The CAO recorded 76,227 CAO applicants yesterday, 1st February, at the close of the CAO normal application deadline.
CAO applications are up from 74,499 at this time last year and from 71,151 on the same day in 2013. The increase in applications is linked to the ongoing rise in pupil numbers at second-level, higher numbers of mature applicants and demand for qualifications related to modern careers in business, technology and science.
The 2015 figure is likely to rise further as potential third-level students take advantage of the CAO's late application facility which opens on 5th March and runs until 1st May at 5:15 pm.
Last year, the final application tally was more than 79,214. It is anticipated that the final figure this year will rise well above 80,000.
Because CAO points are determined by the laws of supply (number of course places available) and demand (number of applicants wanting a place), the rise in applications is likely to see points increase in some areas.
It will be several weeks before the CAO issue its application breakdown data showing where demand has increased ot decreased this year.
First of new apprenticeship-style opportunities in the financial services sector announced
Alongside the CAO deadline, it's worth noting the new career pathways that are emerging. Last week saw the launch of the International Financial Services Apprenticeship Initiative which offers an 'earn and learn' option for career development in the financial services sector.
Apprenticeships have traditionally been confined to such areas as the construction sector, motor industry, aircraft maintenance and print media. Following a major review which took place in 2015, they are now being extended to new areas, including financial services and information technology.
Apprenticeships combine on-the-job training with time in college and there has been demand from employers to broaden the offering to allow companies to meet all their skills needs.
The Financial Services Apprenticeship Initiative offers qualifications from Level 5 - the equivalent of a post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) course - up to Level 9, the equivalent of a master's degree. Apprentices will graduate with qualifications in areas such as international financial services, data analytics and risk and compliance.
The apprentices will spend 60pc of their time working in companies, gaining specific qualifications in the remaining 40pc of their time. 1,000 opportunities are to be made available up to 2020. 220 of these will be available this September, some for school-leavers or PLC students, with other more specialist roles open to career changers. The initiative is a partnership between financial services companies and the National College of Ireland (NCI), in Dublin's IFSC area.
Other new apprenticeships are be rolled out in the months ahead, alongside a noticeable resurgence in opportunities in the traditional trades as economic recovery continues.
More on Options After Leaving Cert here
Change of Mind
Speaking about the application process, CAO communications officer Eileen Keleghan commented, “Applicants who have already applied to CAO will have opportunities to change their course choices in May or June for no extra charge. If an applicant has forgotten to apply for a restricted course, or if they are a restricted-category applicant, they should avail of our Change of Course Choices facility which opens on Friday and is available until 1 March”
Key CAO Dates
- CAO Change of Course Choices Facility for registered applicants opens on 5 February and closes on 1 March at 5:15pm – a fee of €10 applies.
- HEAR or DARE applicants must have applied to CAO by 1 February at 5:15pm.
- HEAR or DARE applicants have until 1 March at 5:15 pm to complete their online HEAR or DARE form.
- HEAR or DARE applicants must submit their supporting documentation to CAO by 1 April at 5:15 pm.
- The CAO Late Application facility closes on 1 May at 5:15 pm – restrictions apply.
- The CAO Change of Mind Facility opens on 5 May and closes at 5:15 pm on 1 July. This facility is free of charge – restrictions apply.
The CareersPortal Team