17th Mar 2014

Soaring demand for business and computing degrees

Demand for computing, engineering and business degrees among school-leavers has surged again this year as college applicants heed advice on future job prospects as the economy recovers.

The college of Computer Training has two faculties, Computing and Business, and each offer HETAC/QQI Bachelor’s degrees:

In addition there are a host of offerings at other NFQ levels, as well as part-time offerings.

CCT is also on the CAO, whose applications have seen a bounce back in popularity of courses leading to careers in the construction industry, and professions such as law and architecture, while agriculture remains strong.

But a swing to science that was evident in recent years has stopped, according to a breakdown in applications for college entry next autumn, across 17 broad categories.

Applications to the CAO are at a record high. At 73,091, they are up almost 3pc on March 2013 – although the number of mature applicants is down slightly to 11,079.

The allocation of college places is based on supply and demand, and the extra competition this year in certain disciplines is likely to see points rise for courses in these areas.

The massive demand for a college place, up by about 11pc since 2008, reflects the population boom, as well as growing numbers staying on in school to sit the Leaving Certificate.

The economic crash in 2008 saw the disappearance of jobs into which school-leavers could walk, while the changing nature of work means that employers are seeking staff with qualifications at degree level and higher.

But six years on from the economic crash and the end of the building boom, a notable feature of this year’s CAO applications is the return in interest in construction.

Although the numbers are small, first preferences for Level 8 (honours degree) courses in the built environment category have more than doubled from 133 in 2013 to 312, although they are still down from 502 in 2008.

Meanwhile, first preferences for honours degree architecture courses are up 15pc on the year, while law has seen a 4pc rise.

The growth in interest in engineering and technology courses is at more than three times the overall average, with a 10pc rise in first preferences, while agriculture/horticulture has also retained its attraction, with 12pc growth.

There is also a continuing resurgence in interest in business, with a rise of almost 6pc in first preferences for honours degree courses, building on last year’s 4pc bounce.

Science has enjoyed a huge increase in applications since 2008, but only by less than 1pc since 2013. However, even with this year’s slowdown, first preferences for science remain at 71pc above 2008 levels.

Full story here.