Ireland’s only third level college that can boast a 100% employment record saw it’s largest ever class graduate yesterday.
The annual ceremony at the Shannon College of Hotel Management also saw the first batch of graduates from one of the world’s leading exotic holiday destinations, the Seychelles.
After signing a ground-breaking deal with the Seychelles Government to exclusively educate the country’s hoteliers, 13 Seychellois students were among the 91 students who graduated yesterday.
The College is owned by Shannon Airport and 50% of this year’s graduates came from 13 different countries, including a large portion from China and India as well as Germany, Norway, Russia, Estonia and the Netherlands.
College director Mr Philip Smyth said: “There is huge opportunity in international education for third level institutions and also for the wider economy and what we have achieved here at the Shannon College is a really good example of that.”
“Over 45% of our students are from outside Ireland, some from as far afield as China and India, which are huge potential markets for international education. We have a really good international reputation and that helps but we have had to get out, roll up our sleeves and sell ourselves very hard in these markets because that’s what required,” Mr Smyth said.
He also stressed the importance of the division in Enterprise Ireland in supporting educational institutions in attracting international students.
“The potential benefits for the Irish economy from capitalising on its international education potential are huge. Colleges will benefit through fees, the locality will benefit through accommodation and subsistence. Then you have the affinity that these students, many of whom will go on to become leaders in their respective fields, will have with Ireland for the rest of their lives and the benefits that could flow from this,” Mr Smyth added.
Among the colleges most successful alumni is Gerard Lawless, executive chairman of one of the Jumeriah Group, which operates the acclaimed Burj Al Arab in Dubai — recognised as the world’s most luxurious and only ‘seven-star’ hotel.
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