Attracting women to engineering and harnessing the convergence of technology and engineering are the two big challenges facing the engineering profession today, Regina Moran, President of Engineers Ireland and CEO of Fujitsu (Ireland) told a packed auditorium of engineering and technology students at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) today.
Ms Moran, who’s an Electronic Engineering graduate from WIT, went on to explain that “women remain a great untapped resource in our profession. We must find ways of attracting girls and boys to join forces with us and tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges”.
“The numbers of women working in engineering roles is still far too small with only 8 per cent of Engineers Ireland membership being female,” she said. “However, there are some positive signals and more women are now choosing engineering and recognise the variety of opportunities available to them in critical areas such as technology, energy and life-sciences.”
Ms Moran points out that there are other challenges, and opportunities, for engineering and none more so than the convergence between all forms of engineering and technology. “You cannot design a bridge without technology, and you cannot design a smart phone without engineering”, she explains.
“It’s an exciting time to be an engineer as technology and engineering impacts upon our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago. In 2013, 10 billion devices were connected to the interest. We expect this to reach 50 billion by 2020. The Internet of Things, our hyper-connected world, Big Data are just some of the trends that will impact on engineering and will affect how we as engineers come together to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. If we are to leverage all this potential, we will need many more highly skilled engineers, both men and women.”
Dr Ken Thomas, Head of the School of Engineering at WIT said that “Regina’s talk was truly inspirational and her passion to ensure that engineers in Ireland remain at the cutting edge of technological developments is very evident and very welcome.
“The School of Engineering works closely with Engineers Ireland to attract more students into all engineering disciplines and to ensure we deliver quality students to the market through our accredited programmes. It’s very important to us that our courses are connected to market needs and that our graduates can contribute in a significant way within their roles and we work directly with industry in developing a portfolio of full and part-time programmes up to post-doctoral level to meet those needs.”
Ms Moran was in Waterford promoting engineering to schools and college students ahead of Engineers Week which starts on Monday. Engineers Week involves over 500 educational and interactive events taking place across the island of Ireland. For more information, visit www.engineersweek.ie. WIT is also running events during Engineers Week. See www.wit.ie/engineersweek2015.
For more information on engineering programmes at WIT, visit www.wit.ie/engineering.