Consider job opportunities when selecting course to study



COLLEGE CHOICE: IF YOU have identified your CAO options, you will want to know about the job prospects for these courses.

The most useful resource is the Careers Portal website at This site provides the most up-to-date information on what is happening in the Irish labour market today.

By exploring this site, you can inform yourself about any job or occupational area which will be available to you on graduation. College students nearing graduation will also find the site useful given the volatility of today’s labour market.

Once you enter your appropriate search word, reflecting your current area of interest, you will immediately have access to:

* The key facts about this sector/ occupation;

* Are there job shortages in this area now, or will there be in the near future?

* What are the key skills required?

* What are the key interests required to be happy in this occupation?

* What are the day-to-day tasks and activities undertaken in this occupation?

* What courses are related to this occupation?

 What vacancies are being advertised today for people in this sector/occupation?

You can also read career interviews and watch videos of workers talking about what they do on a daily basis and outlining the skills required for the job. They will also tell you about the qualifications required to secure the job they do.

As an example of how this might work, let’s assume you highlighted a number of areas in the “Computers and Software” sector.

You will be presented with three industry sectors within “Computers and Software”. Having looked at the overview of the sector and examined the page in detail, you will see that “Computer Applications Programmer” is coming up under the skills shortages section.

Going directly into the details of the “Computer Applications Programmer”, you will find a job description, typical tasks undertaken, links to more detailed information, related courses and links to current job vacancies for this occupation.

There are also video profiles of workers in this sector and the most up-to-date labour market statistics are graphically displayed.

You can repeat this procedure for any sector or occupation you are considering, either now or closer to graduation.

By going through this exploration process on the careers portal website, whether you are a school leaver or an adult who has decided to return to education to improve employment prospects, you will be able to clearly match up the courses you are considering with the current labour market trends for graduates in your chosen area.

Brian Mooney is a former president of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. 

The Irish Times – Friday, January 14, 2011

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