Industry leaders unite to inspire future STEM talent pipeline
26 February 2019
With over 94% of engineering employers in Ireland reporting skills shortages as the main barrier to growth within the engineering sector, Engineers Ireland has today announced a strategic partnership with industry leaders Intel, ESB, Arup and Transport Infrastructure Ireland to inspire and engage future generations of STEM talent in Ireland.
The strategic partnership aims to promote enthusiasm and interest in engineering as a future career amongst primary and second level pupils through the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme. STEPS is the only national full-time STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) outreach programme with a focus on engineering. The partnership’s first call-to-arms is for Engineers Week 2019, a core initiative of STEPS, with the Irish public encouraged to explore the dynamic and exciting world of Irish engineering across Engineers Week, which kicks off this Saturday, March 2.
Commenting on the new partnership, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, said: “Many of the core engineering traits and behaviours – curiosity, exploration, creativity, problem-solving, collaboration – overlap with the principles of early childhood education. Through our strategic partnership with Ireland’s leading engineering employers, we can further work together through the STEPS programme to help spark children’s imaginations about STEM and to provide them with role models and real-world opportunities to engage with the engineering community.”
With recent reports of college drop-outs rates in the sector, Ms Spillane also added: “We estimate that over 6,000 new jobs will be created in the engineering sector this year, so it is absolutely crucial that industry works with the education sector to make technical areas like engineering appealing and stimulating to our students right across the education spectrum. Once we have students in at 3rd level, we need to work to keep them there and we need to retain that student awareness, interest and certainty. And it is also vital that we bring attention at the industry level, to the fact that engineering skills and a successful career in the area can also be built through technical apprenticeships and other routes to talent development.”
The challenge of technical courses
Ms Spillane’s comments come following the recent Higher Education Authority findings that many third-level students are finding it hard to complete certain technical courses.
Speaking at the launch of Engineers Week 2019, Ann-Marie Holmes, Vice President of Intel’s Manufacturing and Operations Group and Factory Manager at Fab24, said: “At Intel we look for people with a broad range of technical backgrounds including engineering. We look forward to Engineers Week 2019 and to working closely with Engineers Ireland to further boost the pipeline of STEM skills that are so important to the Irish economy and indeed broader society. Engineering is one of the most dynamic and exciting professions around, and our job in industry is to bring this to life by engaging students right across the different phases of education and showcasing the limitless possibilities of a career in this area.”
Jill O’Donnell, Telecommunications Engineer and STEPS Committee Leader at ESB, said: “It is vital Ireland has a ready supply of engineering skills to support critical infrastructural development across areas such as transport, education, sports, health, water, energy and the digital economy amongst others. That’s why Engineers Week is so important and why ESB is proud to partner with Engineers Ireland and other organisations in encouraging young people to explore the dynamic world of modern engineering and its role in creating a brighter future for all.”
Donal McDaid, Director and Infrastructure Group Leader at Arup Ireland, said: “We’re delighted to be working with other businesses and Engineers Ireland to highlight the vital contribution that engineers make to our society. Engineers Week has become an integral part of the annual engineering calendar and plays an important role in encouraging young people to imagine the impossible. We then get to show the students how engineers are invariably the ones turning the impossible into reality. As a company immersed in exciting projects across Ireland and around the world, a reliable talent stream of engineers entering industry and joining our operations is essential to Arup.”
Fergal Cahill, Senior Engineer, Structures Engineering & Asset Management at Transport Infrastructure Ireland, said: “Raising the profile of the engineering profession is important to us as the role of rigorously-trained, qualified engineers to the future of Ireland’s sustainable transport network cannot be over-stated. They design and build the high-quality transport infrastructure and services that underpin our future prosperity and improve the quality of life for communities. We look forward to Engineers Week 2019 and the opportunity it provides young people to explore the creative, contemporary world of engineering.”
Engineers Week starts on 2 March
Engineers Ireland is encouraging engineering companies and industry all over Ireland to engage with their communities and hosts events large or small to showcase the profession over the course of Engineers Week 2019, which runs until Friday, March 8.
Now in its 13th year, Engineers Week is an annual campaign to inspire the next generation of engineers and excite students about the possibilities a career in engineering can offer. With hundreds of events already confirmed for the week, the event is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme – funded as a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme Call.
To find out more about events taking place around the country or to register an event visit www.engineersweek.ie. As well as events organised by companies, third-level institutions and the public sector, teachers are also encouraged to run their own classroom-based activities, quizzes and competitions.http://www.engineersjournal.ie/2019/02/26/industry-leaders-unite-to-inspire-future-stem-talent-pipeline/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/stem.pnghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/stem-300x300.pngNewsEngineers Ireland,Intel Ireland,STEM