Belfast Telegraph

More skilled engineers would boost exports

By Clare Weir

A lack of skilled engineers in Ireland is stifling investment plans and forcing firms to look abroad for staff, a conference in Belfast has been told.

One company here has said that potential export sales of tens of millions of pounds are at risk because of the shortage of qualified industry professionals.

Managing director of Dromone Engineering, William Egenton was speaking at the recent Engineers Ireland event at the Europa Hotel.

While Mr Egenton said Ireland had an "exceptional" track-record in manufacturing and engineering, more work needs to be done to keep talented engineers at home.

"I welcome the Government's renewed drive to promote the value of careers in technology and engineering in schools," he said. "However there is a clear time lag between this and actually producing engineers with the expertise to meet the expansion needs of a company like ours.

"This is a concern and forces us to look abroad for the right type of engineer. We need to recruit staff with the requisite skills.

John Power, director general of Engineers Ireland, added: "The theme that has emerged is that if Ireland is to continue to grow its export market we need to put the resources in place to fill the engineering vacancies."