Deadline looms for students to decide to be part of a changing Ireland


30 Jun 2009

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With industries such as ICT, biotech and pharma representing Ireland’s best hope to emerge from the economic downturn, students applying for courses through the CAO should make astute use of their ‘change of mind’ choices to build strong careers, the director general of Engineers Ireland John Power has said.

Power was speaking as second-level students consider their options ahead of the final deadline for CAO change of mind choices on 1 July.

Power highlighted the increasing shift in focus towards new emerging sectors of industry, as well as the spate of third-level announcements on initiatives focused on boosting research and technology innovations.

In recent months, companies such as IBM, Intel, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Boston Scientific made ground-breaking investments in new R&D and next-generation service delivery.

But to capitalise on these job opportunities means having an engineering qualification, which Power said will provide an excellent platform for career development in a changing Ireland.

“Engineers Ireland, for some time now, has been drawing attention to the fact that the smart economy framework that over-arches Ireland’s move towards R&D, technology development and the green economy means the need for more engineers is clear and obvious.

“The recent announcements by Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin (UCD) and the institutes of technology to promote, support and commercialise research across Ireland expands the window of opportunity for ambitious engineering graduates who will have the skills and expertise to underpin these initiatives in years to come.

“The Trinity/UCD/Irish Technology Leadership Group (ILTG) partnership is geared towards the creation of technology companies and jobs, while the Lionra agreement covering the border, midland and western region sees a specific focus on biomedical science and engineering, environment, marine, energy and software development.”

Engineers Ireland is one of the largest and oldest representative bodies on the island of Ireland, with an ever-increasing membership of engineers, which now totals over 24,000.

“I strongly advocate that students consider these growing opportunities for engineers as the deadline for submitting CAO change of mind applications approaches,” Power said.

Students have until 5.15 pm on 1 July to change courses on their CAO forms. To learn more about what engineering courses are available in Ireland, visit www.steps.ie/CAOcourses

Power pointed out that employers such as Google and Pfizer are on record as saying they need graduates that can think with originality, creativity and independence.

“These attributes are the very embodiment of engineering. With IDA Ireland continuing to get feedback from the big multinationals that they need labour market skills across maths, the sciences and engineering, it is obvious that an engineering qualification can provide a platform for all kinds of career possibilities.

“Essentially, every cloud has a silver lining, and while we are encountering a huge increase in unemployment in difficult economic times and an unprecedented contraction in the construction sector where engineers have been hit hard, there are currently over 70 engineering vacancies in other industry sectors, for example energy and environmental, being advertised on our website.

“And the recent investment announcements by Boston Scientific Galway and IBM of €91m and €25m respectively in new jobs are all encouraging for any student considering engineering as a career,” Power added.

By John Kennedy