The University of Limerick shortlisted for top award

The University of Limerick is the only third-level Irish college short-listed for an international award for quality placement programmes.

The institution has been selected as one of only five finalists from a total of 350 applications in the Best University Placement Awards.

The accolade is part of the Undergraduate Employability Awards, sponsored by The Guardian newspaper, PwC and the UK Association of Graduate Recruiters.

The other finalists are the universities of Nottingham, Aston, Huddersfield (Times Higher Education University of the Year 2013), and Coventry (School of Computing and Engineering).

The purpose of the awards is to acknowledge and showcase outstanding achievements of universities, employers and students in the undergraduate work experience arena.

The University of Limerick was selected on the basis of the innovative nature, scale, extensive international dimension and inclusivity of its cooperative education (work placement) programme. With some 1,700 placements annually, UL’s cooperative education programme is the largest placement programme in Ireland and one of the largest in Europe.

At the announcement, UL vice president Professor Paul McCutcheon said: “This is a huge achievement for an Irish university and is a significant acknowledgement of the university’s commitment to employability and its connectedness to industry. We look forward to the awards ceremony in London in March.”

Patrice Twomey, director of the co-operative education and careers division at UL, said a work placement can offer many real benefits to students for progressing in their chosen career.

“Work experience is central to the UL student experience. It’s a very effective introduction to the world of work. The work environment often involves a different set of skills and challenges than those in school or university. So, beyond the specific role-related knowledge, students on co-op have a fantastic opportunity to develop the skills that employers are looking for in graduates.

“Placements can often give students a significant advantage in the graduate job market as employers seek ‘fit for purpose’ graduates. Research shows that students who undertake a placement have a clearer career direction and enjoy a higher rate of employment.

“This is certainly true. Our graduate employment rates trend consistently above the national average for the university sector,” added Ms Twomey.


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