Lack of skilled engineers may hamper €20 Million growth

Lack of skilled engineers may hamper €20 Million growth

27 April 2012 at 16:40

A lack of skilled engineers in Ireland with sufficient professional experience is undermining ambitious engineering firms like Dromone Engineering, according to the firm’s Managing Director William Egenton.  He was speaking on the second day of the 2012 Engineers Ireland Annual Conference at the Europa Hotel in Belfast which also featured an address by Eddie O’Connor, Airtricity founder and CEO of Mainstream Renewable Power, on offshore energy sources.

Mr Egenton said Ireland had an exceptional track-record in manufacturing and engineering that continued to offer great employment opportunities despite the difficult economic climate.  “I welcome the Government’s renewed drive to promote the value of careers in technology and engineering in schools.  However there is a clear time lag between this and actually producing engineers with the expertise to meet the expansion needs of a company like ours.  This is a concern and forces us to look abroad for the right type of engineer.  Dromone is a Meath company with an established expertise in manufacturing technologies for the agricultural and construction markets.  We now have market opportunities that could grow our sales to as much as €20 million by 2014 but we need to recruit staff with the requisite skills to meet this target.  Essentially, it is difficult to find Irish engineering professionals with the specific experience and skills we need.”    

John Power, Director General of Engineers Ireland, added: “We have heard from some of Ireland’s foremost engineering entrepreneurs and the overall theme that has emerged is that if Ireland is to continue to grow its export market we need to put the necessary resources in place to fill the engineering vacancies.”

The second day of the conference on Friday, April 27 featured parallel discussion sessions focused on offshore energy and engineering innovation in Irish manufacturing.  Speakers at the ‘Offshore 2050’ session included Peter Quinn from PG Quinn Ltd, Dr Paul Brewster from Pure Marine, Dermot Byrne from EirGrid, Eddie O’Connor from Mainstream Renewable Power, Robert Sherman from MMI Engineering Ltd, Richard Moorman from Tamboran, NI Utility Regulator Tanya Wishart, Cathal Gallagher from Bord Gáis Energy, Louis Wildenboer from Gaelectric and James Cox from Poyry Management Consulting.

The ‘Manufacturing: a leading light in Irish engineering’ session heard from Declan Lyons, Enterprise Ireland, William Egenton, Dromone Engineering Ltd, Colin Elliott, Bombardier Aerospace Belfast, Alistair MacCorkell, Moorings Mediquip Group, Alan Henning, B/E Aerospace (UK) and Philip Gilliland, Caldwell and Robinson.