Brexit is likely to result in opportunities for the high-tech sector and the Atlantic University Alliance's modular diploma and degree programme in science and technology studies can be a gateway into this thriving area

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Brexit will have a profound impact on the Irish economy in a myriad of ways. With the UK leaving the single market, the likelihood of a ‘soft Brexit’ seems slim. About 37% of our exports (€7.5 billion) go to the UK and, while this figure has been growing steadily over the last ten years, this growth is likely to be disrupted with the Brexit.

There has been considerable interest within the City of London financial sector regarding moving operations to Dublin. While this could boost the economic turnover around the capital in the east, the rest of the country would not necessarily reap the benefits.

Julie Sinnamon

Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland chief executive (photo: Alan Betson/The Irish Times)

That said, according to Enterprise Ireland (EI), some 61% of jobs created in Ireland in 2016 were outside Dublin. EI announced plans for 145 trade events in Ireland and abroad ahead of the Brexit negotiations. EI chief executive Julie Sinnamon said that “as the UK takes a step closer [to Brexit], it is imperative that Irish companies build new and stronger trade links in international markets”.

The Enterprise Ireland plan includes measures to help increase exports through diversification of markets, building scale and innovation in products.

According to leading economist Prof Alan Ahearne of the Whitaker Institute, the Brexit ‘divorce’ negotiations will take at least two years, but trade deals will take considerably longer. In the meantime, it is possible that World Trade Organisation rules will apply to import from the UK and exports from Ireland.

While tariffs of up to 80% would apply on goods like chilled beef, some of the lowest rates apply to the information communications technology and medtech sectors – and this opens up opportunities for the high-tech sector.

One way to boost this kind of development is by ensuring a highly trained and innovative workforce, with the scope to forge ahead in the high-tech sector.

On 24 March, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton announced an increase in funding for training in the high-tech sectors through the Springboard+ scheme. “This year, we’re expanding the programme to homemakers, and those in employment in the biopharma/medtech sector to meet a specific emerging skills need. Given the success of this innovative programme to date, I’m hopeful that we’ll be in a position to expand the Springboard+ model in the years ahead.”

Programme in Science and Technology Studies


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The Programme in Science and Technology Studies was developed by academic staff in consultation with industry

In the context of the increased demand for level 7 and level 8 qualifications in the high-tech sector, the Atlantic University Alliance provides an innovative modular diploma and degree programme in science and technology studies.

This part-time programme is delivered using a combination of distance and online learning, as well as face-to-face tutorials, workshops and laboratory sessions that are normally held on Saturdays, in NUI Galway and the University of Limerick.

The Programme in Science and Technology Studies was developed by academic staff in consultation with industry, specifically to address current and future requirements of the high-tech sector. It offers a comprehensive range of traditional science, engineering and informatics subjects along with specialist modules so participants can focus on areas that are relevant to their career path.

The level 7 diploma (DST) is open to applicants over 21 who have a leaving certificate with maths. The flexibility of the modular course means that it can be completed in between two and four years. Entry into the degree cycle (BST) requires either the DST or a similar level 7 diploma.

Conscious of the many demands placed on adult learners from a work and family perspective, all of the courses were developed on a modular basis to provide manageable, bite-sized chunks of learning, enabling participants to combine work and family commitments with the demands of a programme of study. Payment is per module, on a semester-by-semester basis and, at €380 per module, it is an affordable option for anyone considering further education.

The degree cycle offers specialist streams in: Automation and Control, Medical Device Science, Lean and Quality Systems and Medical Device Science. These four streams are also available as stand-alone specialist diplomas, which can be completed in one year.

Company-based projects help participants to apply learning directly and immediately to the work-place and there is an emphasis on professional transferrable skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, decision-making, oral and communication, and team-work. The table below outlines the modules that are covered in both the diploma and degree cycle and the opportunity to specialise in one’s preferred area.

Career and funding opportunities


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CLICK TO ENLARGE The modules that are covered in both the diploma and degree cycle

People seeking to fast track their career or to move into management roles should consider the programme, which has been developed in order to address current and future requirements of the high tech sector.

Furthermore, it improves employability for those seeking a career in a variety of technology-rich industries, such a manufacturing, biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, medical and other precision devices.

There are scholarships that cover 30% of the course fees available to those in receipt of disability or unemployment benefit. Applications are being accepted from 1 April until Friday, 24 June. Demand is high so early application is recommended. For any queries you can call the programme administrator: Niamh McHugh, Centre for Adult Learning and Professional Development, EDU1016, Nuns’ Island, NUI Galway, Galway. T: +353 (0) 91 49 5845.

You will find detailed programme content, with an outline of all the modules on offer on the programme website www.aua.ie.

http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Ireland-Brexit-1024x683.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Ireland-Brexit-300x300.jpgDavid O'RiordanSponsorededucation,medtech
Brexit will have a profound impact on the Irish economy in a myriad of ways. With the UK leaving the single market, the likelihood of a ‘soft Brexit’ seems slim. About 37% of our exports (€7.5 billion) go to the UK and, while this figure has been growing steadily...