Friday 23 August 2019

Engineer shortage to hit climate and development Plans

 

Leo Varadkar chats to pupils from Dublin 7 Educate Together primary school at the Climate Action plan launch at Grangegorman DIT Campus. Photo: Damien Eagers
Leo Varadkar chats to pupils from Dublin 7 Educate Together primary school at the Climate Action plan launch at Grangegorman DIT Campus. Photo: Damien Eagers

John Reynolds

A shortage of experienced engineers is restricting economic growth and will hamper the delivery of the government's Climate Action Plan and National Development Plan, Caroline Spillane, the director-general of Engineers Ireland has said.

Among the members of the organisation, all of which employ engineers, half expect the shortage of experienced workers to worsen this year, and the majority say that the shortage is a barrier to the growth of their businesses.

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Spillane added that while the engineering sector expected to create at least 6,000 jobs throughout this year, 44pc of employers were looking to hire engineers with five or more years of experience.

"Shortages of civil and building engineers, and mechanical and electrical engineers, could undermine the delivery of the National Development Plan. Looking to Climate Action Plan, these same workers will be required to deliver electric vehicle charging infrastructure, renewable energy generation and transmission, and home upgrades.

"Engineers are without doubt in full employment. In fact, there are skills shortages right across the engineering disciplines, as highlighted in the National Skills Bulletin. While this means that there are plenty of job opportunities for engineering graduates, these skills shortages are restricting growth and the delivery of key projects.

"Engineering organisations and recruitment agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to fill vacancies, according to findings from our Engineering 2019 report. Demand is strongest in consulting engineering companies," she said.

However, a shortfall of graduates is emerging as well, Spillane explained.

"The number of apprentices and students moving into third-level engineering and technology sectors needs to be much larger to meet our country's current and future needs. The supply is simply insufficient at the moment."

Smaller businesses that rely on engineers are also finding their growth hampered. The Sunday Independent learned of one in Cork unable to take on projects that could double its sales. It currently has eight vacancies for €80,000-a-year roles.

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