University roadshow prepares to visit Northern Ireland schools
Universities from the Republic, Scotland and England are undertaking a tour of schools to promote studying outside the north.
The University Roadshow has been planned to help the thousands of sixth formers who are preparing to return to schools and colleges for the last time next month.
Many will face this final year with a mixture of excitement, anticipation and a little apprehension. While some know exactly what and where they intend to study, many are still undecided and anxious to learn more about what is available.
Events including the Brexit vote, the reduction in number of university places and subjects available in Northern Ireland and a possible increase in tuition fees have all contributed to the concerns of pupils and their parents.
Some have asked whether young people will still be able to study in EU countries or will they be able to avail of the low, and in some cases no tuition fees, available to those opting to study in the Republic, France, Germany, Denmark or the Netherlands.
University Roadshow director Mary Higgins said the event had been designed to provide answers to these and many other questions, to alleviate fears and to make pupils aware of the wide range of post A-level opportunities.
Each roadshow stop will be attended by a representative sample of universities from Scotland, England, Wales, the Republic and other parts of the EU. Institutions attending include Aberdeen, St Andrews, Salford, York St John's, Harper Adams, St Mary's, Twickenham, Swansea and Dublin City University.
Ms Higgins said sixth form pupils and careers teachers could benefit from the sessions without having to leave their schools or colleges.
"As well as providing students with the opportunity to speak to representatives from a wide range of universities we also aim to provide young people with the best advice possible to enable them to make informed decisions about their future careers," she said.
"We will of course be advising them on traditional matters such as: the application process, tuition fees, student loans etc, but we will also be making them aware that their working lives are likely to be fundamentally different from those of their parents and grandparents.
"Not only will they live longer and have to work longer than their parents but the concept of a `career for life' will no longer be the norm. In this age of rapid technological change, skills will rapidly become obsolete with the result that tomorrow's graduates will need to be better equipped to re-skill in order to make the transition from one career to another. We will be advising sixth formers about the education and skills they will need to survive and prosper in a competitive and rapidly changing work environment."
Third level education, she added, would have to reflect the needs of society.
"Today's young people are already studying longer; many will take two degrees: first a general undergraduate course, which teaches them thinking skills with lifelong value and then a more specific vocational degree that teaches a specific sector's current needs," she said.
"Instead of building traditional CVs, young people will build reputations on social media."
:: To arrange a visit to a school or for further information, contact ER&M on 028 207 62949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.