Education news

Universities to visit schools to answer pupils' queries

The University Roadshow will visit more than 90 schools

UNIVERSITIES are to visit schools to provide answers to pupils' questions, alleviate fears and highlight a range of post A-level study opportunities.

The University Roadshow was first launched in September 2016, visiting more than 70 schools. This year it expects to tour 90 or more.

Events including Brexit, a reduction in number of university places and subjects available and a possible increase in tuition fees are areas for concern.

Sessions will provide valuable information to sixth formers.

Each event will be attended by a representative sample of universities from: Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic.

Institutions attending include Glasgow, Abertay, Staffordshire, Aberdeen, Scotland's Rural College, Dundalk Institute of Technology and Edge Hill.

Roadshow director Stephanie Dinsmore said the events would be a "one stop advice shop" with the added convenience that pupils would not have 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 reskill in order to make the transition from one career to another."

In addition, sixth formers will be advised about the education and skills they will need to survive and prosper in a competitive and rapidly changing work environment.

Third level education would have to reflect the needs of society, Mrs Dinsmore added.

"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. Instead of building traditional CVs, young people will build reputations on social media," she said.

Julie Richardson, head of careers in Ballyclare High School and Chair of the Northern Ireland Schools and Colleges Careers Association said pupils and parents who attended said they found the University Roadshow to be very useful.

"They particularly enjoyed talking to the university reps present, which added an extra dimension to the event," she said.

:: The University Roadshow will be visiting schools and colleges throughout Northern Ireland in the coming months. To arrange a visit or for further information contact the ER&M Office on 028 207 51461 or email stephanie@erandm.co.uk.

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