Engineers Ireland has today welcomed growth in the numbers of students who have selected honours degree engineering courses at third-level.
According to statistics reported by the Central Applications Office (CAO), engineering Level 8 first preferences have increased by 6% from 3,558 in 2019 to 3,759 in 2020 (marking an 18% increase since 2018). Overall, engineering, manufacturing and construction related Level 8 first preferences have increased by 5% from 5,771 to 6,082.
The professional membership body, which represents over 25,000 engineers, said that it welcomed the growing awareness of, and interest in, engineering as a career choice by young people as the sector continues to face challenges sourcing the skills needed in Ireland to meet demand.
According to recently published data from Engineers Ireland’s Engineering 2020 barometer report, 91% of engineering leaders surveyed listed skills shortages as a barrier to growing their workforce. The report also highlighted that industry demand for engineers continues in 2020 with over 5,000 new engineering jobs expected to be created nationally in areas relating to the green economy, construction, digital manufacturing and artificial intelligence this year.
Commenting on today’s CAO results, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: “We are encouraged by the increase in the numbers of students opting to pursue engineering at third-level. Ireland needs a steady supply of engineers, with the necessary skillset, to boost local economies, create new jobs, facilitate sustainable development and meet Government ambitions, such as those outlined in the Climate Action Plan. Our future engineers in particular will play a leading role in sustainable development and delivering climate action solutions.”
Ms. Spillane added: “We wish all students every success with their studies in the coming weeks and we hope that those who have opted for an engineering course as their CAO first choice preference will be successful, and have an opportunity to go on to develop the technical and professional skills which are so valued by employers and are now so badly needed in industry.”
Engineers Ireland also encouraged students who have applied to the CAO and who have not yet fully decided on their career path to actively consider a career in engineering. Ms Spillane concluded: “We encourage students who have not yet fully decided on their career path to actively consider a career in engineering. Whether you have studied maths at higher or ordinary level, if you enjoy problem solving, innovation and creativity, you can pursue the limitless opportunities afforded by a career in engineering. Additionally, we would urge students to consider engineering and related apprenticeships.”
Students who have applied to CAO have the opportunity change their course selection and pursue a career in engineering by using the ‘Change of Mind’ facility which opens on 5 May and is available until 1 July at 5:15pm.
Students are also encouraged to check the Engineers Ireland database of accredited programmes, which cover levels 6, 7, 8 and 9, to ensure their chosen engineering course meets the highest of international standards. Students can view Engineers Ireland’s list of accredited programmes by visiting: https://www.engineersireland.ie/Professionals/Membership/Become-a-member/Accredited-third-level-courses/Find-accredited-programme/