With Pathways event looming, have you had the career and course chat with your children?

Despite the growing use of psychometric testing, college open days, and online research, it seems that the biggest influence on the career and course choices of teenage students is still parental. The focus on choosing the right pathways for your children is one of the key areas to be explored at next month’s Pathways education and careers event, to be held in Galway’s Galmont Hotel on Tuesday April 9. Organised by the Galway Advertiser group, this event promises something for everyone planning their next steps.

The findings of a recent report commissioned by the Department of Education has shown that too many people are taking up college courses to which they are completely unsuited, rather than seeking out alternative pathways to the careers which give them the most fulfilment.

With this in mind, it is essential that parents become more attuned to the variety and choice of pathways that are available to all aspiring students.

With fixed sessions scheduled throughout the day, and with many school groups already confirmed attendees through the day, parents should note that minimum disruption can be caused to your child’s classes by attending for the 3.30pm sessions.

The event is expected to attract almost 2,000 students from the west. The country’s largest educational institutions will be at the event, offering advice on everything from PLC courses and apprenticeships to undergraduate degrees in all disciplines.

Many of the west’s biggest employers will also be on board, offering information and advice on how best to secure work in some of the most popular industries across both the public and private sectors.

The event will feature an impressive line-up of talks covering everything you need to know about further education and training. Speakers will include heads of GMIT’s departments of Natural Sciences; Heritage and Tourism; Humanities; Applied Languages and Communications; Creative Arts and Media; and Culinary Arts and Hospitality. Lecturers from NUI Galway’s School of Law and the College of Engineering from NUIG will also be speaking at the event.

Talks will cover vital areas such as the CAO, apprenticeships, and PLC courses, along with careers in nursing, the Garda Síochána, the Army, and other public sector areas. There is also an exciting line-up of female speakers who will discuss their own experiences building a career in STEM. These include Taryn Schuller of DXC; Karen Conway of Fidelity Investments; Orla Collins of IBM; Clare Gallagher of DXC; Lorna Smyth of SmartBear; and Rachel O’Donnell, The UX Studio.

The event is being held at a time when a majority of students are dropping out of third-level computing and engineering courses with low CAO entry points, official figures show.

These high non-completion rates are a source of “huge concern” to education authorities, according to a major new study by the Higher Education Authority (HEA ) which has tracked a cohort of more than 34,000 students who started third-level courses in 2007/08 over a 10-year period.

Overall, the report shows the higher a student’s CAO points, the more likely they are to complete their course.

For example, a student with 505-550 points has a six per cent chance of dropping out of a course.

By contrast, a student with 205-250 points has a 51 per cent chance of not completing a course.

Female students are more likely to complete their courses and secure a higher grade in their final degrees.

However, male students in low points courses are at the highest risk of not completing their studies.

Tickets to Pathways cost a nominal €5 — to book your place and a place for your aspiring student, search for Pathways on www.eventbrite.ie For more information contact Peter or Maire on 091 530900 or at [email protected] or [email protected].

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