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Engineers Week taking place

Given the volume of news generated by the general election campaign, all kinds of regular features, including this column, have naturally had to give way in recent weeks. Last week's column would have referred to the open day on February 9 for Ballyfermot College of Further Education, one of the best-known colleges of further education in the country.

Such is the popularity of Ballyfermot College that it has already attracted a very high volume of applications. The college has just announced that, although its printed brochure states that the closing date for applications is Wednesday, March 2, the closing date is being brought forward to today.

Meanwhile, Engineers Week 2011 is taking place all this week until Sunday next.

Engineers Ireland runs the week-long series of activities across the country annually, as a campaign to promote engineering as a career and to highlight the importance of the profession to Ireland. Details of all events are available on www.engineersweek.ie

Research carried out by Ipsos MRBI to launch this year's Engineers Week shows that 76% of engineers working in technology-based firms have described the financial health of their company as the same or better than a year ago.

It was also found that 75% of engineers in these technology firms expected the turnover of their company to stay the same or increase in 2011 and 70% said they expected staff levels in their firms to stay the same or grow.

The figures in technology, health and energy sectors contrasted starkly, however, with the ongoing difficulties in the construction sector, with 52% of engineers in this area describing their company's financial health as either as worse as or much worse than a year ago. About 59% in construction also stated that their company had fewer staff than a year ago, with 50% expecting turnover to decrease in 2011 and 45% predicting that staff numbers would also decrease over the next 12 months.

As students make their college choices, the issue of what sector offers jobs is an important one. Those who think that they might like to study engineering should not be put off by some negative figures at present. when new college entrants graduate in four years time, there may be many career opportunities available to them.

Many school leavers who are applying to engineering degrees are unsure of which branch of engineering they should choose. They are generally advised to opt for "undenominated" or common entry courses which allow them to follow a common course for one or two years, after which they specialise in the branch they have found most interesting.

Open days this week: Today, Postgradireland Further Study Fair 2011 take place in Main Hall, RDS, Dublin 4 from 3.00-8.00pm, There will be hundreds of postgraduate, further education courses and research opportunities with exhibitors from across Ireland, Northern Ireland and overseas. Seminars will take place throughout the afternoon. Greenhills College Further Education, Dublin hosts its open day today from 10.00am-12.30pm. Open evening tomorrow in Mallow College of Further Education, Mallow, Co Cork. Also tomorrow a Graduate Career Information Evening -- Engineers in the 21st Century will take place in the University Of Limerick, from 7.00-8.30pm. Open day in Ormonde College of Further Education, Ormonde Rd, Kilkenny, on Friday from 9:30am-1:30pm.

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