Up to 33% Leaving Cert pupils also work

UP to one-third of Leaving Certificate students in some areas of the country have part-time jobs, with girls twice as likely as boys to sacrifice study for an income, a survey has revealed.

The research shows that one-third of sixth year girls in Galway work at weekends and after school, doing an average of five hours a week. Only 12% of male pupils in the city have part-time jobs, but the 10% of Leaving Certificate boys in rural areas were found to work an average of 12 hours a week.

Student Enrichment Services (SES), a private company offering study skills courses in more than 300 schools, conducted the survey among more than 1,000 students.

It found that the 37% of fifth years with jobs spend an average 10.5 hours a week at work. But that drops back to 7.5 hours a week for the one-in-five Leaving Certificate students with jobs, although it suggests that as many as 1,800 - or 3% of those who took the exam last June - worked 20 hours a week during school terms.

Employers group IBEC recently urged members not to hire young people in their Leaving Certificate or Junior Certificate years, because research has shown that those with jobs do not achieve their potential in exams.

Leaving Certificate students will receive their results tomorrow morning at schools, on the phone or on the internet. The number of high grades increased slightly in many higher level subjects last year, giving more students higher points for college requirements under the Central Applications Office (CAO) system. But with around 2,500 fewer people applying for slightly more college places this year, there is not likely to be much variation in points requirements for a significant number of courses if results improve again.

However, demand has risen for most health science courses, most significantly in human medicine. The CAO received applications from 2,256 students whose first preference was medicine, up 16% on last year’s figure. Pharmacy, physiotherapy and veterinary medicine degrees also rose in popularity, by 9%, 6% and 4%, respectively.

The downward trend in business and arts courses has continued, with degree course applications in those disciplines down by 5% and 4%, respectively, and demand for education courses dropping by more than 8%.

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