Concern over shortage of construction experts

Monday 18 August 2014 23.58
Engineers Ireland has warned of an ongoing shortage of engineering graduates
Engineers Ireland has warned of an ongoing shortage of engineering graduates

There will not be enough suitable candidates to meet demand for engineering and construction specialists in the coming years, according to an analysis carried out by Engineers Ireland and Hays recruitment.

The study found that while there is an increased demand for engineers and other construction specialists, there is a shortage of available and suitable candidates.

It found there is an insufficient number of people pursuing construction courses at third level.

According to Hays, the number of construction and property jobs on offer between January and June rose 93% compared with the same period last year.

Mechanical and electrical engineers and project managers are most in demand. 

Engineers Ireland has warned of an ongoing shortage of engineering graduates over the coming years, with just 62 construction engineers graduating this year.

Engineers Ireland says the increased focus on mathematics in schools is a contributing factor to the higher uptake in construction-related courses at third-level.  

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, the Membership Director & Registrar of Engineers Ireland, Damien Owens, said students now believe courses such as architecture and engineering courses are now more attainable.

"The students themselves are much more confident because of the increased attention and importance given to mathematics.

"An unprecedented number of students took higher level maths, almost 14,000 students, double the figure two years ago.

"This blows the myth that maths is not enjoyable (out of the water) and opened up courses which students may have thought unattainable, but are now well within their grasp and I think these are positive developments."

Mr Owens said universities and colleges have changed their course structures to allow for a more gradual transition to third level.  

He said these institutions are refraining from "bombarding students with more maths" and are instead introducing more "experiential learning."

Mr Owens added that an increasing number of jobs are becoming available in construction and environmental engineering and the biomedical and ICT sectors are particularly buoyant.