10 April, 2017 - Minister Bruton honours the contribution of International Students to Ireland at the Student Ambassador Awards Ceremony

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T. D., attended the International Student Ambassador Awards Ceremony at Farmleigh today (Monday 10th April).  This event honours Student Ambassadors and Government of Ireland Scholars for their contribution in supporting the work of Education in Ireland in attracting international students to study in Ireland. 

The Student Ambassador programme is aimed at attracting top students from international markets to study in Ireland. It is an important part of our overall International Education Strategy which aims to increase the economic value of the international education sector to €2.1bn per annum by 2020, a 33% increase.

The Student Ambassador Programme, now in its sixth year, involves over 80 international students from 23 countries, a doubling of number of countries represented in 2016. This increase is in line with the Government’s stated aim of greater market diversity in international education.  

The Student Ambassador programme is a key part of Ireland’s promotional efforts to raise awareness of Ireland as a centre of international education.

Attending the event in Farmleigh, Minister Bruton, said:

  “Our basic aim as a Government is to use our economic success to make life a little better for people. That is why we have published our Action Plan for Education aimed at delivering the best education system in Europe. International education has a key role to play in this, and by attracting more international students we can bring significant investment into our education system and more employment into our economy. As a small, open trading economy we must continue to diversify our economy. International students, once they graduate, have a very strong role to play in helping Irish exporting companies to internationalise further and reach new markets through their links to their home countries.”

“I am delighted to be here today to personally thank our Student Ambassadors and to formally acknowledge their great efforts in promoting Ireland as an education destination to other potential students.  They are an outstanding group of young people from across the world, and the role they are playing in building Ireland’s reputation as an education destination cannot be underestimated.”

 “I would also like to thank the Country Ambassadors and the university and college teams who are here today to support their students. Your ongoing commitment and support for the international Student Ambassador programme is crucial as we actively seek to develop educational links with other countries around the world.

Giles O’Neill, Head of Education at Enterprise Ireland, which manages the International Student Ambassador programme added: “Education in Ireland, the umbrella brand for promoting Irish higher education institutions in international markets, actively targets students from around the world and encourages them to study in Ireland.  The 2016/17 programme has gone up another gear, with a strong emphasis on student to student communication and a greater involvement in other initiatives we undertake, international fairs and inwards visits from partner institutions, agents and media.”

The Chair of the HEA, Dr Graham Love, said: “Internationalisation is a hugely important driver of quality in our higher education sector. The Government of Ireland International Education scholarships play an essential role in attracting students from different parts of the world to this country.  These students are critical to building a better understanding of global challenges providing as they do different voices to shared discussions across all disciplines."


For further information contact:

Department of Education and Skills: 

Press Office: 01-8892322: press@education.gov.ie

Enterprise Ireland:  Paula Chase, Press Officer, 01-7272842


Notes to the Editor:

·        The overall direct output of HEA-funded IoTs and Universities, together with privately-funded HEIs, in 2014/2015 was €401m. Applying CSO education input/output multipliers, the knock-on effects were €418m. The total output impact of HEA-funded IoTs and Universities and private Higher Education was €819m.  This excludes English Language Teaching (ELT).

·        A growth target of 33% in the HE sector will result in an increase in international students in both public and private HEIs from 33,118 in 2014/2015 to approximately 44,000 by the end of the 2019/2020 academic year. In terms of the target output value for HE, the aim is to increase the output impact value from €819m in 2014/2015 to €1.15bn by 2019/2020.

·        The Student Ambassador programme, managed by Enterprise Ireland, is a key component of Ireland’s promotional efforts to raise awareness of Ireland as a centre for international education.  The Student Ambassadors use social media to provide blogs, videos, tweets, podcasts and articles to their international peers, prospective students and families about student life in Ireland.  There were over 80 student ambassadors from 23 different countries appointed for 2016/17 representing colleges from across Ireland.

·        The Government of Ireland International Scholarship Programme was proposed in the Programme for Government as a way to develop “cultural and diplomatic links with emerging markets” and to promote Ireland as a destination for international students.  The scholarship programme is managed by the Higher Education Authority on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills.