A recent article in the Irish Times said that graduates with a Master’s degree or postgraduate diploma are seven times more likely than graduates with an undergraduate degree to earn more than €45,000. Digging into the figures a bit more, the article explains that 62 percent of undergraduates are in employment whereas a far higher figure of 82 percent of graduates with a post-graduate qualification have secured a job.
While that’s one factor that our students here at Griffith College mention as a factor in deciding to do a postgraduate course – there are, of course, many other things that influence their decisions.
Many people took jobs during the recession that were just a means to an end. Bringing in a wage packet was the priority and self-fulfilment took somewhat of a back seat. But now that employment statistics are showing a far more buoyant jobs market in Ireland, people are starting to see opportunities in areas that they’d love to work in.
But to even get a foot in the door, they often need to show that they have relevant skills and qualifications.
When we speak to employers – they want to hire candidates with qualifications in a relevant area – that’s a given. But the CEO of one of the largest tech firms in Ireland said that their company are more likely to hire applicants who’ve managed to juggle college with holding down a job as this proves the candidate is a multi-tasker and can perform under pressure.
That’s where our specifically-designed blended and part-time courses suit so many modern students. These courses are built around the fact that we know our students have busy work and family schedules. Let’s take a look at each one separately just so you can figure out your options.
Is a part-time course right for you?
As the name suggests, our range of part-time courses require a few hours of on-campus attendance each week. The lectures take place between 6pm and 9.30pm and there are weekend classes too.
These courses are perfect for someone in a 9-5 (or 5.30 as is increasingly the case!) job and you are based close to one of our three campuses in Dublin, Limerick or Cork. We’ve even got some of Ireland’s top rugby stars (Sean O’Brien, Sean Cronin and Fergus McFadden) enrolled in part-time courses, so if they can juggle their busy careers with a furthering their education – then you can too!
Our lecturers are aware that in part-time courses there are times when you have to work late or even go away for work for a few days. As long as you are upfront about it and tell your lecturers – then there is usually no problem. Obviously, you will have to be on campus for exams and certain other classes but, in general, these courses are designed around the lives of our working students.
What exactly is blended learning?
Blended learning is somewhat of a new concept in Irish education but we’ve been running such courses here at Griffith College for the last four years. A blended course basically takes the convenience of an online course, but mixes it with some on-campus classes. With purely online study, some students find it hard to get motivated (or stay motivated) and their initial interest in the course can dwindle.
But with a blended course, our students usually have one weekend of classes per month on campus. This on-campus element has many benefits for our blended learning students. It firstly combats the motivation element of online study – if you have to have assignments done by a certain date – then meeting the lecturer will make you more likely to complete the work.
Another benefit of choosing a blended course of third-level study is the network you can build. Our intensive on-campus classes mean blended students get to meet many different classmates from a whole range of backgrounds and careers. These connections can be massively useful in our students’ future careers.
It’s never too late to better yourself
Our admissions staff constantly get asked ‘am I too old to go back to college?’ by students. The simple answer we have is that we’ve got students from their 20s all the way to their 60s and 70s who’ve completed postgraduate courses. Not everyone can figure out their career path in their teens. Look at the likes of Harrison Ford. We might know him now as Indiana Jones or from his role in Star Wars but for the first 15 years of his working life – he was a carpenter. Acting was something he got into in his mid-30s. Singer Andrea Boccelli (probably most famous for ‘Time to Say Goodbye’) was a lawyer until his mid-thirties too. There are loads of non-famous examples too that we see pass through our campuses every year – but they are just some of the names you might recognise.
How to pick a postgraduate course that fits your needs
- Decide what your career goals are. If you don’t have the qualifications to get there then a postgraduate course might be your best option.
- Do you have the time for a part-time degree? If you have regular working hours and don’t travel excessively for work – then a part-time course might be the best fit for you.
- Do you need the flexibility of a blended degree? With blended courses you can study online but only have to attend classes on one weekend a month or so.