Louth employers ranging from SMEs to multinationals are being asked to have their say in a major national survey to gauge their satisfaction with the quality of graduates emerging each year from Irish further and higher education institutions.
The National Employer Survey on Graduates in Ireland is a partnership between the Higher Education Authority (HEA); SOLAS – the Further Education & Training Authority and Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI), with the online survey being conducted on their behalf by Insight Statistical Consulting.
The first to have been undertaken on this scale, the survey will provide a snapshot of employer opinion with the results helping to inform policy direction across further and higher education.
A smaller-scale pilot study conducted two years ago found Irish employers were generally satisfied with graduates’ skills but less so about their written communications, business awareness and entrepreneurship skills. Respondents also expressed concern about graduates having the ‘right attitude’. There was also less satisfaction at the speed at which course content adapts to reflect changes in the external environment.
Encouraging employers to participate in the current survey, Tom Boland, Chief Executive of the HEA, said: “As the economy recovers and a growing number of companies look to recruit additional personnel, it is important that their voice is heard in the debate about how graduates are equipped for work.
“The results of our survey – which we will benchmark over time – will help shape strategy and, in practical terms, ensure that the courses pursued by students are aligned with future job opportunities with relevant curriculum content that will equip graduates for work. This takes nothing away from the broader importance of education for life and we fully recognise that further and higher education is not exclusively about employability.”
Paul O’Toole, CEO, SOLAS, said: “SOLAS welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the HEA and QQI on this important piece of research. It is crucial that the further education and training sector understands employers’ views on the graduates it provides. We, in turn, must use these insights as we continually work to optimise our investment in future skill needs.”
Padraig Walsh, CEO, QQI, added: “Feedback from employers is an essential element of the quality assurance of education and training programmes. We look forward to analysing the results of this survey and continuing to work with employers to promote the enhancement of quality and innovation across both further and higher education and in ensuring that qualifications meet the changing needs of the labour market.”