Women are 'untapped resource' in Ireland's engineering sector
12 October 2014
Over 240 second-level students attended an interactive career event in Dublin last week (Wednesday, 8 October), which showcased engineering as a career path for women. The first of its kind, the event aimed to inspire young women to consider engineering as a career or a third-level option as Ireland faces a shortage of skilled engineering talent.
“With a current ratio of 9:1 men to women in the industry, women largely remain an untapped resource in our profession,” according to chartered engineer Regina Moran, Fujitsu Ireland CEO and Engineers Ireland president, who was the keynote speaker at the event.
Around 118,000 people in Ireland are working in jobs that use science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, but the proportion of women employed in such roles is less than 25%, according to the Central Statistics Office. Meanwhile, according to the Forfás Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, Irish companies will have an estimated 44,500 job openings for people with high-level ICT skills over the next six years. With female graduates making up just 16% of all engineering graduates in Ireland in 2013, Moran said that more women were needed to help address the skills shortage in the engineering, science and technology sectors.
‘Engineering Your Future: Women in Engineering’ took place at Dublin Castle. Some 245 second- and third-year students met women engineers from a variety of engineering backgrounds in multiple roundtable discussions.
The roundtable discussions followed a series of short talks by women engineers. “We must find ways of attracting young women as well as young men to join forces with us and tackle some of the world’s greatest issues,” said Moran. “As part of my term as president of Engineers Ireland, I’ll champion the schools, colleges and companies who are encouraging women to join the engineering world at any level.”
Also speaking at the event were Niamh Shaw, a performer, scientist and engineer; Laura Tobin, a PhD candidate in optical engineering at UCD; and identical twins Edel and Lourda Casserly, both chartered engineers working in industry. A parallel session for parents, teachers and guidance counsellors provided an opportunity to meet engineers from industry, academia and professional organisations, and to find out why there is a need for more women engineers, where skills gaps exist, the requirements for studying engineering and the access routes to third level.
The event was organised by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS team, who run a nationwide schools outreach programme promoting STEM careers to primary and post-primary students. More details of the event, along with biographies for the speakers, are available here.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2014/10/12/women-untapped-resource-irelands-engineering-sector/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/engineering-futures-6-1024x683.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/engineering-futures-6-300x300.jpgNewseducation,jobs,STEPS