Why Ireland is Becoming an Exciting Area For Education Providers

Joshua Stoneham
April 22, 2024

Quality education providers can help learners worldwide access courses to help them grow their career prospects, break into new industries and learn new skills. 

With the rise of online learning, providers can easily spread into new markets and look further afield. For those looking to tap into an exciting pool of eager learners, Ireland is proving to be an increasingly attractive prospect. In this article, we’ll go through some of the key reasons why Ireland is becoming an international education hub and could be the ideal place for provider expansion.

Ireland is seeking to grow its international learner base

Ireland is not just focused on local talent but seeks to attract overseas talent through the Global Citizens 2030 project, as designated in Ireland’s Talent and Innovation Strategy. This ambitious goal sets a clear path for educational institutions and providers to contribute to a national vision while carving out their global identity.

Through this project, The Irish government aims to grow the number of international students coming into Ireland by 2030, through increasing ties with European universities and targeting learners from Asia and the Middle East. The government of Ireland is eager to show off the country’s higher education system and ensure that, as well as Irish people, multinational learners can take advantage of further education.

Providers looking to expand into Ireland will find themselves entering an outward-looking market that is keen to pull in as many learners as possible, encouraging students from around the globe to take advantage of Ireland’s high standard of education. Irish universities are also highly regarded, with the education sector being a significant generator of income and employment opportunities in the Irish economy.

Ireland is an attractive place for learners

Ireland is rebounding after the post-covid and cost of living period, with employment and consumer spending rising with 90,000 jobs added to the economy over the last 12 months. 

Ireland is also an excellent place for highly-educated learners to begin their careers, with the the capital, Dublin, being the European base for Google, IBM, LinkedIn, Pfizer and Mastercard. Learners in Ireland can benefit from accessing high-quality roles after studying, all whilst staying within the country. 

For learners looking for part-time or full-time placements during study or those who are keen to continue their professional development post-study, Ireland is a great place for finding high-quality work.

Ireland has seamless access into UK and EU markets

Ireland has full access to EU learners, meaning that any providers who expand into this = market gain access to a market of 448 million people, a larger population than that of the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand combined. 

Ireland’s position as an English-speaking nation within Europe makes it an attractive prospect for learners across the continent, as  over 50% of those living in the European Union speak English as a second language. 

Furthermore, thanks to the  Common Travel Area, students in the UK have free access to learn and live in Ireland. This puts UK-based providers in an enticing position where they can gain new access to a medium-sized country that also connects to the wider EU population, through Ireland’s continued membership of the European bloc. 

Providers  based in, or considering the UK should bear in mind that the country could be at risk of losing its reputation as an international learning hub. Post-Brexit, EU learners are turning to its English-speaking neighbour across the Irish Sea to access the  same tuition fees as Irish locals, rather than pay higher rates as international students in the UK. 

Ireland is already scooping up would-be UK-based learners, with applications to Irish education institutions by EU learners  rising by a third since Brexit. Although the UK is still worth investing in for education providers, expanding into Ireland could be a natural next step for those wanting to keep enrolments high by maintaining access to the EU market.

Candlefox’s successful venture into Ireland

In March 2023,  Candlefox branched out into Ireland, setting up a new course comparison site that allowed users to find courses from Ireland-based providers. Expanding into this exciting new region allowed our brand to regain a foothold in an EU-based market and help our UK-based providers find new learners in the bloc.

Candlefox originally started in Australia in 2011, then expanded into New Zealand and set up shop in the UK, and now has been operating in Ireland for over a year.  Our business is an excellent example of how to access the huge pool of eager learners spread across the globe. 

Our eagerness to re-enter the EU market and expand into a second European country led us to the natural conclusion of entering Ireland, and this is a path that providers could also take if they are keen to reach new students outside of their current region. 

Ireland offers many opportunities for providers wanting to grow in an English-speaking country that has unlimited access to EU learners. Choosing Ireland as a base for education is a brilliant choice, thanks to its focus on internationalisation and its reputation as a leading centre for upskilling and lifelong learning.

Providers and higher education institutions who are keen to expand beyond their current area should look to Ireland as a thriving international learning hub. Moving into this exciting market could bring plenty of new opportunities for providers wanting to reach new learners and set up shop in a healthy and outward-looking European economy. 

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Joshua Stoneham
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