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24 November 2014

Parents biggest influence on college hopefuls, but struggle to provide career guidance

Parents biggest influence on college hopefuls, but struggle to provide career guidance

  • 9 in 10 parents encourage children to pursue further education
  • 50% do not believe they have sufficient knowledge to advise their child
  • 3 in 4 Irish adults have proceeded to third level, younger generation showing higher likelihood of progressing past secondary school

Despite being the biggest influence on prospective college students, parents struggle to provide adequate career guidance for their children, according to a new survey carried out as a part of College Awareness Week.


While over 9 in 10 parents would encourage their children to pursue further education, half do not believe that they would have sufficient knowledge to advise their child. 9 in 10 parents would like more information to be made available to them.  Parents also believe that tax incentives and higher grants would improve third level affordability and encourage third level access for their children.


The survey was carried out by Amárach Research as part of College Awareness Week, which is running from 24 November-30 November. The campaign will encourage students of all ages to become 'college ready' by raising awareness of the benefits of further education and showcasing local role models who have attended college.  As part of College Awareness Week, over 200 activities are taking place in schools and communities across Ireland.


As well as looking at national trends, the survey also examined participation rates in Dublin 10 and Dublin 17, areas with a lower third level attendance rate compared to the national average. Although 3rd level attendance is lower among those living in Dublin 10 and Dublin 17 compared to the national average, a positive trend is emerging with young adults completing further studies.


Both areas of Dublin view further education as very important. In Dublin 10, 72% said college education was very important, while in Dublin 17, 62% said it was very important. Almost half (48%) of Dublin 10 residents said no other family member has attended college, while 36% of Dublin 17 residents said likewise. In Dublin 10, 44% said their parents were their biggest real-life role models, followed by 20% for teachers. In Dublin 17, 45% said parents had the most influence on them, with 18% listing their teachers.


The primary motivator for not progressing into further education is a desire to gain employment (nationally and in Dublin 10 and 17), although for the national population financial constraints rank second whereas for those in Dublin 10 and Dublin 17 a lack of interest is the second most common factor.


Other findings include;


§  3 in 4 Irish adults have proceeded to third level, with the younger generation showing a higher likelihood of progressing past secondary school.


§  There were mixed views on the level of information available to mature students about returning to education with 44% believing that there is enough while 41% do not believe there is sufficient information.


§  The majority of Dublin 10 (79%) and Dublin 17 (91%) respondents who have proceeded past secondary school believe that they chose the right course for them.

Launching College Awareness Week today (Monday) with the help of staff and students from Riversdale Community College and Blakestown Community School, Blanchardstown, Tánaiste Joan Burton said, 'I am delighted to launch College Awareness Week and to help highlight the options that are available to students if they are considering progressing to further education.'


Kathleen O'Toole-Brennan, Campaign Founder and Programmes Manager with Trinity Access Programme, said, 'Having a college education is becoming more and more important. College Awareness Week aims to get the message across that a college education helps students to fulfil their potential and to meet people who share similar interests and ideas. A college education also helps greatly in securing employment and a decent standard of living.'


Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said, 'College Awareness Week is all about creating a conversation about post-secondary education plans. We not only want to encourage young people to make college a part of their future plans, but we also want to show those people, who may not normally have considered further education, that it is  a viable  option for them too.'

College Awareness Week is being supported by the Higher Education Authority, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, the Confederation of Student Services Ireland and the Trinity Access Programmes. College Awareness Week would like to gratefully acknowledge AIB and Perrigo for sponsoring this campaign and for their dedication to the betterment of communities and Irish society, through enhanced educational experiences.