Career choices on graduation--a study of recent graduates from University College Cork

Gerald McKenna, Francis Burke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Irish dental graduates are eligible to enter general dental practice immediately after qualification. Unlike their United Kingdom counterparts, there is no requirement to undertake vocational training (VT) or any pre-registration training. VT is a mandatory 12-month period for all UK dental graduates who wish to work within the National Health Service. It provides structured, supervised experience in training practices and through organised study days.

AIMS: This study aimed to profile the career choices made by recent dental graduates from UCC. It aimed to record the uptake of VT and associate posts, and where the graduates gained employment.

METHODOLOGY: A self-completion questionnaire was developed and circulated electronically to recent graduates from UCC. An existing database of email addresses was used and responses were returned by post or by email. A copy of the questionnaire used is included as Appendix 1.

RESULTS: Questionnaires were distributed over an eight-week period and 142 were returned, giving a response rate of 68.90%. Responses were gathered from those who graduated between 2001 and 2007; however, the majority came from more recent classes. Overall, the majority of graduates took up associate positions after qualification (71.8%) with smaller numbers undertaking VT (28.2%). Increasing numbers have entered VT in recent years, including 54.3% from the class of 2007. Overall, the majority of graduates initially took up positions in England (43%); however, in recent times more have been employed in Scotland. Subsequent work profiles of the graduates illustrate that the majority are now working as associates in general practice (51.4%) and in Ireland (54.2%).

CONCLUSIONS: There has been an increase in the proportion of UCC graduates undertaking VT. Graduates tended to move away from Ireland initially to gain employment. There has been a shift away from employment in England towards Scotland where the majority of new UCC graduates are now initially employed. The majority of graduates returned to Ireland for employment after the initial move away.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-92
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Irish Dental Association
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2010


  • Career Choice
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Female
  • General Practice, Dental
  • Humans
  • Ireland
  • Male
  • Partnership Practice, Dental
  • Preceptorship
  • Questionnaires


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