At the kick-off of this intensive afternoon session, our host Mr. Denis Kelly presented the latest developments at his ESB division regarding the strategic engineering capabilities. In order to map business strengths and capabilities, ESB developed a matrix to evaluate current needs and future challenges in terms of human capital (critical current > critical core > critical future). Which resources are currently present in the company and how does this match with future strategic directions? It was an inspiring lesson to learn more on the continuous alignment process between required skills and capacities of new hires on the one hand and strategic business decisions on future developments on the other.
In the following part of the session, the three PhD researchers of the PREFER team presented the interim results of the project to the ESB and Engineers Ireland team. We started with the most recent state of affairs of the professional role model (Sofie & Maarten), followed by the work of Darren on the test tool development. Finally, Mariana presented the most recently developed curriculum elements. The feedback received from all participants proved to be very useful to further refine our research activities.
The opportunity to engage in live in-depth discussion with industry partners of the consortium proved to be very valuable. It enables a better mutual understanding of what should be considered core and peripheral part of the contemporary engineering curriculum.
In the last part of the session, Mr. Damien Owens from Engineers Ireland presented the wide range of activities that Engineers Ireland is providing to its members (e.g., programme accreditation, employment services, CPD training, …). Damien also presented some very interesting findings of the most recent barometer of the engineering profession in Ireland. For example, 79% of the general public considers engineering a rewarding career choice for young people. This finding indicates that people generally favor the engineering profession. However, skills shortage is identified as an important treat by employers: 49% of the respondents expects an inadequate supply of engineers in the medium run. These findings provided more than enough food for thought for more in-depth discussions during the consortium dinner in the Dublin city Center. The consortium dinner was also attended by Prof. Mike Murphy, SEFI President and Director of Academic Affairs at TU Dublin.