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University of Limerick graduates still have employability edge

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Graduates at this year’s University of Limerick conferring ceremonies, which take place this week, face “a more positive economic environment and a buoyant jobs market,” according to university President Dr Des Fitzgerald. 

According to a recent survey, nearly three quarters (74%) of last year’s UL graduates are in employment. 

This figure is a full 12% higher than the average employment rate for all Irish universities graduates in 2015, which stands at 62%. 

Dr Fitzgerald highlighted the figures to the 2,687 newest UL graduates, including 47 PhDs, all formally receiving their qualifications this week.  

UL graduates 2017 – photo: Diarmuid Greene, True Media

“You are entering a more positive economic environment and a buoyant jobs market. Even through the bleak years of recession, UL maintained its fantastic record of graduates in employment and UL graduates remain some of the most employable graduates in Ireland. 74 per cent of last year’s UL graduates are in employment – that’s 12 per cent higher than the average employment rate for all Irish university graduates in 2015. Most of those who are not in employment went on to further education,” Dr Fitzgerald told the class of 2017.  

Each year, UL’s Cooperative Education and Careers Division (CECD) collects information about the ‘First Destinations’ of its graduates. The survey supported by the Higher Education Authority forms part of a nationwide review of the employment outcomes of Irish university graduates.*  

Of the 74% of University of Limerick graduates who went directly into employment, 63% are employed in Ireland and 11% overseas. This is a 2% increase in employment levels overall on the previous year with an increase of 3% if those securing employment within Ireland.

The results record a decrease of 1% in the number of University of Limerick graduates seeking employment, which is now 5%. This is lower than the official labour market unemployment figure that is currently in excess of 6.3%.

The survey shows that one-fifth of the class of 2016 went on to do some form of postgraduate study or research. 

UL’s doctorate students are also very much in demand, with 89% of last year’s PhD graduates currently in employment – 70%in Ireland and 19% overseas. Also, 84% of those who completed a Research Masters and 80% of last year’s Taught Masters graduates are currently in employment. 

Professor Desmond Fitzgerald Picture: Alan Place

In his speech, President Fitzgerald mentioned UL’s achievements over the past year including achieving University of Sanctuary status, the launch of the Titan Themis microscopethe opening of the Munster Rugby High Performance Centre and the new 25m pool, as well as detailing the university’s new Healthy Campus initiative.

“This is a programme close to my heart,” said Professor Fitzgerald. “As part of this campaign, we will be introducing healthier eating options in our restaurants, and we will be moving towards a ‘No Smoking’ campus – with designated smoke-free areas all around the campus in the coming months. We will also have support programmes for students and staff seeking help to quit smoking.”

“Through this initiative we aim to create a model of excellence and to promote a healthy environment in which to develop the minds and bodies of our students,” he added. 

President Fitzgerald concluded his speech to the graduating class of 2017 with words of encouragement: “As you know, graduates from this great institution have made and continue to make an enormous contribution to this region, the country and the wider world. You now stand in that line of tradition, about to make your own mark, in your own way.

*The UL Cooperative Education and Careers Service offers careers information, advice and guidance in good faith. Users must take responsibility for their own decisions based on this information. 

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