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Women urged to apply for construction courses to help “critical” graduate shortage

It is claimed that there will be a “substantial” lack of graduates in building-related sectors

Societies in the construction sector are trying to get more women out on building sites
Societies in the construction sector are trying to get more women out on building sites
Image: Shutterstock/Goodluz

WOMEN SHOULD APPLY for construction courses to help plug a “critical” lack of graduates in the sector, according to several building experts.

The chief executives of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI), Engineers Ireland and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) said, based on current estimates, there will be a “substantial” lack of engineering and surveying graduates to meet the predicted demand for the construction sector in the coming years.

They encouraged more women to apply for courses in the sector, although director-general of the SCSI Patricia Byron said she is not looking for females to be favoured.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie she said:

It needs to be the best person for the job, but Leaving Cert results show that women perform about as well as men in science and maths, so if the results are about as good there should be a similar number of women compared to men.

Byron said that based on an estimate of 3% economic growth annually until up to December 2019, “over 2,000 new jobs are expected to be created across the surveying profession, split evenly across construction and property roles”.

The SCSI estimates that there are currently about 1,000 people graduating a year from courses that lead into surveying. “(It is) only enough graduates to fill half of those positions,” Byron said.

Lack of gender diversity

Engineers Ireland director-general Caroline Spillane said that in 2017 only 38 civil engineers will graduate in Ireland, despite a need for “civil, electrical, technological and construction-related engineering skills”.

She added there is a lack of gender diversity in engineering and technology degrees, saying:

Despite engineers being renowned for their innovation, ingenuity and problem-solving skills, the profession still has to overcome its long-standing challenge of attracting and retaining female engineers.

ACEI secretary General Sarah Ingle echoed her call for more women to participate in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

“There is currently a huge shortage of graduates entering the now growing construction industry in Ireland which contains a wide variety of career prospects. We would like to particularly encourage young women to enter this exciting field,” she said.

According to the most recent statistics available, as of March 2015 there were 2,506 women enrolled in full time undergraduate engineering, manufacturing or construction courses at Higher Education Authority-funded institutions. This compared to 14,215 men enrolled in courses in the same area.

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