Engineers Ireland calls on young people to consider exciting career possibilities in sector as STEPS Engineers Week 2020 kicks off

Engineers Week Ambassador Fionnghuala O’Reilly, NASA engineer and Miss Universe Ireland, says engineering qualification opens up a world of possibilities

Over 5,000 new engineering jobs will be created nationally in areas relating to the green economy, construction, digital manufacturing and artificial intelligence this year, a new report from Engineers Ireland has revealed.

The professional membership body for engineers in Ireland announced the positive sector outlook based on engagement with engineering industry leaders ahead of the launch of its third annual Engineering 2020 Barometer report during  STEPS Engineers Week 2020.

Taking place nationwide from Saturday, February 29 until Friday, March 6, STEPS Engineers Week is coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The professional membership body for engineers in Ireland is calling on young people to consider the diverse and exciting career possibilities that are emerging across the engineering industry.  The call comes as the sector continues to face challenges sourcing the skills needed in Ireland to meet demand and drive sustainable economic development. 

Over 75,000 students, teachers and parents are set to engage in over 700 activities as part of the STEPS Engineers Week 2020 celebrations and the membership body has issued urged schools, families, engineering organisations and local authorities across Ireland to register events ahead of Saturday’s kick-off and to come out and support what is a vital initiative.

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: “In advance of STEPS Engineers Week 2020, engineering employers we surveyed across a range of areas said they want to recruit more than 5,000 engineers this year.  It is hugely encouraging that our industry continues to offer so many exceptional job opportunities in such a wide array of engineering disciplines.  But the challenge is to ensure the supply of talent is there - and that is why support for campaigns like STEPS Engineers Week is so vitally important, not just to the sector but to Ireland’s future skills needs. 

“Engineering is at the vanguard of emerging areas such as artificial intelligence, the green economy, e-health and even space exploration.  Our Engineers Week 2020 Ambassador Fionnghuala O’Reilly is very much the embodiment of what it means to be a talented Irish engineer in the 21st Century.   I am now issuing our annual ‘call to action’ to companies, schools and local authorities across the country to register their events and to help us inspire our young people and encourage them to explore the exciting world of science, technology, and maths that underpins a rewarding career in engineering.”

Fionnghuala O’Reilly, NASA Datanaut and Engineers Week 2020 Ambassador, said: “There tends to be this traditional view that only men in white coats and hard-hats are scientists or engineers, but this just isn’t the case anymore.  I want to help demystify during Engineers Week 2020 what it looks like to be a modern engineer, and to really showcase all of the the amazing career opportunities that can come from a background in math, science and technology.”   

Also crowned Miss Universe Ireland in August, she said: “As someone who travelled a lot growing up, I have always gravitated towards a career that looks at how to make things work better in the world.  Now as a systems engineer, which is a relatively new branch of engineering, my job is to make systems work better for society. In my role as a director for NASA’s International Space Apps Challenge, I use my systems engineering background to support projects aimed at creating systems that address Earth science and space challenges. We use massive amounts of data to create solutions for things like the devastating wildfires that have happened all over the world or drones that can withstand weather and atmospheric conditions on another planet. 

To download free STEPS Engineers Week resources, including documentaries and activity packs, or to register an activity, visit:

Highlight events planned for STEPS Engineers Week 2020 include:

  • Engineers Week Family Festival - Test your superhero powers, meet robots and create a sustainable future at Steps Engineers Week in Dublin (Engineers Ireland), Cork (Lifetime Labs), Sligo (Sligo IT) and Galway (NUI Galway) - Saturday, 29 February and Sunday, 1 March
  • Global Engineers Event – Over 100 Brazilian engineers will attend a workshop in Engineers Ireland to find out more about opportunities in the Irish engineering sector – 2 March
  • World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development and Launch of ‘Engineering 2020: A barometer of the profession in Ireland’ by David Donoghue, former Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations. Taking place in Engineers Ireland, Clyde Road on World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development- Wednesday, 4 March
  • Engineering Your Future Transition Year Programme – events involving students in a hands-on, fun and practical immersion into engineering at third-level in TU Dublin (Blanchardstown), DCU and ESB – All week
  • Girl Guides and Brownies Engineers Week Challenge - Guides (aged 10-14) and Brownies (aged 7-10) are encouraged to work towards gaining the Guide Engineering Badge or Brownie Engineering Badge with their Irish Girl Guides Unit during Engineers Week and devise an innovative project that could be commercially produced – All week