Engineering, economic development and job creation

Ireland cannot fill 1,200 job vacancies in the biomedical sector, according to publicity released by Engineers Ireland ahead of their annual conference last week.

The statement from John Power, Director General of the professional body, described how there are currently 1,200 unfilled engineering vacancies across Ireland in the pharmaceutical and biomedical sectors: ‘in a country that has over 430,000 people unemployed this is a remarkable figure’.

The conference itself continued the discussion on the role of engineering in the economy under the optimistic title ‘Engineering New Wealth for Ireland’.

Economist David McWilliams’ comments on ‘Working with Ireland’s Economic Reality’ went down particularly well with the 260 engineers present, judging by the conference’s Twitter stream. He is quoted as saying: ‘Engineers are prepared to fail as well as succeed… every wealthy country has engineers at its centre.’

Frank Ryan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland, spoke on ‘Options for an Export Led Recovery’ and listed many examples of Irish engineering companies that are leading in world markets.

There were strong voices too from Aer Lingus Chief Executive Christoph Mueller, speaking on the importance of valuing skilled craftsmen, from Dermot Byrne of Eirgrid on the opportunities for energy export in the next decade, and from Pat Cox, former President of the European Parliament, talking of the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship.

And there is a good basis for engineers to see themselves at the centre of job creation: engineering is one of the top three sectors for graduate job vacancies on

The conference was open to Engineers Ireland student members as well as experienced professionals, and if you’re an engineering student it’s worth checking out other benefits of student membership to see how they might help your own career.

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