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University of Ulster's Languages Department to Close

It was recently announced that the University of Ulster’s school of modern languages would be closing, as a result of Stormont budget cuts.  All modern language and interior design courses will be scrapped and in addition 1,250 student places will go along with 210 jobs.  

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Talkback programme, recruitment expert Neal Lucas commented: “It is always disappointing to hear the news of job losses, in any sector, but especially in departments closely related to business. 

“However, I do believe that it is more preferable that these cuts happen to courses such as languages, as opposed to STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) subjects; the people on these courses are more likely to be the engineers, innovators and entrepreneurs of the future that will create real wealth and jobs for people in Northern Ireland. 

“I interview at management and director level and I regularly see people with a language based degree. There’s no doubt that there is more of a demand for STEM based candidates in the market and if UU have decided to focus on this then they should be applauded for it. 

“Language students are generally intelligent people and very often go on to enjoy successful careers in other areas.  On a social level they tend to have a perspective or outward view on life, which is something we could use a lot more of in Northern Ireland.” 

You can listen to the full BBC Talkback interview here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0680rrj

University is not the be all and end all

As students across Northern Ireland received their A Level results yesterday, many young people were jumping in elation at being accepted to their university and course of choice whilst some may have been experiencing disappointment and worry at not making the grade.  However, going to university is not the golden ticket to a glittering and successful career. 


There’s a lot of pressure on young people today to get top grades so that they can go to university and whilst university is the right choice for some people, it’s not the be all and end all.  For those students who didn’t get the grades they had hoped for, my advice would be not to panic and remember that there are plenty of other options.

Local colleges such as Belfast Metropolitan College offer a fantastic range of courses which in turn could lead to university entry, if you decide that is definitely the road you want to take.  Some young people may also benefit from taking some time out and enjoying a gap year – it can be difficult to know at 18 what you want to do and taking that time out to decide and enjoy yourself can be really beneficial.  Going straight into employment is also an option.  Many successful executives started their career at 18 working their way up and availing of education when it was appropriate.  If you are ambitious and driven you will always find employment, the important thing at the minute is to keep calm, don’t panic and assess all your options.

During school people enjoy linear progression with their peers, everyone stays together and moves forward at the end of each year. This step is the first they will have encountered where everyone goes in different directions. This is not a bad thing, it is life and as such each twist and turn can present new and exciting opportunity.


Neal Lucas is Managing Director of Neal Lucas Recruitment. Northern Ireland’s leading executive search and recruitment business specialising in the appointment of Director and Senior Management level roles (including Chair and NED positions).  Neal is an experienced commentator and is available for interview.



Would you want to know what your co-workers are being paid?

Last week, a former employee of Google shared the salaries of employees who had voluntary given her the information in a bid to ensure fair pay for all.  Managing Director Neal Lucas spoke on BBC Ulster’s Evening Extra on the topic of openness and transparency and whether knowing your colleagues’ salary is a good thing.

Speaking to presenter Seamus McKee, Neal said “The best companies are open and transparent, in terms of their strategies, their processes and structures and of course the subject of pay comes into that too, so transparency is certainly to be applauded.’

‘Smaller companies, however, can benefit from not having to be bound to transparency when it comes to employee pay packets.  While two people may be doing the same job, with the same title, same skills and experience, one may be of more value to the company, worth more and therefore paid more.  While the other employee may not deem this as fair, it is actually very fair.’

‘I don’t think it is necessary for employees to share their salaries with one another, I think good employees are people who seek to prove their worth and strive to be the best and it is up to the company to explain discrepancy in pay and the onus is on the individual to improve.’

You can listen to the full interview here http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b062mkw5#play


Join Neal's Live Broadcast on Periscope!

Managing Director, Neal Lucas will be hosting his first ever Periscope chat talking all things interview. 

If you want to hear some top tips on nailing the interview process then join Neal’s live broadcast on Monday 29 June at 8.30pm where Neal will not only dispense tips on handling interview nerves, the different interview techniques and why they’re used, what to ask and what not to ask, but he’ll also be fielding your questions.  Join the broadcast on Monday 29 June by following Neal at @neallucasrec on Periscope.