The results are in! The Courses & Training in Ireland Survey January 2017

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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We asked, you answered and the results are in! Our Courses & Training in Ireland Survey January 2017 took place recently. The survey examined interest and opinions about classes, courses and training as we start the new year.

We wanted to know who was considering taking a course or upskilling during 2017, what’s important to you and what your experiences of training and education have been. Here are some key findings of the survey.

Age of respondents

The vast majority of you taking part in our survey were aged between 36 and 45 years old. This group made up just over 32 percent of respondents. Those aged between 26 and 36 were the next largest group, making up over 26 percent. People aged 46 to 55 made up nearly 20 percent of respondents.


Women outdistance men 2 to 1 when it comes to interest in upskilling. Women made up 67 percent of our respondents versus 33 percent of men.


Just under two thirds of you live in Dublin. Ireland’s capital offers the greatest variety of course options and course providers, so this is perhaps unsurprising. In addition, those in the capital may feel greater pressure to upskill to keep on top of the jobs market.

Interest in education and enrolment figures

A whopping 28 percent of you enrol in a course once per year. Perhaps even more surprising, 10 percent take on more than one course every year. Overall, two thirds of people in Ireland are keen on extra education. Here’s what else we found:

  • 50% took a course during 2016
  • 67% plan to enrol in a course in 2017
  • 29% are considering taking a course in 2017
  • 35% have been put off enrolling on a course in recent years by recession

Reasons for enrolling in a course

We were curious why people enrolled in a course. Here’s what we found:

  • To enhance your knowledge: 38 %
  • Career enhancement: 37%
  • Social reasons: 7%
  • For the craic: 2%

Reasons for not enrolling

We also wanted to know why people decided not to take a course. Here are the most important reasons:

  • The course was too expensive: 33%
  • Did not have the time: 20%
  • Could not find the right course: 19%
  • Course provider was too far away and/or transport issues: 12%
  • Course content was unsuitable: 5%
  • Did not apply in time: 3%

What’s important when choosing a course?

We wanted to know what factors people took into consideration when choosing a course. We asked you to choose all the issues that prompted your decision. Here is what you told us in order of importance:

  • Course content: 75%
  • Price: 65%
  • Certification of course: 63%
  • Distance from home and/or work: 63%
  • Reputation of course provider: 59%
  • Payment options: 30%
  • Information you read online: 24%
  • Parking: 24%
  • Information you obtained during an open day/evening: 12%
  • Course campus facilities: 7%

We definitely understand why distance from home or work is important to anyone taking an evening course. With our busy lives, getting to and from class easily can make a big difference.

The increasing number of online courses may mitigate this in the future. Nearly half – 46 percent – of you have already done an online course and 63 percent would consider it in future.

Researching course options

Most people – 58 percent – spend two or more weeks researching course options before making a decision. A snappy 14 percent of you chose a course in less than a week.

Good or better? Experience of course providers

Course seekers in Ireland have a generally positive experience of course providers. A massive 80 percent of respondents said their experience of Irish course providers has been good, very good or excellent.

Support from employers

We were pleased to learn that a large number of employers encourage their staff to learn new skills. Nearly 40 percent of you told us that your employers were supportive. Some employers may fear that upskilled staff will leave – nearly 2 percent of you said you were actively discouraged from taking a part-time or evening course.

Support from the government

Two thirds of you feel the government could do more to encourage people to upskill or retrain. Another two thirds felt that more grants, subsidies or tax credits are necessary.

Many respondents noted there is not much support for those who are employed but wish to study further. Here is a selection of their responses:

  • Provide a grant for people already in employment but wishing to further their education in a different field.
  • There are training supports if unemployed but not if you’re employed and want to further yourself.
  • There should be tax relief on fees if related to your job and not refunded by employer.
  • Provide tax relief incentives and paid leave.
  • More options for people who are employed, working long hours but for little pay.

Other issues that were raised included supports for childcare, access for disabled people, relaxing rigid application rules and better internet coverage in rural areas.


Anne Sexton

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  1. Clifford rowe 27th January 2017 at 12:04 pm

    I’m currently employed in the security industry at supervisor level,I’m looking to move to management would you have any courses to help me

    Kindest regards
    Clifford Rowe

  2. […] amounts of Irish people undertake educational courses every year. A survey by our sister site conducted in January found that nearly half of our respondents took a course in […]

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