Tom Boland, CEO Higher Education Authority; Patrice Twomey, Director of the Cooperative Education and Careers Division at UL; Minister for Education and Skills Jan O'Sullivan TD and Professor Don Barry, UL President.

‘Aiming Higher’ Guide Launched at UL

Monday, 11th May 2015 Tags: University of Limerick, Professor Don Barry, Patrice Twomey, Aiming Higher, Higher Education Guide for Parents and Guardians, Minister for Education and Skills,

Guide for Parents and Guardians to support their children in Higher Education Choices

Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan TD has launched ‘Aiming Higher’ a Guide for Parents and Guardians at the University of Limerick today.

The guide, which was authored by Patrice Twomey Director of the Cooperative Education and Careers Division at UL and funded by the Higher Education Authority, is aimed at parents (and guardians) of prospective third level students, to give them a practical understanding of the higher education system in Ireland and to help them to support their daughter or son in making informed decisions around third level courses and career choices. It is the first guide of its kind that is specifically targeted at parents and extensive consultation with parents drove much of its content.

Speaking about the new Guide Minister O’Sullivan said “Aiming Higher” makes a hugely practical contribution in setting our young people on the pathway to success, armed with a very clear picture of the expectations and demands they will face during their higher education experience.  It will equip parents with the knowledge that they need to help their children make the right choices. In schools and homes around the country, each year, an invisible army of parents, family members, teachers, guidance counsellors and other school services work tirelessly to support students in this regard.  I know that many of you have contributed directly to making this comprehensive publication a success. 

“I also know that those students who are fortunate enough to study here in the University of Limerick will receive continuing support once they come through these doors.  The very dedicated academic and other staff will take up the torch and will support students to continue to “aim high” as they move through university and out into wider society.”

UL’s Patrice Twomey said “Parents are the most significant influence on their children’s third level and career choices. They don’t need to have all of the answers. What Aiming Higher does is that it helps parents to frame the questions that will prompt their daughter or son’s thinking around their individual talents, strengths and interests, and ultimately their chosen course. We hope that the guide will help parents to approach the ‘third level conversation’ with a greater and more informed confidence. In a broader context, we hope that Aiming Higher will contribute to the successful transitioning from second level to third level education, an area of strategic priority for the University of Limerick.”

The guide will complement the work of guidance counsellors who are a rich and vibrant source of expertise for second level students. Copies of the guide will be circulated to all second level schools in the country and it will be available in PDF format on the UL website

“UL has a proven track record in supporting students’ successful transitioning from third level to the world of work.  A key driver of this success is the Cooperative Education programme which allows students to switch the locus of learning from the lecture theatre to the workplace and from the workplace to the lecture theatre,” continued Ms Twomey.

UL achievements over the past year:

• At 70%, UL has the highest rate of graduate employment nationally. This is a full 18% ahead the national average for the sector (52%).

• One of the largest third level placement programmes in Europe - with some 1,750 placements annually, 20% of which are international

• UL Graduate winner of the Sunday Times Graduate of the Year 2015

• UL Postgraduate Winner of the National Student Challenge 2014

• QS Five-Star Rating for Employability 2015

•  UL only Irish finalist selected for the international NUE Employability Awards in London 2014

• Three UL student enrolled in the World Association for Cooperative Education (WACE) Student Honour Awards 2014

The ‘Aiming Higher’ Guide which was developed with input from many individuals and organisations including parents, students, guidance counsellors, the CAO, higher education careers advisors, admissions officers and academics, is funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Strategic Innovation and Development Fund.  The Guide is available to parents at