graduates. Sad that such talented students cannot find work. At my own College's recent Graduation Ball, all the students I talked to at one table had no job and were just about to emigrate to Australia or Canada. While I envy them the opportunity to travel and work abroad, I know that the streets of Sydney and Toronto are not paved with gold either. Good luck to them all - I do feel that they are better off out of this country for a few years. The world is now a lot smaller than it was. I dread the day when my own daughters have to make a similar decision.

I do sometimes wonder if my own efforts as a Lecturer at third level are being wasted as we (Ireland) educate graduates for the emigration trail. I think not - work and travel abroad is only part of a person's development. Going to College is a significant step in personal development. Long may it continue!

Some graduate unemployment figures from the Irish Times report - they make for stark reading: 

450,000
The number of people unemployed in Ireland in September, representing a jobless rate of 13.7 per cent. This is one of the highest unemployment rates in the developed world.
100,000
The number of unemployed graduates, according to recent report of the Union of Students in Ireland
30%
The percentage of 2009 graduates describing themselves as unemployed, according to a survey conducted by UCD Students Union
1,000
The number of graduates set to leave Ireland every week, according to a USI estimate
150,000
The number of graduates set to emigrate in the next five years

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