Engineering is the second-largest employment sector in Limerick.
Throughout the month of May, we’ve examined Limerick and its ability to compete as a global sci-tech hub.
From leading influencers to its growing focus on employment, we have been able to paint a rich picture of what makes Limerick so unique.
Taking in the region’s sci-tech ecosystem as a whole, it’s clear that medtech and life sciences play a vital role in the industry. In fact, medtech is the largest sector of employment in the region.
However, there’s another industry that has been attracting talent from all over and it’s going from strength to strength.
Engineering, in its many different guises, includes some of the hottest tech jobs in the region, from software engineering to network engineering.
Greg Larkin is a programme development manager in University of Limerick (UL). He said that Limerick and the mid-west make up a centre of excellence for engineering. “Our reputation continues to attract global multinationals to the region,” he said. “A key contributor to the success of these companies has been the availability of skilled engineering talent.”
Larkin is also involved with the Limerick for Engineering group, an industry-led initiative with education body support that aims to increase the quality and quantity of engineering talent in the region.
The inaugural meeting of Limerick for Engineering took place in February 2015 with six companies along with Limerick Institute of Technology and UL. The initiative now has more than 40 participating companies.
“There are 23,200 employed within the engineering sector in the region with an expected growth rate of 4,700 engineering jobs nationally through to 2020,” said Larkin. “The engineering profession is the second-highest occupation growth rate, according to the latest labour market bulletin.”
With so many engineers employed in the region – and that number expected to increase – it’s no wonder it is such a hotbed for engineering. But it’s not just about the talent attracting the major companies, nor is it simply about getting engineers to the mid-west. It’s about developing that talent further.
“Limerick for Engineering collaborates to provide career paths for people already employed in engineering fields. The talent group within Limerick for Engineering identifies and facilitates the development and implementation of new apprenticeship disciplines, short-term specialist modules, and supplementary diplomas and degrees,” said Larkin.
So, why has Limerick specifically become the region in which engineering talent grows? Limerick for Engineering has played a major role. The initiative is unique to the location because it brings together all of the necessary elements – from the educational bodies to the employers – so it is able to properly nurture engineering talent.
Larkin believes the phenomenal success of Limerick for Engineering could be replicated in other areas. “The building blocks of Limerick for Engineering are in every region – the companies, the education providers, the State agencies and more,” he said.
“What you may not have is the secret ingredient, the glue that holds everything together. That secret ingredient is the people involved – their enthusiasm, commitment, energy and their willingness to share and work together in a collegial way,” he said.
“You have that, and you have a winner.”