13% of Irish Students Believe University Prepares Them Very Little for Labor Market

More than four in 10 students in Ireland, or 13 per cent of them, said they gain few skills at universities and colleges which could help them in finding a job, the Irish Survey of Student Engagement has shown.

The study which included 44,707 freshmen, final year undergraduate students and post-graduate students pursuing studies this year at 26 different third-level institutions in the country, has been carried out during February and March, Erudera College News reports.

The study has been mostly conducted before the COVID-19 outbreak. Thus, the authors of the report have said that the findings of next year will better reveal the impact of the pandemic.

Regarding the experience at universities or colleges and how it impacts students’ development for the labour market, 13 per cent of students said experience at university or college has “very little” impacted their employment, whereas 29 per cent ticked “some”.

34 per cent or more than a third answered with “quite a bit”, followed by 24 per cent who believed that experience at university had helped them “very much” with job-related skills.

When asked if university and college life had prepared them for solving real-world problems, the surveyed students have answered:

  • more than 15 per cent said “very little”
  • 33 per cent ticked “just some”

Whereas, 32 per cent believe that universities have prepared them on solving real-world problems “quite a bit”, and 19 per cent said education has “very much” strengthened them in this regard.

Among others, through the survey, students were also asked whether their chosen institutions supported them academically. 58 per cent of students said they have felt “quite a bit” or “very much” academically supported.

A third of them said they had received only “some” support at colleges while studying, and nearly one in 10 answered they have received “very little” support.

Regarding the support over responsibilities such as work or family life, the survey has revealed that:

  • 38 per cent have received “very little support” of non-academic support
  • 34 per cent have received  “some”
  • 19 per cent “quite a bit” support
  • 8 per cent stated there was “very much” support

Nevertheless, most of the students showed satisfaction on the overall education experience at third level, as 51 per cent of them listed it as a good experience, 29 per cent as excellent, 17 per cent as fair, and only 3 per cent of students said they consider it a poor experience.

When asked whether they would take the same decision to pursue studies at the same university or college, the majority of students stated they would choose the same higher education institution.

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