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More Graduates and Higher Incomes - two new studies by the CSO

Two new studies - Higher Education Outcomes and Further Education Outcomes, both for graduation years 2010-2016, were published in July 2019 by the Central Statistics Office.  These two publications analyse the destinations of graduates from Ireland’s Higher and Further Education sectors in terms of employment, re-enrolment in education, the industry sectors that graduates work in and the earnings that they receive over time.

80% of those who graduated from Higher Education in 2016 were in employment one year post-graduation, with 59% in employment only and 21% in employment and education.  A further 6% were in education.  The median weekly earnings of those who graduated in 2012 increased from €415 in year one to €670 in year five, with graduates in the 'Education' and 'Health and Welfare' sectors earning the most one year after graduation and those in the 'ICT' sector earning the most after 5 years.

62.2% of those who graduated from Further Education in 2016 were in employment one year post-graduation, with 25.8% in employment only and 36.4% in employment and education.  A further 26.8% remained in education.  There was, however, a signifcant drop in those qualifying from apprenticeships between 2010 (when there were 3,295 qualified apprentices) and 2016 (when there were just 1,220).

The impact of education, particularly to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged, cannot be overstated. Investment in education at all levels and throughout the life cycle can deliver a more equal society and prepare citizens to participate in a democracy.  Access to appropriate education and skills development from early years to adulthood is one of the key public services that enables participation in society, public life and the labour market. 

The focus of our education system must be to ensure people are engaged and active citizens and have the necessary critical and creative skills to navigate an ever-changing employment environment, can to adapt to transitions as they occur and participate fully in society. This is especially important for children and young people today, who upon leaving formal education will be entering a very different employment landscape to their parents. 

To achieve this core policy objective in the years ahead, Social Justice Ireland believes that policy should:

  • Deliver a long-term sustainable, appropriately funded education strategy that takes a whole-person, life-cycle approach to learning;
  • Make the improvement of educational outcomes for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and disadvantaged communities a policy priority;
  • Commit to reach the lifelong learning target set out in the National Skills Strategy and ensure sufficient resources are made available;
  • Develop an integrated skills development, vocation training, apprenticeship and reskilling strategy as part of the lifelong learning strategy and the Human Capital Initiative;
  • Develop a framework to deliver sustainable funding revenues for higher education over the next five years with a roadmap to 2028.

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