Francis O' Toole Author – Careers Ireland

Students' embarking on their career journey – Is Féidir linn

  • August 2019
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Electrical Engineers

The following engineering skills have been reported as difficult to source: chemical (process safety), design and development (pharmaceuticals, medical devices, food etc.), electrical (power generation, high voltage), electronic (printed circuit board (PCB) microchip), planning and quality control (standards compliance, validation), mechanical (renewable energy) and production (process automation and Six Sigma). The demand for engineering skills is expected to be driven by a number of factors. The strong performance of the high technology manufacturing sector is expected to continue to drive the economy out of recession with engineering skills being one of the key enablers of this growth. For example, a significant number of jobs for engineering skills in the areas of transport equipment manufacturing, medical devices and electronic equipment, machinery and equipment manufacturing, the manufacture of rubber and plastic, spanning managerial, professional, technician and craft (e.g. metal working production and maintenance fitters) levels have been announced by the IDA. Global competition and the need to reduce the costs of manufacturing through process automation, the implementation of lean manufacturing and Six Sigma principles, increased efficiencies, and material, product and process innovation, will drive job creation in high level engineering skills. Changes in the regulatory environment are expected to enhance the demand for engineers with expertise in regulatory standards (e.g. safety), quality control and validation. Rising concerns about the sustainability of energy supply is driving investment in improvements in the generation, transmission and efficiency of energy production, and the rise of renewable energy technologies are expected to impact positively on the demand for engineering skills (mechanical, electrical, electronic etc.). In particular, engineering skills are expected to be needed for the installation, servicing and maintenance of renewable energy installations; the development of international interconnector and a national grid connection system that is capable of incorporating a range of small-scale renewable power supplies; the development and installation of smart network technologies including smart metering etc. The demand for these skills is reflected in the recent job announcements by Shell and Wind Energy Direct. (Note: Unless otherwise stated these comments are based on the findings published in the National Skills Bulletin 2011.)

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