Talks Timetable

Talks Moderators

Carl O’Brien:

Education Editor of The Irish Times

Brian Mooney

Career Guidance Expert and Irish Times Columnist

Ciara O’Brien

Business and Technology Journalist at The Irish Times

Éanna Ó Caollaí

Irish Language Editor (Eagarthóir Gaeilge) at The Irish Times and Editor of The Irish Times Student Hub

Malachy Clerkin

Irish Times Sports Columnist

Talks and Lectures Timetable

Wed 13th October

12pm - 12:30pm

Applying to CAO

Eileen Keleghan
Communications Officer for the Central Applications Office (CAO)
12:35pm - 12:55pm

I Don’t Know what I want to do 

Brian Mooney
Career Guidance Expert and Irish Times Columnist
1pm - 1:20pm

Smart options: Further Education & Training

Carl O'Brien
Education Editor, The Irish Times
Simon Harris TD
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Dr. Mary-Liz Trant
Executive Director for Skills Development in the FET authority, SOLAS
Conor Creegan
Mechanical Project Engineer 
1:50pm - 2:20pm

Careers in Hospitality & Tourism

Cáit Noone
Head of Galway International Hotel School & Vice President International Engagement

David Maxwell 
Managing Director, Boojum
Dr. Seán T. Ruane
Lecturer, Shannon College of Hotel Management
2:25pm - 2:55pm

Studying in Europe

Guy Flouch & Guests
Director, EUNICAS
Lorraine McKenna
Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Veterinary Medicine
Megan Smith
Radboud University, Nijmegen, MSc Political Science
Jordan Walsh
Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Creative Media & Game Technologies
Lewis Masson
University of Groningen, Environmental & Infrastructure Planning
Josh Harvey-Graham
University of Pavia, Italy, Medicine and Surgery
3pm - 3:30pm

Careers with a Business Degree

Dr. Fergal O'Brien
Assistant Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at Kemmy Business School, UL
Valerie McTaggart PhD

Lecturer Global Business Services, IT Sligo

Donal O'Neill

Professor of Economics, Maynooth University

3:35pm - 4:05pm

Careers in Engineering 

Dr. Colin Keogh
Engineer, Academic & STEPS Ambassador
John Breslin

Personal Professor in Electronic Engineering, NUI Galway

Aoife Prendergast

Quality and Hardware Systems Engineer

4:10pm - 4:40pm 


Catherine Cocoman
General and Psychiatric Nurse, NMBI
Sarah Tyrrell
Children's and General Nursing
Bróna McGahon
Intellectual Disability Nurse, NMBI
Emma Helebert
Midwife, University Hospital Galway
4:45pm - 5:15pm

Careers with Irish

Eimear Ní Bhroin
Language Affairs Officer, European Commission
Susan Folan
Coordinator, MA in Conference Interpreting, NUIG.
Dr. T.J. Ó Ceallaigh
Director of Postgraduate Studies in Education, Mary Immaculate College
5:20pm - 5:50pm 

Careers in Agricultural and Horticultural Science 

Damien Dempsey
Communications and Student Recruitment Manager, UCD
Dr. Kirstie McAdoo
Head of Education and Research, Airfield Estate
Niall Hurson
Researcher, RTE Ear to the Ground
5:55pm - 6:25pm 

Careers in Sport & Exercise 

Lisa Hayden
Digital Content Manager, GAA
Joe McGinley
Senior Athletic Performance Coach, Leinster Rugby 
Kevin Quinn
Head of Commercial and Marketing, Leinster Rugby

Thursday 14th October 

12pm - 12:25pm

Applying to Study in the UK

Sam Sykes
Professional Development Executive, UCAS
Jonathan Holland
Market Engagement Officer, Ulster University
Sarah Hales
Student Recruitment Coordinator, University of Cambridge
12:30 - 1pm

Careers in Climate Science and Sustainability 

Connal Heussaff 
Analyst, Commission for Regulation of Utilities

Joe Codd
Director of Business Development, VEON Ltd.

Brigid Walsh
Project Director & Co Founder, Solar Evolution Ltd.

1:05pm -1:35pm

Mapping a Career in Bio & Medical Science 

Dr. Linda Mulligan
Chief State Pathologist, Department of Justice
Luke A.J. O'Neill
Professor (Chair of Biochemistry), TCD
Prof. Gianpiero Cavalleri
Professor of Human Genetics, RCSI
1:40pm - 2:10pm 

Careers in Law 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher, QC
Barrister, Doughty Chambers
David Kenny
Associate Professor of Law, Trinity College Dublin
Dearbhla O'Gorman
Associate Solicitor, Arthur Cox
2:15pm - 2:45pm 

Careers with an Arts Degree

Olga Barry 
Director, Kilkenny Arts Festival
Lucy Masterson
CEO, Irish Youth Foundation
2:50pm - 3:20pm

Careers in Tech 

Paul Collins
SVP Regional Security Officer Europe, Elavon
Daniel CM Browne 
Founder of the Autistic Spectrum IT/Cyber Security Recruitment Initiative 
Edel Hesnan
Director of Training and Employment Services, FIT
3:25pm - 3:55pm  

Careers in Media 

Aoife Moore
Political Correspondent, The Irish Examiner
Dr. Anne O'Brien
Head of Department of Media Studies, Associate Professor, Maynooth University
Joanne O'Riordan
Activist and Irish Times Sports Journalist
4pm - 4:30pm  

Careers in Creative Media 

Cecilia Munro
Principal, Ballyfermot College of Further Education
Paddy Tobin 
Head of School, Design & Creative Arts, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology 
Fabian Erlinghäuser
Head of Animation, Cartoon Saloon
4:35pm - 5:05pm

Careers with a Science Degree

Dr. Orla Donoghue
Science Outreach Manager, UCD

Connal Heussaff
Analyst, Commission for Regulation of Utilities

5:10pm - 5:40pm 

Apprenticeship Experiences 

Alan McGrath
Director of Apprenticeship, SOLAS

Harry Angel
Apprentice Negotiator, DNG Property

Conor Cregan
Mechanical Project Engineer, Designer Group

5:45pm - 6:15pm

Careers in the Construction Industry

Joanne Cluxton
Head of Group HR, Mercury
John Sweeney
Senior Contracts Manager, Collen Construction
Ronan Murphy
Apprentices Training Manager, Sisk 

On Demand


Brian Mooney
Career Guidance Expert and Irish Times Columnist


Brian Mooney
Career Guidance Expert and Irish Times Columnist


Brian Mooney
Career Guidance Expert and Irish Times Columnist

Me and My Career

On Demand

Me and My Career

Brenda Romero
CEO & Co-founder Romero Games

Me and My Career

Me and My Career

Dr. Linda Mulligan
Chief State Pathologist, Department of Justice

Me and My Career

Fabian Erlinghäuser
Head of Animation, Cartoon Saloon

Me and My Career

Grace Oladipo
Fulbright Scholar, University of Notre Dame

Me and My Career

Paul Collins
SVP Regional Security Officer, Europe

Me and My Career

Tim Hynes
Chief Innovation Officer, AIB

Me and My Career

Joe Stokes
Associate, McCullough Mulvin Architects


The lobby - come on in and take a look around, you’ll find the Help Desk and IT Support here if you need it throughout the day

The Auditorium - head to the Auditorium for our live career talks and lectures, including live Q&A sessions

The Exhibitor Hall - explore the stands in the Exhibitor Hall and engage directly with exhibitors, ask questions in real-time through the chat function that will appear in each stand

The Network Hub - this is where Exhibitors and Guidance Counsellors can connect one-on-one or drop in to a group chat

Frequently Asked Questions

Higher Options is the foremost annual education expo for second level students run by The Irish Times in partnership with the Institute of Guidance Counsellors. Our virtual event will provide all the information second level students will need to make good decisions about their further and higher level studies. They will be able to engage directly with representatives from universities, colleges and education institutions from Ireland, the UK, Europe and beyond. With a full programme of talks and live Q&A sessions, students will be able to get information about the greatest range of courses and apprenticeships on offer from the comfort of their classroom or home.
This event is of most interest to senior cycle students in Ireland, their parents, guidance counsellors and those interested in finding out about study, training and further education options after the Leaving Cert exams.
The live event will run from 12pm to 6pm on Wednesday, 13th & Thursday, 14th of October, 2021 All talks and materials will be available to access until December 31st. A ticket will allow access across this time so students can access it at home with parents as well as in school.
Tickets for students cost €10 and can be purchased here
No. You do not need to download or install any software to participate. You only need to have access to the internet.
If you’ve purchased a Higher Options ticket, you will receive an email or text with your log-in information to our virtual platform a few days prior to the event.
A full programme of talks and lectures will take place each day. In addition representatives from the CAO,UCAS, universities, colleges, further education institutions and educational bodies are available in the virtual exhibition hall to speak with you and answer questions.
Yes, all exhibitors will be able to answer questions in group chats and one-to-one discussions. They will also be able to advise you what material to gather from their stand for further information. The chat function will appear in every booth you visit. Simply type in a message and get the conversation started!
Talk sessions take place throughout the two days of Higher Options. A fully downloadable timetable of talks will appear on the Higher Options site and students are encouraged to consult the timetable in their preparations for the event.
The Talks and Lecture sessions cover a range of Career talks by industry professionals, as well as helpful advice on applying to colleges through the CAO, UCAS and International systems.
Yes. There will be live Q&A sessions with the speaker after each session where any questions you may have can be answered in real time.
All talks and exhibitor material will be available on-demand AFTER the event is over for 30 days. Only ticket holders will be able to access the platform post-event.
Higher Options | The Irish Times community is made up of a network of people with a common agenda, cause, and interests, who collaborate by sharing ideas, information, and resources. It is of utmost importance to the organiser that each and every person attending one of our events has a positive and rewarding experience and to that end, we invite attendees to help us realize a safe, respectful, and positive experience for everyone.

The code of conduct can be accessed here
If you still have a question that wasn’t answered above, email us at and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.
Group bookings can be facilitated, payment will be made via invoice. Please email us at where we will outline the process.

FAQs for Exhibitors

Our online Platform has created an automated process to create and populate each exhibitor’s stand. Once participation is confirmed, our team will send you a link to begin the process. Exhibitors will be provided with a range of booth templates to choose from. Once completed, institution information, logos, course links, etc. will be uploaded
Each stand includes the following items:
  • Institution profile
  • Contact information
  • Links to Website, Social Media Pages, Career Sites, etc.
  • Video Vignettes (if desired)
  • Upload docs and presentations
Yes – exhibitors will need to be available answer student’s questions when the event is live.
Yes. Exhibitors can chat with students during the virtual event. Exhibitors can do group chat as well as private chat with students.
Yes when the event goes live tech support will be available.
The event is being promoted across our different media outlets, on our site, with social campaign, direct mail to guidance counsellors, exhibitors, editorial in Irish Times, Irish Examiner and national titles and press releases.