6 skills graduates need to work in the food and drink sector

The Food and Drink sector is growing and thriving with new opportunities for graduates developing all the time. However, as Hannah Kelly explains, a new report has highlighted skill gaps graduates will need to fill if they are to be successful in the industry.

The recently released Food Wise 2025,a report compiled by the Department of Agriculture & Food, sets out a plan for the development of the agri-food industry over the next decade, said they expect to see a further 23,000 jobs created, including the creation of additional graduate programmes, over the next ten years in the Irish Food and Beverage Sector.

“The Food and Drink sector has grown strongly over the period from 2010 to 2016 and has recovered”, the report said. “Employment in the sector increased to 54,000 in 2016, an increase of 6,600 from 2009.”

To achieve further growth though, it was stressed that gaps in skills required for the sector need to be addressed. Graduates eager to work in this sector should aim to focus on developing skills in the following areas that the report highlighted:

  1. Think internationally: Develop your knowledge of, and skills in, international trade and logistics. Companies also place a high emphasis on language and multi-cultural skills. More specifically in this area you should work on developing experience in customer management, dealing with international customers and suppliers and supply management.
  2. Innovation: In particular, companies are looking for graduates with production development skills. More specifically the report identified gaps in portfolio management, packaging technology and design engineering. Talk to your careers advisor or look up companies who could help you bridge this skills gap.
  3. IT and Numeracy: Employers are looking for graduates with good numeracy and IT skills no matter what section of the company you’ll be in. These skills are particularly useful as companies seek to merge roles within their organisations through automated manufacturing procedures.
  4. Supply Chain Management: Focus on customer requirements and standards, managing money effectively and reducing inventory levels. These are all skills companies are looking for in potential employees no matter what part of the business you might be working in.
  5. Leadership: In the gradireland Graduate Salary and Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey, we found that 37.1% of employers identified lack of leadership hard skill shortfalls. Being able to demonstrate the potential to lead a team is important as both more strategic and engaged leadership is a skill gap identified in the industry.
  6. Financial and Commercial Acumen: As mentioned above, a lot of companies are moving towards less structured roles, with cross-functional teams and a broader variety of work the ever increasing norm. This means no matter where you are in the business; you’ll be expected to have good financial and commercial judgement.

For more information on different career sectors visit: https://gradireland.com/career-sectors

 


Ireland’s Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017

gradireland awards 2017

 

Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers reveals Ireland’s most sought-after employers from the perspective of those that matter most – the students and graduates who will provide the next generation of innovators and leaders in Irish business.

The Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers survey is part of the European Student Barometer, the largest pan-European survey of graduate trends and is conducted by Europe’s leading graduate research firm, trendence. The data produced decide the winners of Ireland’s 100 and the winners of the gradireland Graduate Recruitment Awards and contribute also to a wider study across all 24 European Union countries.

Here is the 2017 list in full.

You can find more information in gradireland’s book Ireland’s 100 leading graduate employers, published every Autumn and the 2016 edition is still available to view via gradireland.com/publications.

Follow us on twitter @gradireland for graduate recruitment  updates and like gradireland on Facebook


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #2

what_do_graduates_do

In the second of a series of articles, we continue to look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland. However, when it comes to the relevance of qualifications, there are quite differing views depending on the level of qualification and the sector of employment.

Graduates and qualifications

For graduates of 2015, 62% of Honours Bachelor Degree holders rated the relevance of their qualifications as relevant or most relevant to their current area of employment. Meanwhile, 76% of graduates with Higher Diplomas and Postgraduate Diplomas found their qualifications more relevant or most relevant to their work. 70% of Masters and Doctorate graduates rate their qualification as relevant or most relevant to their work, while interestingly, 11% rate it as irrelevant or most irrelevant.

Employment Overseas

62% of graduate with Honours Bachelor Degrees found that their educational qualification was relevant/most relevant to the area of employment, compared to 59% with a Masters or Doctorate qualification. This compares to Higher and Postgraduate Diploma graduates who have the lowest level of satisfaction, with just 53% viewing their qualification to be relevant/most relevant to their area of employment.

Employed in Ireland and Overseas

Agriculture, Forestries, Fisheries & Veterinary, Helath and Welfare and Education Honours Bachelor Degree graduates reported the highest levels of relevance between their employment and education, at 86%, 84% and 82% respectively.

The majority of Masters and Doctorate graduates, as would be expected, reported high levels of relevance between their educational qualification and their employment. Fields that rated their education particularly relevant included Health and Welfare (86%), Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction (82%) and Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries & Veterinary (80%).

Interestingly, high proportions of Arts & Humanities graduates rated their education as irrelevant/most irrelevant to their employment, with 51% of Honours Degree holders, 26% of Higher or Postgraduate Diploma holders and 29% of Masters and Doctorate holders of this opinion.

In our next article, we’ll look at graduate salaries for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.


Where are the graduates of 2015 now? #1

what_do_graduates_do

In the first of a series of articles, we’ll be taking a look at where the graduate class of 2015 are, based upon the HEA’s recently released ‘What do graduates do? The class of 2015’.

This survey, the 25th of its kind, was published on February 15th and, mostly, points to an optimistic prognosis when it comes to graduate careers in Ireland.

Snapshot:

There were 18,526 students surveyed, with qualifications between levels 8-10.

Overall, 68% are in employment, with 57% employed in Ireland and a further 11% are working overseas. Only 6% of all graduates surveyed are still seeking employment nine months after graduation.

Those with Honours Bachelor Degrees

From the class of 2014, nine months after graduation, 58% were in employment. This has risen to 62% for the class of 2015, with the vast majority (85%) of them working in Ireland. Only one in ten graduates are going overseas to seek their first job, with the UK still viewed as the most favourable destination.

In terms of where the jobs are in different sectors, there is still a huge demand for teachers, and graduates in this area have the highest rates of employment. After education, IT has the highest proportion of employed graduates, at 70%, which reflects the consistent growth in this area.

One of the stranger results of the study was that graduates who were awarded a pass degree demonstrated the highest levels of employment (74%) while those who received a first-class Honours degree had the lowest, at 57%. The reverse is true in terms of progression into further study. While this finding is unusual, it is perhaps attributable to the fact that a higher award is necessary for acceptance into postgraduate study, with those who obtain first class honours more likely to pursue further study.

Those with Higher & Postgraduate Diplomas 

78% of those with these Diplomas are in employment, up from 76% from the class of 2014, with 75% employed in Ireland, compared to 68% from the class of 2014. This has led to only 3% seeking employment overseas, down from 8% in the previous year’s research.

Those with Masters/Doctorates

80% of Masters and PhD graduates are in employment, with 64% finding work in Ireland and the remainder overseas, with the UK the most popular. The sectors with the highest rates of employment for Masters and doctoral students were Business, Administration & Law and Education students at 87% and 86% respectively.

In our next article, we’ll look at the relevance of each qualification for the graduates surveyed for the report. The entire report can be downloaded here. For further analysis of trends in different sectors, download the 2017 edition of gradireland’s Ireland’s 100 Leading Graduate Employers, the largest independent student survey of final year students in Irish universities, north and south.

 


Range of choices for postgrad students highlighted at Ireland’s largest further study fair.

 

February 15th 2016 saw hundreds of students and over 60 exhibitors at the gradireland Further Study Fair at the RDS to explore the massive range of opportunities available within the world of postgraduate study.

It is estimated that around 35% of students go on to further study after earning their degree, with last year seeing more than 19,000 students making to decision to pursue further study, according to data from the Higher Education Authority (HEA).

Director of gradireland, Mark Mitchell, says that the best way for students to make the most of further study is to have a firm objective as to why they are studying for a further qualification:

“If you’re going to pursue postgraduate study, make sure you understand the commitment involved. Research the employability benefits that certain postgraduate courses can bring, a postgrad qualification can be hugely attractive to employers and can also greatly enhance your earning potential in certain sectors. We were delighted with the event and the amount of information which we were able to present to students and graduates.”

The most recent edition of gradireland’s Graduate Salary & Graduate Recruitment Trends Survey found that 60% of employers viewed postgraduate qualifications as being important when assessing an application. This correlates with research into employment rates straight after college, which reveal that 78% of postgraduate graduates are in employment, compared to 58%of undergraduates.

The Irish, UK and mainland European postgraduate providers at the RDS showcased a host of courses on offer, and attendees also found out what financial supports are available for them. Seminars ran throughout the event, exploring themes such as: Postgraduate funding, conversion courses, studying Master’s programmes in Europe, how to write the dreaded personal statement and what are the best routes into teaching.

The Irish Research Council also attended the fair, promoting the unique and growing focus which dedicated research presents for postgraduate students, in 2016 alone the Irish Research Council awarded €30 million in funding, to 373 new researchers. Over half of this was awarded to the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme. This scheme funded 206 researchers in total, with an average award of just over €75,000.

Search for the right postgraduate course for you, and get all the advice you need in our dedicated further study section. We have completely updated and curated our funding section, with the issue of finance one of the primary concerns when it comes to considering postgraduate study. 


Graduate Permit Scheme extended: working visas for international Masters and PhD students now valid for 2 years post-graduation.

International student flags for studying and working in Ireland

The permit extension is of huge benefit to both students and employers (Image: http://www.pathwaytoaus.com)

A welcome recent development for both international students and graduate employers is the news that the Irish Government has agreed to extend the Third Level Graduate Permit Scheme, for non-EU/EEA students at level 9 and above.

The new permission will double the ‘stay back option’ for Masters and PhD students from 12 months to 24 months. This will allow eligible graduates who have studied in Irish higher education institutions, and whose award is granted by a recognised Irish awarding body at Masters or PhD level, to remain in Ireland for two years to seek employment.

The Graduate Permit Scheme allows these non-EU graduates to stay in Ireland for 2 years after their degree and legally work for 40 hours per week.

For some employment sectors the restriction of the working period post-graduation to one year has been a disincentive to hiring international students. The extension of this eligibility for work for highly qualified students from 12 to 24 months, whilst on the Graduate Permit Scheme, is to be welcomed both in the context of the skills gap and the employability journey for postgraduate students emerging from Irish HEIs.

For more on working in Ireland for international students (from outside the EU) from gradireland, watch our videos here


Find out why studying in Europe could be for you at the gradireland Further Study Fair

Lund University Sweden

Lund University Sweden, one of Europe’s oldest universities and one of the world’s top 100.  (Photo from www.studyinsweden.se)

Every year, a wide variety of reasons attract students to make the choice to study overseas. The accessibility and relatively low cost of travel, particularly within Europe, has made the logistics of studying away from home a lot simpler. When you couple this with what many European universities have to offer; affordable fees, reasonable entry requirements and prestigious courses taught in English, it’s little wonder that an increasing amount of students are finding it an attractive option, particularly for postgraduate study. 

The increasing attraction of universities on mainland Europe, particularly Germany, Poland, Denmark and the Netherlands, has gathered pace with the continuing uncertainty over the Brexit scenario.

In addition to affordability, and the attraction of a new and diverse culture, eligible students studying within the EU can avail of their Irish state awarded grant and are also allowed work part time. According to a recent article in the Irish Times, about 1,500 third-level Irish students in receipt of state funded grants are studying in colleges abroad.

Guy Flouch, head of the European University Central Application Support Service (EUNICAS), will be speaking at this year’s gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS. In the Irish Times  he said that Irish students were broadening their options when it came to pursuing study overseas, and were no longer primarily focused on UK institutions, a trend which has increased in the wake of the Brexit vote.

According to the article, almost 900 degree programmes across all disciplines are taught through English in Europe, many of them at far cheaper fees than would be applicable in Ireland. For example, no fees apply in Germany, Scandinavia, Sweden and Finland. In Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, fees are usually less than €1,000 per year.  In the Netherlands, fees of €1,984 apply, but students can get a loan to cover this. Repayable over a term of 35 years. Which seems more than reasonable! More than 40% of the EUNICAS programmes on offer are done through Dutch institutions.

Within many European countries, points are not a barrier to college entry. The requirements are lower and there is a strong cultural focus on third-level education being available to all, however many of the universities are very high-ranking institutions and while they may be accessible-they also demand high standards from their students. “These are some of the best universities in Europe. There is no repeating of years. You’re expected to get 45 out of 60 credits, take part in problem based learning and show up for all your lectures and tutorials,” Guy Flouch added.

While there are obviously challenges in settling in and studying abroad, the evidence seems to suggest that Irish students flourish in a variety of ways while abroad, according to Mr Flouch. “The levels of self-confidence and self-esteem and independence they get is a skill set which employers really see. They are self-sufficient and living abroad-meeting challenges and succeeding. It impacts positively for the rest of their lives,” he said.

See what’s involved with studying abroad and find out everything you need to know about EUNICAS at the gradireland Further Study Fair on February 15th at the RDS Industries Hall. Click here to register for free entry.