Figures published by the CAO show a significant reduction in the number of students choosing to become teachers.

Data on this year's college applications shows an 8% drop in numbers opting for teacher degree courses.

Newly qualified teachers have faced pay cuts and reported difficulties in finding jobs.

The drop in applications for teaching courses this year follows a 6% reduction last year.

Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority Tom Boland said the figure reflects the lack of teaching posts available.

Other trends that appeared last year are also continuing.

Applications for science and related courses are up again, by 4%, arts and social science courses are down and applications for medicine are also down this year, by 6.5%.

Agricultural courses continue a surge in popularity with applications up by almost 7% compared to 2012.

The HEA said it is encouraging that the CAO figures show students are opting for science courses.