Engineering Skillnet launched to address skills shortages in the engineering sector

May 19, 2021

The Irish Engineering industry has grown by 15% to €8bn (2018) in exports and employs 46,000 across 1,200 businesses;  
Evidence of a skills gap in the sector with 83% of engineering companies experiencing a shortage of critical skills;
Engineering Skillnet to bridge skills gap in critical thinking, computer numerical control machining, and robotic welding.

The Ibec Engineering Network and Skillnet Ireland have today announced the launch of a new Engineering Skillnet Business Network to meet the skills needs of the growing sector which already employs 46,000 people across 1,200 businesses. 

Ibec’s Engineering network represents both FDI multinationals and home-grown businesses which serve a broad range of industries such as automotive, aviation, energy and environment, construction, agriculture as well as the sub supply sectors. The Engineering Skillnet will tackle an increasingly acute skills shortage in the engineering sector, with a recent Ibec Engineering Network Skills Survey revealing more than 83% of firms are facing skills shortages. 

Head of the Ibec Engineering Network, Pauline O’Flanagan said: “The engineered products and sub supply sector is growing, with exports of €8 billion annually. Our vision is to build on this success by enhancing Ireland’s dynamic engineering hub to help companies collaborate with access to world class research centres and business supports to innovate and grow. To drive this, we need the right talent. Nearly 200 companies participated in the recent Ibec Engineering Network Skills Survey which revealed the skills challenges companies are facing, particularly in key areas such as computer numerical control machining (89%), computer-aided design (95%), data analytics and statistical process control (64.5%), and management training (95%).”

Speaking at the launch, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive, Paul Healy said: “More than 90% of engineering leaders have reported skills shortages as a barrier to growing their business. We are delighted to partner with the Ibec Engineering Group to introduce the new Engineering Skillnet Business Network, which will play a pivotal role in addressing talent shortages, in developing specialised skills and in facilitating the further growth of Ireland’s engineering sector.”
The Ibec Engineering Network members are at the forefront of the climate challenge, delivering innovation in technologies to support renewable energies, including new strides in wind energy, developing more efficient ways to charge electric cars, and enhancing the use of biofuels in boilers. 

The Engineering Skillnet is already delivering targeted programmes such as critical thinking to equip Engineers with fundamental skills to solve problems and drive change and in the implementation of ISO management standards and CE marking of products. 

Members of the Engineering Skillnet include the Electrical Industries Federation of Ireland and the Irish Association of Steel Fabricators. Through this collaborative approach, companies will benefit from industry-led training to develop world-class talent to help the sector achieve its potential and keep pace with ongoing technological advancements in a changing regulatory environment.