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Career & Skills Statement


This statement is written to provide readers such as prospective and current students, parents and families, guidance counsellors and employers of graduates with a broad perspective on UCD’s approach to the educational experience as it relates to students’ employability skills and career development. This aspect of the educational experience is important and reflected in how UCD develops, delivers, and evaluates academic programmes at undergraduate and graduate levels.  Programme outcomes enable students to recognize the attributes, skills and competencies developed through life at UCD.  Opportunities such as internships significantly enhance employability by allowing students to apply and develop skills such as critical thinking, communications and working with others within the workplace. 

The importance of preparing students for the future is reflected in university strategies, including the UCD Strategy 2020 - 2024, the UCD Education Strategy 2020 - 2024 and the UCD Career Development and Employability Strategy 2015-2025.  UCD seeks to deliver an educational experience that defines international best practice. Continuing to embed career development and employability into the curriculum is a part of that ambition.

University College Dublin has a longstanding tradition and reputation for high quality teaching and research.  Academic programmes are rigorous, respected nationally and internationally. At UCD, the academic experience includes opportunities to develop from a career and professional development perspective at all levels of the student experience. To achieve this, UCD has undertaken a comprehensive review of the curriculum, ensuring students’ intellectual, personal, and professional development remain core to the institutional mission. Increasingly, students may expect to experience, for example, higher levels of teamwork in class, more opportunities to develop and deliver presentations and more internships opportunities.

UCD Faculty and professional staff encourage students to think about their future early in academic studies and many programmes are closely connected to professional bodies for accreditation purposes and to graduate recruiters more generally. UCD’s commitment to students’ career development and employability is evident in the QS University World Ranking for Graduate Employability in which UCD has been ranked number one in Ireland since 2018. UCD graduates perform well in securing jobs and places on programmes of graduate study.  The annual Graduate Outcomes Survey takes place nine months after programme completion and 90%+ of UCD graduates are consistently in employment, further study and training.  (GOS 2022 – 2023).      

UCD student on a laptop.

Career Development and Employability

Faculty and professional staff at UCD work closely with employers, organizations, professional associations, and bodies to ensure professional accreditations are achieved and maintained. In response to a changing world, UCD encourages students to develop personally and professionally in acquiring digital skills as well as intercultural competencies and awareness. This is achieved through curriculum content, through global language electives, and by way of a range of programmes including international exchange, internships and volunteering.  As Ireland's Global University, UCD not only welcomes a large cohort of international students each year but encourages and supports Irish students in undertaking international study or global internships.

Career development and employability at UCD is complemented by a range of professional supports, including UCD Careers Network (Belfield and Blackrock) for whom students’ career development is the primary function and mission. A team of Career professionals offers career coaching, personal and professional development opportunities and support for progressing into graduate study and graduate employment.  Career professionals may be aligned to a UCD School (Blackrock) or to UCD Colleges (Belfield).  Employability initiatives and interventions may be credit bearing or offered in parallel to academic studies (co-curricular).  UCD Careers Network reaches across the student experience, from year one of undergraduate studies to final year of doctoral degrees.  Graduates may continue to make use of the full range of Careers Network services for up to two years post-graduation and thereafter may access on-line support.  A bespoke service for Postdoctoral Researchers extends support to this group for up to six years beyond graduation with a PhD.   In 2021, the UCD Careers Network launched MyCareer, a content-rich careers management platform featuring interactive tools, e-learning content and the latest jobs opportunities. Accessible 24/7, the platform enables students to access digital tools and career information to support their career planning.

UCD has an extensive network of partnerships and relationships with employers and organizations.  These feed into UCD’s detailed understanding of employer requirements around the knowledge, skills, attributes and competencies students should possess.  This intelligence informs curriculum review, current practice and future academic development.  Close relationships with employers bring more internship and graduate job opportunities to UCD each year. Along with academic colleagues and Internship Managers, UCD Careers Network facilitates employers in recruiting UCD students and graduates.  This is achieved by advertising job opportunities, organizing opportunities for students and employers to meet, recruitment presentations and workshop along with large-scale Recruitment Fairs.  

Developing Employability through Internships

Increasingly, employers are growing the number of internships they offer.  A Student who performs well on an internship is likely to be offered a graduate job with the host employer.  As the number of interns being offered graduate jobs increases, there is a corresponding decrease in the number of graduate jobs advertised on the open market. The importance of securing an internship and performing well once in the workplace is important.  At UCD, many academic programmes include internships as either compulsory or optional features of the educational experience.  

UCD recruitment fair.

Developing Employability through getting involved 

Graduate recruitment is a competitive process.  Many employers have an academic baseline they expect from students applying for internships and graduate positions.  Academic grades are therefore important.  Often academic grades are the first thing an employer will consider when selecting applicants to interview.  Once academic baselines are met, it is critical to stand out from other applicants.  One way to achieve this is through involvement in co-curricular activities.  These activities do not accrue academic credits; however, they form a valuable part of the personal and professional development of students, and as such are highly valued by the University.  In support and recognition of the value of co-curricular activities, UCD has developed an infrastructure, support and funding for a wide range of Clubs, Sports and Societies.  Students are supported in accessing voluntary work opportunities in Ireland and overseas. Students may develop their employability through engaging in co-curricular activities and reflecting upon how the experience affects the development of certain skills, attitudes and self-awareness.  At UCD, students are supported in recognizing skills they have developed, accessing opportunities to enhance skills they seek to develop and around explaining to employers how their skills translate to the workplace. The UCD Advantage Award is the University’s official qualification that recognises personal and professional development from engagement in a range of co-curricular activities. The award facilitates students in reflecting upon their activities and  interests to evidence personal and professional development, contribution to UCD and the wider community, health and wellbeing, culture, and engagement.

Above all, UCD wants students to succeed and encourages all to be active in the educational experience.  It is important that students engage in, recognize and are confident in talking to others about their personal, career and professional development.  It is critical that students can effectively present their experiences and skills in applications for employment or further study.  UCD strives to facilitate students’ career progression by providing a range of personal and professional development opportunities that enables each student to achieve their career goal. 

For further information on career development and employability, please refer to the UCD Careers Network, your Academic Programme Director and Programme Manager located in your School and/or College.