The first round of CAO offers have gone out today, and while there has been a 3% demand increase for engineering courses, this might not be enough to fill the needs created by our projected growth. According to an announcement made by Engineers Ireland today, it’s vitally important that ‘all routes into engineering be explored’ by potential students if this skills deficit is to be reduced.
Engineers Ireland is a professional body for engineers across the island of Ireland. The organisation focuses on the promotion and development of all disciplines of engineering, working collaboratively with industry, educational institutions, state bodies and the public service.
Presently in Ireland, 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.
Engineering 2018 is a barometer report published in spring and developed by Engineers Ireland for the engineering profession in Ireland, capturing trends in engineering employment, perspectives and education. The report this year was based primarily on three surveys conducted between October 2017 and February 2018 with qualified engineers, engineering employers, and the general public. These findings were complemented by Engineers Ireland analysis of data collected by key government agencies and public-sector bodies, including the CSO, the HEA, the State Examination Commission and SOLAS.
This round of CAO offers demonstrated a 3% increase in demand preference by students for engineering courses at third level. Engineers Ireland urged students who receive 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.’
Meanwhile, for students who were not offered their preferred engineering course, there is still plenty to consider. Alternate routes into a career in engineering are available. These 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.
In the context of Project Ireland 2040 and its 10 -year, €116 billion National Development Plan as well as the upswing in housing construction, there are also major concerns regarding a shortage of Civil and Building Engineering graduates. The numbers of these are down 45% in the past five years.
Highly-skilled professionals in these fields 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. 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.
Engineers Ireland’s Registrar Damien Owens added: ‘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…
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.’