Students applying to the CAO for the coming college year have a greater choice available to them than in previous years.
A €24m investment by the State has allowed 22 higher education institutions to offer almost 3,000 new places on 138 full-time undergraduate courses for autumn 2020 and 2021.
The high priority skills areas focused upon in the new courses include science, engineering, ICT and construction.
The initiative will see 574 new places created for students on 31 Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) courses, 562 places on software and app development courses, 277 places for Environmental Sciences, and 259 new places for Electronics and automation, among others.
In terms of location, some 498 of the places will be in Dundalk IT, 318 places in UCD, 297 in TU Dublin, 224 in Limerick IT, 182 in Dublin Business School, 152 places in Athlone IT, 146 in Letterkenny IT, 142 in Waterford IT, 34 places in IT Tralee, 20 places in Cork IT and one place in UCC.
The places are provided following applications under Pillar Two of the Human Capital Initiative, a key part of the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland strategy and its focus on enhancing skills and developing and attracting talent.
Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, said: “
“We know where the demands are for highly educated, qualified graduates. And this investment is responding directly to that need. There is a future focus to many of the courses, like robotics and intelligent devices, digital healthcare, building services as well as renewable energy.
“Government is looking to tomorrow; our education system is backing the vision; and our universities and colleges are answering the call to prepare students with better skills for a changing world of work. This investment is a key part of the Government’s strategy, under Future Jobs Ireland.”
For each extra place that is provided on target courses, higher education institutions will be allocated €2,500 in new funding.
There are three pillars in the Human Capital Initiative.
The special fund totals €300m over five years — €60m a year from 2020 to 2024. Pillar One of the Human Capital Initiative, which will be launched in early 2020 will comprise Government investment of €65 million in graduate conversion courses.