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Does university still pay off for most Irish graduates? Apprenticeships better?

patslatt

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While surveys in the USA repeatedly show that university graduates enjoy far higher pay than high school graduates, university may no longer pay off for Irish graduates if the Irish job market is similar to the UK's going by a recent report on UK graduates at University does not pay off for most graduates | News | The Times & The Sunday Times (pay wall).

Lack of standardisation of high school graduation exams in the USA, not necessarily low standards, may explain a large portion of the pay gap with college graduates as employers likely find it difficult to evaluate job applicants with high school education. In contrast, the Irish Leaving Certificate and the UK's A Level GCEs provide an objective, trustworthy guide to educational attainment for employers. This helps improve the job prospects of LC and A Levels graduates, narrowing the pay gap with university graduates.

The linked article says that graduates earn only £100,000 more than non-graduates over a typical 45 year career but a lot of that is wiped out by high taxation and what's left isn't enough to cover interest on student loans. Of course, this figure is an average, with graduates of prestigious universities and occupations in high tech and medicine earning very high pay.

Apprenticeships are an obvious alternative to university degrees but prospects for earnings in trades are difficult to assess. The biggest employers of highly paid trades are mechanical engineering industries which are dominated by Germany,USA, Japan and Korea. In Ireland,highly paid trades tend to be in construction.
 
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devoutcapitalist

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Our politicians are obsessed with getting as many people into 3rd Level education as possible even though for a sizeable minority they would not be suited to college/university and would be better off going into the workforce after school and doing an apprentice.

There is also a certain amount of snobbery attached to apprenticeships in Ireland.
 

gleeful

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Depends on the topic of study.

Science, Engineering, Maths... basically anything technical, absolutely worth it.

Most non-technical subjects don't pay off.
 

rockofcashel

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While surveys in the USA repeatedly show that university graduates enjoy far higher pay than high school graduates, university may no longer pay off for Irish graduates if the Irish job market is similar to the UK's going by a recent report on UK graduates at University does not pay off for most graduates | News | The Times & The Sunday Times (pay wall).

Lack of standardisation of high school graduation exams in the USA, not necessarily low standards, may explain a large portion of the pay gap with college graduates as employers likely find it difficult to evaluate job applicants with high school education. In contrast, the Irish Leaving Certificate and the UK's A Level GCEs provide an objective, trustworthy guide to educational attainment for employers. This helps improve the job prospects of LC and A Levels graduates, narrowing the pay gap with university graduates.

The linked article says that graduates earn only £100,000 more than non-graduates over a typical 45 year career but a lot of that is wiped up by high taxation and what's left isn't enough to cover interest on student loans. Of course, this figure is an average, with graduates of prestigious universities and occupations in high tech and medicine earning very high pay.

Apprenticeships are an obvious alternative to university degrees but prospects for earnings in trades are difficult to assess. The biggest employers of highly paid trades are mechanical engineering industries which are dominated by Germany,USA, Japan and Korea. In Ireland,highly paid trades tend to be in construction.
Only if you want to stay in Ireland and live and work within 15 minutes of where you were brought up.

I served an apprencticeship.. did time abroad.. have a good job where I work.. get paid well.

But still have to look at college and University graduates look down their noses at me at the lads because we still wear overalls to work ..

Still, the extra 25-30k a year more we make than them more than make up for it :)
 

Hibee

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Too many kids here going to college. A curious combination of peer pressure & parental pressure. Policy needs to be changed to put a greater emphasis on vocational training . Too many kids now leaving college with degrees and that fact informing unrealistic salary expectations .
 

Betson

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Too many kids here going to college. A curious combination of peer pressure & parental pressure. Policy needs to be changed to put a greater emphasis on vocational training . Too many kids now leaving college with degrees and that fact informing unrealistic salary expectations .
A lot of the degrees are nonsense as well , social studies , human rights studies , gender studies etc etc , total waste of time and resources.
 

stopdoingstuff

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A lot of the degrees are nonsense as well , social studies , human rights studies , gender studies etc etc , total waste of time and resources.
Yeah abysmal. They should not be funded by the state.
 

Caothaoir

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A lot of the degrees are nonsense as well , social studies , human rights studies , gender studies etc etc , total waste of time and resources.
Mercurial seems to have done OK out of that stuff :D
 

Betson

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Mercurial seems to have done OK out of that stuff :D
But did he get a job out of it? , the only realistic job prospect would be to teach the nonsense to other fools or get a job with the Irish Times etc
 

TiredOfBeingTired

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The article below is American based, focusing on student debt, looong and scary.

However the problems between there and here are similar.

- Schoolkids and parents, unrealistically and cluelessly, looking at college.
- Schools pushing people towards university when it is not suitable.
- Schoolkids signing up for the wrong courses.
- Schoolkids signing up for the wrong colleges. Not as bad here as in USA.
- The extra problems for low income students.
- The problem of huge numbers of college kids who start but who do not finish.
- Debt problems. Not so bad over here...yet.
- The problem of ordinary jobs needing a college degree.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2016/05/18/hopes-dreams-debt/fR60cKakwUlGok0jTlONTN/story.html
 

ON THE ONE ROAD

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A trade would get better money and from people i know who have done both, harder to achieve. but we have been here before. The state needs to try and diversify the economy, we can't have a work force over reliant on the construction industry again.
 

Mr Aphorisms

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crimesofbrits
Economics and sociology, two worthless things to have, especially the former. I can't wait until I'm finished my mickey mouse arts degree. Turned down a new trade for this degree. Very much regret it, but I think I made the safe call and better to have a degree, than being let go as a second year apprentice and being forced to do forklift courses or an internship on the scratch.
 

Mr Aphorisms

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See, the sad thing about a guy like you is, in 50 years you're gonna start doin' some thinkin' on your own and you're going to come up with the fact that there are two certainties in life: one, don't do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on a ************************************' education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnZ0Y4rvz6E
 

Mercurial

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I don't think the value of a university education should be measured solely in terms of how much more money it puts in a person's pocket.

In my view, the real problem here is snobbery - apprenticeships and other non-university options can be just as rewarding and valuable for those who engage in them, but society needs to change its attitude to reflect that.

Ideally, people would study those things they have a real passion for, regardless of whether that involves going to university, learning a trade, or something else.
 

GDPR

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The Mrs never went to college, has gone thru the general list of low paid jobs. The job she has now, she loves it, teaching kids gymnastics. The pay is low but again she loves it. She can do a short course to learn more skills as she is going along. Yet it's on the job that she really learns from more experienced coaches. The point being, if it's possible do something you like, have a natural inclination for, go for it. There's no general right way, for some it's third level, for others it's a trade and as I've illustrated there are other options.
 

daveL

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While surveys in the USA repeatedly show that university graduates enjoy far higher pay than high school graduates, university may no longer pay off for Irish graduates if the Irish job market is similar to the UK's going by a recent report on UK graduates at University does not pay off for most graduates | News | The Times & The Sunday Times (pay wall).

Lack of standardisation of high school graduation exams in the USA, not necessarily low standards, may explain a large portion of the pay gap with college graduates as employers likely find it difficult to evaluate job applicants with high school education. In contrast, the Irish Leaving Certificate and the UK's A Level GCEs provide an objective, trustworthy guide to educational attainment for employers. This helps improve the job prospects of LC and A Levels graduates, narrowing the pay gap with university graduates.

The linked article says that graduates earn only £100,000 more than non-graduates over a typical 45 year career but a lot of that is wiped out by high taxation and what's left isn't enough to cover interest on student loans. Of course, this figure is an average, with graduates of prestigious universities and occupations in high tech and medicine earning very high pay.

Apprenticeships are an obvious alternative to university degrees but prospects for earnings in trades are difficult to assess. The biggest employers of highly paid trades are mechanical engineering industries which are dominated by Germany,USA, Japan and Korea. In Ireland,highly paid trades tend to be in construction.
Traditional third level in the main payoff

Engineering, Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Law, Accounting ect etc

Arts can pay off if you're willing to be institutionalised and become a staffer

However all the latest mickey mouse additions can be a road to minimum wage
 

daveL

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I don't think the value of a university education should be measured solely in terms of how much more money it puts in a person's pocket.

In my view, the real problem here is snobbery - apprenticeships and other non-university options can be just as rewarding and valuable for those who engage in them, but society needs to change its attitude to reflect that.

Ideally, people would study those things they have a real passion for, regardless of whether that involves going to university, learning a trade, or something else.
I don't think society has ever really been snobbish towards apprenticeships and/or internships..
 

Trainwreck

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Sep 6, 2012
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I don't think the value of a university education should be measured solely in terms of how much more money it puts in a person's pocket.

In my view, the real problem here is snobbery - apprenticeships and other non-university options can be just as rewarding and valuable for those who engage in them, but society needs to change its attitude to reflect that.

Ideally, people would study those things they have a real passion for, regardless of whether that involves going to university, learning a trade, or something else.
It should be measured by how much money it takes from taxpayers' pockets.

Which inevitably and unavoidably necessitates it be measured by how much it puts in peoples' pockets.


Your's is an attitude I see regularly from people who have never left education:

School => undergrad => postgrad => postdoc => tenure =>grave.
 

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