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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Education and Skills

Education and Skills in May 2011 presents the retention rates of pupils in second level schools; itprovides data relating to pupils who entered the first year of the junior cycle in the years from 1991to 2004 and completed second level schooling no later than 2010. The analysis is limited in that itrelates to students entering the state-aided post primary sector only and does not take account ofimportant educational pathways outside this system such as Youthreach and apprenticeship training.The following are the main findings of the study:• Overall when an adjustment is made for pupils from in the original 2004 entry cohort wholeft the state-aided post primary sector, emigrated or died, the national retention rate is87.7%. This compares to 81.3% in 1996 (the first year for which an adjusted rate isavailable).• The percentage of students who sit the Leaving Cert overall has risen by more than 6% to87.7% in 8 years.• The national unadjusted Leaving Certificate retention rate slowly increased up to the 2003entry cohort. The 2004 entry cohort showed the biggest annual increase (+2.3%) since theanalysis began in 1991. The increase is mostly due to pupils not leaving school in the finalyears of senior cycle in 2009 and 2010 and this is likely to be associated with changedlabour market conditions.• While a gender gap (4.1%) remains at national level between male and female cohorts. Theunadjusted retention rate to Leaving Certificate for males in the 2004 cohort was 82.4%,compared with 86.5% for females. The gender gap is far lower than in previous years. Thenumber of young men staying in secondary school has risen dramatically by 11.4% in 8years.• On average, voluntary secondary schools continue to have the highest retention rates at boththe Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate stage. However the gap between the differenttypes of schools is closing. VEC schools have, on average, lower rates of retention toLeaving Certificate, especially for males (retention rate for 2004 was 77.5%) although itshould be noted that many of these transfer to apprenticeships and other forms of training.• Retention rates to Leaving Certificate in the cities tend to be lower than in other areas.• The rate of retention comparable to completion of upper second-level education (equivalentto NFQ levels 4,5 and 6 Advanced), is higher than presented in the report as participation inapprenticeship, out-of-school programmes and other training within the first year of leavingschool is not taken into account in the retention analysis.• The percentage of students who sit the Leaving Cert overall has risen by more than 6% to87.7% in 8 years.There are also indications that the number of first year enrolments in Post Leaving Certificatecourses has increased since the start of the down-turn (reflecting the lack of job opportunities forthis cohort) while new registrants for FÁS apprenticeships have decreased dramatically since thecollapse of the construction sectorTable 14: PLC Enrolments (1st year) and FÁS Apprenticeship New Registrations 2006-2010 24 .Year PLC (1 st Year Enrolments) FÁS Apprenticeships (NewRegistrations)2006 24,942 8,3182007 24,572 6,7672008 28,160 3,7642009 32,401 1,5322010 32,880 1,197Source: Derived from Table 2.2. Monitoring Irelands Skills Supply, 2011 SLMRU.24 PLC data is per academic year, FÁS data is per calendar year30

The number of first year PLC course enrolments grew by almost one-third to reach almost 33,000 in2010 and in contrast the number of new registrants on FÁS apprenticeships declined by nearly7,000. This fall coincides with the sharp downturn in the construction industry where mostapprentices are employed. It should be noted that apprenticeship registrations are a reflection ofskills’ demand rather than skills supply as individuals must be in employment in order to register asan apprentice.Table 15 below shows the number of new entrants to higher education in the academic years2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10.Table15: New Entrants to Full-time Undergraduate Higher Education by Age 2007-2010Age 2007/08 2008/09 %difference07/08-08/092009/2010 %difference08/09-09/1019 and under 26,843 28,700 7% 29,756 4%20-22 4,913 5,346 9% 5,032 -6%23+ 4,196 4,782 14% 6,027 26%Total 35,952 38,828 8% 40,815 5%Source: Derived from Tables 2.1: Monitoring Irelands Skills Supply 2010 and 2011 SLMRU.In the academic year 2008/09 almost 39,000 people were new entrants to higher education, themajority of whom (almost three-quarters) were aged 19 years or less the age corresponding to thetypical school leaving age in Ireland. Although the number of mature students entering highereducation for the first time increased by 14% in the same period, their overall share of placesremained constant at 12%. In 2009/10, the number of new entrants to higher education totalled40,815 5% more than the preceding year. While the majority again were aged 19 or less, thenumber of students age 23 or more grew by 26% during the period and accounted for over 14% ofall new entrants. The number of students aged 23 or more grew by 44% over the period. This mayreflect the increasing numbers of recently unemployed people returning to education in order toimprove their qualifications in an effort to improve their job opportunities and avoidunemployment.This is reinforced by figures published by the Department of Social Protection (DSP) 25 which showthat the demand for higher education from adults, especially unemployed adults, continues toincrease. In the 2009/2010 academic year a total of 20,808 people (10,457 at 2 nd level and 10,351 at3 rd level) were in receipt of a Back to Education Allowance. This represents an overall increase of79% on 2009 figures.3.2.2 Trends in enterprises behaviour.There is no statutory obligation on companies to provide CVET for their workforce and no specificsectoral agreements in respect of CVET within enterprises. Employers generally provide training onthe basis of their own requirements and this is usually provided in-house or sub-contracted on acommercial basis to private training providers. Some public and large commercial companies alsoprovide paid release for employees to participate on education and training courses. (See also 6.3).Due to the growth in the economy in Ireland from 1998-2006, there was a rapid expansion in totalapprentice registrations from 16,125 in 1998 to 29,801 in 2006, with approximately 11,90025DSP Annual Report 2010.31

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