25pc of Irish students drop out of college before graduation. Don’t worry, an enterprising young UCC IGNITE spin-out business called Yooni is on the case.

The figures are frightening. In Irish colleges, the dropout rate in the first year is 14pc while a total of 25pc of students drop out before graduation. Studies show that 60pc of these dropouts are due to students choosing the wrong course.

The costs of this are staggering. First-year dropouts alone result in losses of €17.2m to Irish parents each year. On an individual level, the 3rd level student lifecycle will cost parents a minimum of €18,444 with a child living at home for college. Every Irish parent has a 25pc chance of losing some, if not all of that €18,444 due to their child dropping out.

“Using artificial intelligence and data analytics, we can accurately return a list of suitable courses”

Cork-based business Yooni, a graduate of the UCC IGNITE programme, uses artificial intelligence to help leaving cert students, and their parents take a lot of the work out of finding the best college course for them.

Launched earlier this year in Cork, working successfully with UCC and CIT, Yooni is now set to go national as the class of 2021 looks to live beyond the Leaving Cert.

Personalised recommendations and insights

The young start-up has designed bespoke assessment technology that analyses a student’s academics, personality and interests to generate personalised course recommendations and insights.

The system uses both artificial intelligence and data analytics in helping students to identify the courses where they will most likely flourish. Yooni allows students to research courses, fill out a practice CAO form and connect with guidance counsellors.

Supported by the IGNITE program in UCC and Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers, co-founders Nathan Mayes and Darragh Lucey launched in Cork earlier this year.

Working with UCC and CIT, the platform has already successfully helped Leaving Cert Students from over 100 schools choose their appropriate college courses. All third level (Level 8) courses are now searchable using the software.

“In Irish colleges, the dropout rate in the first year is 14pc while a total of 25pc of students drop out before graduation,” says co-founder Nathan Mayes.

“Studies show that 60pc of these dropouts are due to students choosing the wrong course. We developed Yooni from the ground up, in collaboration with guidance counsellors and other experts in both education and technology fields, to bridge the void between the traditional guidance system and modern career guidance technology. Yooni.ie uses smart technology to help alleviate the stress students face navigating the path of course selection.”

Co-founder Darragh Lucey adds: “Where we differ is that we use anonymised past graduate data to match current leaving cert students with the best courses for them, based on their Leaving Cert subjects and their predicted results in those subjects.

“Using artificial intelligence and data analytics, we can accurately return a list of suitable courses and also serve to solidify confidence in their current choices with ongoing access to adequate guidance regardless of the school situation.”

To sign up for free, and to view other supports available to students, visit www.Yooni.ie

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 9 October, 2020

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