A total of 38% of engineering employers are participating in primary and secondary schools outreach programmes in order to ensure that their organisations have the necessary skills and expertise to undertake future engineering projects. 

The findings from a recent engineering employer survey were revealed by Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body for engineers, as STEPS Engineers Week continued in schools and communities across Ireland until March 10.

In addition to school visits and site visits hosted by engineers as part of STEPS Engineers Week, 665 Transition Year students will also join 29 engineering organisations and higher education institutions for work experience placements as part of the STEPS Engineering Future programme.

This immersive engineering work experience programme, which is up to a week long, has to date provided more than 3,000 Transition Year students with the opportunity to explore the engineering profession.

Interactive talks and presentations

The Environmental Protection Agency, ATIM Cluster, DBFL Consulting Engineers, Palliare, Fingleton White, Farrans Construction, Cundall, ESB, and Viatris will join 15 higher education institutions across Ireland to host students from March. Students will attend interactive talks and presentations; get hands-on experience; visit local industry and meet engineers at various stages in their careers. 

An apprenticeship version of the programme, hosted by Liebherr Container Cranes in Killarney and Combilift in Monaghan, will also provide Transition Year students with the opportunity to gain an insight into apprenticeships and receive guidance from working and qualified apprentices.

The engineering employer survey results coincided with the CAO reporting a 4% increase in interest in Level 8 engineering and engineering trades courses, rising from 4,025 applications in 2022 to 4,189 applications in 2023.

Damien Owens, director general of Engineers Ireland, said: “Findings from our latest employer survey have shown that 8,000 jobs are anticipated in the engineering sector in 2023. However, our recent survey also highlighted that 72% of member-respondents are majorly concerned about the shortage of engineers with the correct skills.

Future engineering talent pipeline

"These engineering employers see this shortage as the main barrier to business growth. In addition to upskilling employees, increasing investment in lifelong learning, and collaborating with educational institutions, our employer survey found that 38% of engineering employers are now engaging with primary and secondary schools outreach programmes in order to build and develop our future engineering talent pipeline.

“The STEPS Engineering Your Future programme has grown from a pilot with UCD in 2012 to now having 29 project partners, providing even more students with the opportunity to explore the engineering profession.

"Innovative and forward-thinking companies are now working hand-in-hand with partners in academia to develop the talent of the future by providing Transition Year students with an opportunity to gain insight into engineering courses, careers, and apprenticeship opportunities in their locality.

"This immersive experience encourages students to not only explore a variety of engineering disciplines, but also experience, first-hand, the vital role of engineers in society.”

For more information on the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/Schools/Get-involved/Engineering-Your-Future/Transition-Year-programme