Choose Life, Choose a Job, Choose a Career, Choose STEM!

Choosing a third level course is an important decision and one that will have lasting effects on you and your career. As a Guidance Counsellor, I believe that decision is ultimately about finding a course / direction that suits your personality, aptitude and ability. However, it's also about looking to the future and about giving you the best opportunity to grow in your career. With the "official" closing date for CAO (Irish university applications) at 5:15pm tomorrow, my advice is to think STEM! 

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics and encompasses a wide range of training courses which help to develop critical thinking, problem solving and analytical skills. These skills are highly sought after and valued across a range of industries and a degree in science, engineering, technology or maths will provide a solid foundation for a future career. According to the IDA, the technology and science industries in Ireland are set to grow in the coming decade, providing well qualified young graduates with job opportunities. Saying that, the skills obtained while studying STEM subjects are highly transferable to other industries - areas that value critical thinking and analytical skills.

The Irish universities and IT's offer a wide range of STEM courses - at NFQ Level 6, 7 and 8. There is a STEM course for everybody and a quick search through Qualifax will help you find the STEM course for you. has a brilliant section to help you find out more about STEM careers. You can explore hundreds of career possibilities through their website and view all the CAO courses in the STEM disciplines. There is also a large video library of people involved in STEM professions.

Let's face it - if you're studying for the Leaving Certificate this year, you are likely to face an extremely competitive jobs market in 5 years time. Choosing a STEM course will help you develop the skills that will help you get you that job - you will need to add a little bit of your other strengths to guarantee it's yours. 

Note: The closing date for normal CAO applications is tomorrow, however you don't need to finalise your course choices until much later. While the CAO system will shut for a few months, from early May you will be able to able to change your course preferences if you need - except restricted courses (including nursing) which need to be on your preference list by tomorrow.

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