Sunday, February 13, 2011

Engineer's Week

This week is Engineer's Week; to mark the occasion we have a special blog post from Larry McNutt, Head of Informatics and Engineering at ITB.

Let me start by posing a question – well three questions in fact:

Question 1: Name three Irish sports personalities?

Question 2: Name three Irish politicians?

Question 3: Name three Irish engineers?

If you found Question 3 a bit of a struggle – don’t be surprised. The names of famous engineers and scientist don’t readily come to mind for most people. But if you Google them (now that was a useful invention!) you will find many examples of past and present Irish stars on the engineering stage.

Unfortunately we seem to have fallen out of love with engineering and science as a chosen career over the past few years.

This has lead to a shortage of qualified engineers and scientists worldwide:

Even though we live and breath in an engineered world – from transport, communications, food and drink, energy and entertainment to name but a few…our desire to create and invent has been relegated in favour of other areas. James Dyson (or Sir James Dyson to give his correct title) has been expressing his concern recently in the British press:

In 2008, Britain produced only 20,000 engineering graduates, compared with 33,000 social studies and 45,000 business and administration graduates.

I don’t want to discourage young people from pursuing their interests. But I worry we’re actively putting them off engineering and science. The best and brightest are too often channelled elsewhere, lured in by the salaries of the Square Mile. Perhaps it would help if more people knew that the earning potential of an engineering graduate is second only to a doctor.”

So how do we re-kindle the love affair between Irish students and the world of engineering and science?

A celebration of the opportunities and potential of an engineering career seems a good starting place – launched on St. Valentine’s Day to woo those CAO students who are wondering should they take the plunge and also an acknowledgement of the achievements of those engineers who did and continue to change the world we live in…..

Engineers Week is here – starting today 14th February with over 140 events all over the country. So check it out! at

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