Leaving Cert students receiving results tomorrow should consider all options for their future careers, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Aisling Dolan, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Education, Science & Innovation wished the students well as they anticipate their results tomorrow, and highlighted there are other options beyond the traditional college degree.
Senator Dolan said, “I wish the very best of luck to all students getting their Leaving Cert results tomorrow. It will be a day of great joy for many but inevitably some will feel they have not achieved their first choices. Now more than ever before students can take heart that there is a wide range of routes to the career you want. Students and their parents should look at all the options including Apprenticeships, further education options or even taking some time out if they need it. The number one priority should be the wellbeing of the student as they navigate this next step. There is lots of information available to parents to support their children in making the right choice.
“There are currently 60 Apprenticeship programmes leading to valuable qualifications in areas such as finance, accountancy, laboratory technicians, engineering, heavy vehicle mechanics and healthcare. The arboriculture apprenticeship in the Petersburg centre in Galway is a great example of a successful programme.
“This earn and learn model can be really beneficial for many and people should know they can achieve up to National Framework of Qualifications, NFQ, level. So Apprenticeships provide different routes to a career but also can be a great stepping stone to further qualifications.
“Government funding for Apprenticeships increased from €172 million to €184 million in 2020 due to the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme that was introduced as part of the July Jobs stimulus. This funding was then further increased in Budget 2021 to €198 million in order to continue the incentivisation scheme and to increase provision in 2021 to help with the back log.
“Of course due to the effects of the pandemic, apprenticeship provision was severely curtailed in 2020 and therefore actual expenditure was below the funding allocated, but this year we are seeing a return to a full spend of the allocation for Apprenticeships with an increase in the numbers of students enrolling.
“Further education courses are another great option for people who are not ready to go straight into a degree. Students and parents should check out Solas.ie for more information as well as their Local Education and Training Board for the local options. Further education is available to school leavers and indeed people of all ages who wish to avail of it.
“In addition, the Government’s new employment services strategy, Pathways to Work provides quality work experience and training opportunities for jobseekers, in particular, those whose jobs were permanently lost due to the pandemic.
“We need to shift our thinking away from the historical focus on college degrees. I was very pleased to hear my colleague Minister for Further & Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris reconfirm today his plan to review the CAO model and reduce the focus on the points race, He is committed to the creation of an integrated tertiary education system which will effectively replace the CAO form for future Leaving Cert students,” concluded Senator Dolan.