3 Key Ways Parents Can Help Their Child Consider a Career in STEM

Caroline Kelly

October 13, 2018

CAO change of mind deadline

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Did you know that in Ireland 80 new jobs per week are being announced in the technology sector? Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) jobs are an important part of the Irish economy, which will continue to grow and play a fundamental role in Ireland’s future economic success. Here are 3 key ways parents can help their child consider a career in STEM:

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Parents have a large role to play in guiding their children to consider STEM career choices, they are some of the most exciting and fulfilling careers available today.

STEM: What’s it all about?

Demand for positions in these areas will increase to meet the ever growing needs of our modern society. Without STEM, our economy just won’t function as well as it possibly could. Europe is facing a shortage of scientists, engineers and people with technology qualifications.

Opportunities exist for Irish students with STEM career prospects in an increasing number of diverse positions and sectors and STEM graduates can command attractive salaries, benefits and travel opportunities.

84% of Irish STEM students are extremely positive that they will get a job they enjoy after college, with 80 new jobs per week being announced in the technology sector alone.

You may also enjoy reading What Is STEM?

What can you do to encourage your child to consider STEM?


In a recent survey conducted by SFI, 51% of students stated that they were influenced by their parents when it came to picking a college course and that parents had advised them to choose courses that would suit their personalities.

Parents and guardians have three important roles in helping their child consider a career in STEM:

#1. Challenge Misconceptions about STEM

This is important as stereotypes can prevent students from realising that STEM careers offer a role for everyone.

Sites such as Smart Futures provide real-life career stories which demonstrate how people from all backgrounds are involved in STEM courses and careers.

Attend science and engineering festivals and events – there are many free activities and clubs all over the country for students to get involved in.

#2. Help teens see the vast choice of exciting career paths

By getting involved with your child’s school work, it not only helps you identify your child’s development but also gives you an insight into their science and other STEM curriculum.

Make sure you know what subjects your child is interested in and also their strengths and capabilities so you can explore future career options together.

By going to STEM-related events such as Science Week shows you can help to introduce your children to real people that work in these areas and start to change their perceptions.

If you have a friend or family member who works in STEM why not ask if it’s possible for them to talk to your child about what they do or even visit their workplace.

#3. Encourage exploration of opportunities


Make sure you are comfortable with college websites and other important sites such as Qualifax.ie and the CAO website.

Familiarise yourself with all avenues including alternative entry routes into courses, such as PLCs.

It is also important to help your child attend college open days so they can gain a better understanding of what each third-level institute offers.

Key CAO Dates to Be Aware Of

  • November  – CAO Online Facility & CAO Change of Course Choice Facility both open.
  • 20th January – Apply by this date to avail of reduced application fee
  • 1st February – Normal closing date for applications
  • 5th February – Online facility to amend course choices becomes available.
  • 1st May – Closing date for late CAO applications
  • 5th May – Online change of mind facility becomes available.
  • 1st July – Change of mind closes.
  • Mid-August – Leaving Certification Results Issued
  • 20th August – Round 1 offers available from 06:00 online – also issued by post, e-mail and SMS text. Applicants who have not received an offer will receive a Statement of Application Record.
  • 24th August – Round 1 Acceptances closing date (17:15). Acknowledgement of Acceptances posted within 3 working days.
  • 29th August – Round 2 offers available from 06:00 online.
  • 31st August – Round 2 Acceptances closing date
  • Early October – Results of Leaving Certificate appeals released
  • 17th October – Offer season ends

You may also find our Key Dates for Parents of Leaving Cert Students free printable useful.

Over to you now. Have you discussed a career in STEM with your teen? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

a career in stem

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