A MAJOR IRISH TIMES series explores the plight of our third level students, many raised during the Celtic Tiger but now trying to carve their way through a major recession. The research documents resilience and optimism.
It's shallow to dismiss these kinds of broadsheet series as jingoistic because strong sociological evidence underlies the interviews conducted by the Irish Times  and intergenerational research by Professor Tom Inglis, sociologist from the University College Dublin. The Irish Times has assembled a group of young people to discuss what lies ahead. They are a mix of early school-leavers, college students and graduates. They spoke to Times journalists as a group and individually.
There is anger and frustration at where they find themselves and also a sense of futility at raging about what happened in the past. 
As part of the Irish Times series, economics editor Dan O'Brien offers one of the most in-depth views of youth unemployment.  He points out "the 15-24 age group is shrinking significantly" as up to one-third of that cohort emigrate. Just 130,000 Irish between the ages of 15 and 24 are working today, "meaning that for every 10 jobs that existed in 2008, six have disappeared".
A lot of what has happened in the area of youth employment arose from the trend of many young unqualified men to enter the building trade at the height of the Celtic Tiger. They got easy cash in hand while in the construction sector. Those opportunities have dried up now.
What to do? "The international evidence points to module-based training that has tight quality control, is attractive to women, is not time-limited and is not closed to older people who have work experience."
1. You can watch the Irish Times group talking on IrishTimes.com/tv.
2. Carl O'Brien -- "A Lost Generation? Not us" in The Irish Times Weekend Review, September 22, 2012.
3. Dan O=Brien -- "Youth Unemployment: the remedies" in The Irish Times, September 22, 2012.