POINTS FOR SCIENCE, construction and tech-related courses have gone up this year.
Around 50,000 prospective college students are receiving offers for places today, with the Central Applications Office(CAO) figures showing that points have risen for construction studies, architecture, engineering, science and tech courses.
NUI Maynooth said there has been strong demand for ICT and specialist sciences courses at the college with the BSc in Computational Thinking at 520 points, 20 points up from last year, BSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry increasing by 35 points to 470 and the BSc in Astrophysics up 15 points to 455. Points for the BSc in Product Design have increased by 35 points to 365.
The increase in these courses reflects the increase of the science and tech industry in Ireland and is to be welcomed by companies that are experiencing a shortfall in suitable candidates.
A survey, carried out by Fastrack to IT (FIT), an initiative led by the technology industry in Ireland that provides those at risk of long-term unemployment with marketable technical skills, estimates that there are in excess of 4,500 immediate job vacancies in the IT sector in Ireland.
These are not being filled due to the severely limited supply of suitably skilled applicants, says the report.
Another industry that is seeing a return in confidence is the building sector. Facing near annihilation in the recession, the building sector is seeing a resurgence, with an increase in students wanting to study architecture, engineering and constructions studies.
UCD architecture saw one of the biggest points increase, rising by 25 points to 490. The course also rose in UCC by 20 points to 420 and in UL by 10 points to 385.
Engineering courses have also seen a boost with the Trinity College, DIT and UL course increasing by 5 points, while UCD saw an increase of 20 points to 495.
This is to be welcomed by Engineers Ireland who said there is an urgent need to promote careers in engineering and construction as demand outstrips supply.
Recruitment experts Hays recorded a 93% increase in the number of construction and property jobs on offer during the first six months of 2014, when compared with the same period last year.
Leinster is experiencing the greatest growth in new construction jobs with a 143% increase in those available and a 30% increase outside of Leinster.
Salaries in the sector are increasing but also at a much faster rate in Dublin than is the case nationally.
John Power, Chartered Engineer and Director General of Engineers Ireland said:
For many years the numbers of students opting for civil and construction engineering careers fell significantly, which is not surprising given the collapse of the property market.
At that time, many engineers in the construction sector went to work on overseas projects or moved into non-construction areas of engineering in Ireland, such as the energy and environment industry.
He said that according to ESRI figures, Ireland needs 90,000 more homes over the next seven years or 12,500 additional houses per annum up to 2021.
“There will also be a significant demand for commercial property in the years ahead,” he added.