Prospective engineering students determined to tackle the climate crisis
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Prospective engineering students determined to tackle the climate crisis

16 Aug 2019445 Views

Demand for engineering courses has increased this year, with subjects focused on climate action topping the list.

This year’s third-level education offers to prospective students saw a 10pc increase in engineering courses from 2018. With a jump in demand for programmes dedicated to climate action and environmental sustainability in particular, it seems that the workers of the future are aware of the major challenges ahead of us regarding the climate crisis, and are passionate about overcoming them.

Engineers Ireland registrar and chartered engineer, Damien Owens, said: “We are encouraged by the increase in the numbers of students opting to pursue engineering at third-level and, in particular, the growth in the number of students choosing courses with a focus on sustainability and climate action.”

Electricity, enterprise, built environment, transport, agriculture and waste are some of the areas where engineers can cultivate positive impacts when it comes to dealing with the climate emergency.

“From clean water supplies and safe buildings to renewable energy and sustainable transport, engineers are critical to Irish society, our environment and economy,” Owens added.

“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.”

As demand for qualified engineers continues to grow in Ireland, equipping people with the right knowledge to close the skills gap going forward is becoming more important.

An Engineers Ireland report said that 94pc of employers in the industry have experienced barriers to growth due to a shortage in skills over the past five years, as graduate numbers have fallen by 15pc. Civil and building engineering is the area that has been hit the hardest, with numbers dropping by more than half (55pc) in that time frame.

“The continued upward trend in students selecting engineering courses at Irish third-level institutions comes at a welcome time for the profession as demand continues to outstrip supply in the engineering sector,” said Owens. “We are seeing new job opportunities for graduates and increasing salaries within the engineering sector, but there continues to be a shortfall of engineers to meet the needs of industry.”

But a career in engineering isn’t just for those starting college later this year. Apprenticeships and other skills-based training programmes are being encouraged as routes with opportunities to join the sector.

By Lisa Ardill

Lisa joined the team as senior Careers reporter in July 2019 with previous experience in science communication and media. With a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication, she is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos.

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