How Trinity College is Responding to Language ‘Skills Gap’ Identified by Employers

Posted on: 27 February 2014

The Trinity Careers Advisory Service (CAS) as part of the Association of Higher Education Careers Services (AHECS) was instrumental in proposing the GRADChances ‘Careers with Languages’ Fair, which took place this week in the RDS. Their proposal to the Higher Education Authority resulted in the HEA’s support of the fair.

Recent research into ‘skills shortages’ has identified fluency in more than one language as an area where demand outstrips supply in the graduate labour market. Organisations such as Forfas, GradIreland and IBEC have all surveyed employers in the last year with the same result – there are rewarding and exciting career opportunities for multi-lingual students and graduates, yet applicant numbers for these roles remain low, both in Ireland and in the EU. The GRADChances ‘Careers with Languages’ fair aimed to match the needs of employers with those of students and graduates who are seeking work.

Speaking at the launch of the GRADchances Languages Fair, Trinity Careers Adviser for the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, Orlaith Tunney stated: “We are working to bring employers and students together and to ensure that we help students make informed career decisions. Events like this are very important in showcasing the value of multilingualism as a key employability skill, and this event will provide real pathways to employment for students with language skills in Ireland.”

Head of International Education with the HEA, Gerry O’Sullivan said: “The initiative of GradIreland and AHECS is welcome as it brings into focus a key area of skills needs in Ireland – that of language learning.  The GRADchances event comes at a timely juncture with the commencement of the new Erasmus+ programme last month which places particular importance on multilingualism and its relationship to employability”.

With over 20 employers and 800 students in attendance, this year’s successful GRADchances fair brought students, graduates and employers together to explore the wide range of career opportunities that are available for multi-linguists. These include internships, graduate schemes and immediate roles. In addition to opportunities abroad through organisations such as the EU and Enterprise Ireland’s ‘Graduates for International Growth’ programme, companies such as Dropbox, Irish Distillers, SAP, Gerson Lehrman Group and PayPal were recruiting multi-lingual students and graduates for a range of roles based in Ireland.