Government Ramping Up Activities To Stave Off Skills Shortage In Construction

CAO applications for construction related courses have increase in this year’s Leaving Certificate.  Architecture and engineering courses saw an increase in interest by students of 13%, and other construction related courses saw an increase of approximately 8%.

Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) stated:  “The Irish economy depends on the construction sector to build the homes, offices spaces, and infrastructure required by businesses across the country. Any sign of demand for more construction work can be directly correlated to an increase of general economic activity. We are engaging with Solas and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation to ensure there is a regular stream of skilled people to maintain the infrastructure, housing, commercial and FDI building that will sustain economic growth and shape Ireland over the next decade.  Students are acutely aware of this fact, and are keen to be in a position where they can gain meaningful, stable employment once they leave 3rd level education.  A graduate civil engineer in Ireland can expect a salary of around €28,000. This will rise to up to €50,000 with 6-9 years’ experience. A junior quantity surveyor is looking at a salary in the region of €35,000 and that will rise to €50,000 with 10 years’ experience.”


“A student graduating from a construction related discipline has a lot to look forward to upon finishing 3rd level and we want to ensure that they have a choice to remain in Ireland or experience a work stint abroad.  Construction work is a passport to a great career.  At the moment, Irish construction companies are building specialist buildings, infrastructure and homes here and across the globe.   As the Irish economic recovery continues, it goes hand in hand with a demand for new construction projects. High-end residential units, commercial offices, and healthcare labs are the most dynamic areas we’re seeing at the moment. These companies are increasingly seeking people in managerial, communications, finance and operations.  Increasingly, the skills you gain while working in a trade or in the industry in Ireland are globally transferable.  A huge amount our members have the expertise and are building fantastic buildings and infrastructure in the UK, across the EU, Africa and the Far East.


Here at home, we’re building the future economy of Ireland and our world-class construction skills are a major draw for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies looking for new locations. A new data centre for facebook is being built by Irish construction companies in Meath, and Bristol- Myers Squibb are constructing a new state-of-the-art, large-scale biologics manufacturing facility in Dublin. Thanks to this top-class construction, the new plant will produce multiple life-saving therapies for the company’s global market.”


The CIF also warned of a looming skills shortage if the Government do not implement the right educational and training policy framework urgently. Mr Parlon stated: “While the increase in course application is great news, more needs to be done by our industry, by the Government, and by related training and educational boards to ensure that graduates are skilled correctly to meet the needs of the industry in Ireland.  Recently we have seen unprecedented hiring activity, particularly for architects and property workers.  The CIF will shortly begin a campaign aimed at the diaspora to come home to work in construction jobs in Ireland, and in our upcoming pre-Budget submission, we have outlined a number of policy initiatives which we believe the Department of Education, and the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation should undertake in order to skill construction graduates accordingly. We will also launch a major skills forecast and policy document in the coming months in addition to our vision for how the industry will shape a sustainable economy with vibrant communities and world class housing and infrastructure for Ireland up to 2027.”


For students seeking an alternative that what is on offer from the CAO, the CIF have established a first of its kind website, www.apprentices.iewhere students are employers can be matched according to needs and interests.

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