Huge demand for engineering graduates


College careers officers are reporting huge demand for engineering graduates. This is borne out by the latest graduate surveys. A survey of 1996 graduates, which was carried out on April 30th, 1997, provides a fascinating snapshot of how these graduates fared in the marketplace.

Engineering Graduates

of engineering graduates in employment - over 70 per cent in all branches of engineering - reflecting the buoyant demand for engineers. This compares very favourably with 54 per cent of all graduates.

Of the electrical/electronic engineering graduates, 79 per cent were employed - 68 per cent at home and 11 per cent overseas. Sixteen per cent went on to research or further study. Two per cent were seeking employment (compared to an overall graduate unemployment rate of 3.6 per cent) and the remaining 3 per cent were not available for work or study.

Of the civil engineering graduates, 71 per cent of respondents were employed on the date of the survey while 24 per cent were in further study, training or research, and 4 per cent were seeking employment.

In other branches of engineering, a similar proportion, 71 per cent, were in employment, 21 per cent went to further study, training or research, while a slightly higher proportion, 4.5 per cent, were seeking work.

Cert And Diploma

AT national certificate level, the bulk of the engineering graduates, 64 per cent, went on to further study, while 28 per cent were in full-time employment and 3 per cent were seeking employment.

At diploma level, 44 per cent went on to further study - presumably to degree level - while 50 were employed full-time and 3 per cent were seeking employment. The low proportion of certificate and diploma graduates seeking employment (overall graduate unemployment was 3.6 per cent) is a reflection of the demand for people with these qualifications.

The high proportion of students going on to further study both at certificate and diploma level provides a good illustration of the well-trodden route from cert to diploma to degree.

Common-Entry Engineering Programmes

TCD, UCD and UG all offer common-entry engineering programmes which allow students time to make up their minds before they opt for a particular specialism.

In TCD students spend a common two years before deciding on one of the college's five specialisms: civil, structural and environmental engineering; mechanical and manufacturing engineering; electronic engineering; computer engineering; electronic and computer engineering (joint programme). There is no quota system in operation so students know that once they secure a place in first year they are guaranteed a place in third year in the specialism of their choice.

Both UG (which has just introduced the common-entry programme) and UCD operate quota systems so students have to compete for places after a common first year. UCD offers specialisms in agricultural and food engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, electronic and electrical engineering and mechanical engineering. Chemical engineering is on offer only in UCD and CIT, which operates a direct-entry programme.

UG offers specialisms in civil engineering, electronic engineering, industrial engineering and information systems, mechanical engineering, electronic and computer engineering and management engineering with a language.

UCD also offers a bachelor of agricultural science in engineering technology, which is intended to address a niche in the market between the professional engineer and the agricultural and food scientist. Candidates apply to UCD's common-entry agricultural science degree (course code DN010).

DIT Bolton Street offers a common-entry programme which allows students to specialise in building services, mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering and structural engineering.

Direct Entry Programmes

There is a wide variety of direct-entry engineering programmes on offer, from electrical to electronic to electromechanical to civil to industrial to food engineering . . . The following is a sample of just some of these programmes. Students with a serious interest in engineering should read the college prospectuses - almost all colleges offer engineering.

Mineral Engineering

Athlone RTC, which offers the only mineral engineering programme in the Republic, reports good job prospects for students. There are opportunities to transfer to degree programmes in British universities for graduates who reach the required standard in the college's national diploma. Most students progress to degree.

Polymer Engineering

Another unique offering from Athlone RTC. The college is anxious to recruit students into its degree programme, which offers excellent employment opportunities.

Chemical Engineering

CIT offers the only direct-entry chemical engineering programme in the Republic. Chemical engineering is also available through UCD's common-entry engineering programme while UL offers an industrial engineering programme which includes a fair amount of process engineering.

The job scene is very good for chemical engineers. Ireland has a stable chemical industry and chemical engineers can also find work in a variety of other areas such as food processing, brewing, distilling, oil exploration and waste minimisation.

Food Process Engineering

UCC'S food process engineering degree is offered jointly by the faculties of engineering and food science and technology. Students will learn about the design and implementation of processes and equipment for the conversion of raw materials into food ingredients and consumer-ready foods.

Mechanical Engineering With A Language

Ms Mary Sweeney, careers officer in UL, says there is a huge demand for mechanical engineers. Most manufacturing firms would have mechanical engineering requirements. Last year, the college introduced a new programme - mechanical engineering with a language, which proved very popular with school-leavers. Points soared to 530.

B Eng/M Eng In Electronic Systems

DCU introduced this innovative five-year programme in 1996. Students spend the first four years in DCU studying engineering, business and a language while the fifth year is spent in a European engineering school. Graduates receive a B Eng at the end of the four years and an M Eng on successful completion of fifth year.

Mechatronic Engineering

DCU offers a degree in mechatronics, which essentially combines electrical and mechanical engineering with computer controls. This year, Athlone RTC is also offering a diploma in mechatronics, and Dr Eliathamby Amibikairajah, head of Athlone's school of engineering, anticipates a big demand for the multi-skilled graduates that this course will produce.

No Higher-Level Maths

All ab-initio engineering degree programmes require maths at higher level in the Leaving Certificate. However, students who take ordinary-level maths can still work their way towards a degree if they go the certificate, diploma, degree route.

Students Taking Biology

Students seeking places on UL's bachelor of engineering programmes (computer, electronic, mechanical, production, industrial, aeronautical) should be pleased to find that the college's list of required Leaving Certificate science subjects has been expanded to include biology and agricultural science. This should make the programme more accessible to girls, according to the admissions officer.

Prospective engineering students at UL now need a higherlevel grade C3 in maths and an ordinary-level D3 in any one of the following science subjects: physics, chemistry, physics/ chemistry, engineering, technical drawing, biology or agricultural science.

Reminder Of USI CAO Day

Tomorrow USI will hold a series of open sessions in 12 centres around the State, aimed at students filling out their CAO forms. Tel: (01) 671 0088 for more information

Mature Students And NCAD

Mature students applying for the college's first-year core programme, which is not offered through the CAO, should note that the closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, January 30th. Apply directly to the college.

Additional reporting by Catherine Foley