Almost half of engineering employers agree that there is an inadequate supply of engineers with the necessary skills to meet demands
Engineers Ireland has welcomed the first round CAO offers which show a 3% increase in demand preference by students for engineering courses at third level.* The organisation encouraged those who received a CAO offer of an engineering course, to accept their offer and pursue a career “in an exciting sector that offers extremely rewarding work, career progression and an opportunity to enhance people’s lives.”
Commenting on the CAO offers, Engineers Ireland’s Registrar, Damien Owens, said however that given the level of demand by industry for a skilled labour force to “create and fill the jobs of the future,” Engineers Ireland “strongly encourages students not offered their preferred engineering course at third level, to consider all routes into engineering.”
These routes include apprenticeships and other skills-based training which are increasing in popularity, and have “strong backing by State agencies such as SOLAS as well as industry. “
Damien Owens said: “Our economy badly needs engineers and engineering skills. These routes, in addition to the traditional third level path, offer a real opportunity to develop professional and technical skills which are valued by employers and are now so badly needed in industry.”
Damien Owens also said that evidence continues to emerge that illustrates potential future skills shortages in the Irish engineering sector in the medium term. He said: “Our Engineering 2018 barometer report on engineering in Ireland, shows that 49% of engineering employers surveyed agreed that there is an inadequate supply of engineers with the necessary skills to meet their needs in the medium term. This means that there are plenty of job opportunities for engineering graduates, but shortages of engineers are restricting business growth, competitiveness and the delivery of key projects.
“In the context of Project Ireland 2040 and its 10 year €116 billion National Development Plan and upswing in housing construction, there are also major concerns regarding a shortage of civil and building engineering graduates, the numbers of which are down 45% in the past five years.
“Highly skilled professionals such as these are needed for the delivery of energy-efficient buildings, clean water supplies and sustainable transport. In general, without a sufficient supply of engineering talent, it will not be possible to provide crucial products, projects and services.”
Damien Owens added: “Ireland’s development as a global innovation leader, with inward investment, export opportunities and sustainable long-term growth, will hinge on the further development of engineering skills in key industrial sectors such as manufacturing and ICT.”
Welcoming the upward trend in interest in engineering courses, he said: “Rigorously trained and creative engineers are vital to achieving a knowledge-based, sustainable future for Ireland. We are encouraged by the increase in numbers opting to pursue engineering at third level. It is important to retain that student awareness, interest and certainty, and sustain it into the future.”
Damien Owens concluded: “Engineering is transforming how we live, work and study. Engineering is a highly diversified and exciting profession with a wide range of specialisms emerging as new technologies, business models and engineering challenges develop. From life-saving biomedical technology to energy-efficient housing, engineers are developing innovative solutions for the benefit of society. Today’s engineering students will have the opportunity to work on technologies that have not yet been invented.”