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November 19th, 2010: Inter-changes: Ireland & International Education

Number of Low Skilled Jobs in Europe to Drop by a Third in Next Decade

Increased Opportunities for Graduates as almost 19 Million New Roles Predicted for Those with Degrees

Friday 19th Nov 2010 – The Fulbright Commission, in conjunction with the Higher Education Authority, today co-hosted a conference entitled Inter-changes: Ireland & International Education at University College Cork to mark the 10th Anniversary of International Education Week. The conference brought practitioners of international education together to identify how best to embed and implement Ireland’s international education[i] and related strategies.

The conference attendees were told that the number of jobs in Europe that will require a third level education will increase by 18.8 million over the next decade while low skilled jobs in Europe will decline by 12.5 million.

Dr. Hans de Wit of the University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam and an expert who has worked with the OECD, UNESCO and the World Bank, will tell an audience at UCC that the international and intercultural competencies of Irish students must improve if Ireland is to avail of the economic and social opportunities that will present themselves over the next ten years.

Dr. de Wit will point out that

}  High Skilled Jobs in Europe will increase by 2020 from 25 % to 31 % of the workforce, medium skilled jobs will increase from 48% to 50%, but lower skilled jobs will decline from 28% to 19%.

}  The number of lower skilled jobs will decline by 12.5 million, medium skilled jobs increase by 13.5 million, and jobs requiring third level education by 18.8 million.

}  At the same time, in Europe in the next 12 years the age group between 16 and 29 will drop from 90 to 81 million. This will require more skilled immigrants for Europe.

Dr. De Wit argues,

“The education curriculum in European countries, including Ireland, must prepare students to live and work in a global knowledge society. There needs to be greater interaction between Irish students and international students through exchanges, collaborative projects and joint degree programmes between Irish institutions and those overseas.”

The conference was organised jointly by the Higher Education Authority and the Fulbright Commission. The event aims to identify practical and policy measures that will assist in attracting international students and researchers to Ireland as well as supporting Irish students and academics overseas. Participants last night (Thursday), heard from Enterprise Minister, Batt O’Keeffe, TD at a reception marking the 10th Anniversary of International Education Week.



For further information, please contact

Malcolm Byrne                                                   Pippa Halley

Head of Communications                                    Communications & Information Officer

Higher Education Authority                                  Fulbright Commission

086 22 37 102                                                   0870576844


Notes to Editor:

Hans de Wit is Professor of Internationalization of Higher Education at the School of Economics and Management of the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences. He is a private consultant and is actively involved in international education assessment and consultancy for organisations like the European Commission, UNESCO, World Bank, IMHE/OECD, Salzburg Seminar and ESMU. Hans was a Fulbright New Century Scholar in 2005-2006, a visiting scholar in the USA (Center for International Higher Education, Boston College) in 1995 and 2006 and a visiting scholar in Australia in 2002. He was Vice-President for International Affairs and Senior Advisor International at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, in the period 1986-2005 and director of international relations at Tilburg University in 1981-1985. Hans de Wit is founding member and past president of the European Association for International Education (EAIE).

Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange

Recent statistics from the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange show Ireland remains in the Top 10 destinations in the world for US study abroad and is one of the few countries in Europe to increase mobility to the US (up by 14%).  This report is published annually by the Institute of International Education with funding from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.


[i] Investing in Global Relationships, Ireland’s International Education Strategy 2010-2015

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