Employers at ATU Careers Fair outline new job opportunities to tackle climate emergency, housing and infrastructure challenges
The shortage of built environment graduates will impact our ability to tackle the climate emergency and deliver critical housing and infrastructure. These were the views expressed by many employers and academics at a recent careers event hosted by Atlantic Technological University (ATU) Galway city.
Twenty-six employers from Ireland and the UK representing all sectors of the Built Environment attended the event to directly meet and talk to students from Architectural Technology, Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying degree programmes about new graduate opportunities and placement positions.
John Hanahoe, lecturer, ATU Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, Galway campus, says: “Many of the employers attending the event highlighted the shortage in suitably qualified graduates to work in all sectors of the built environment sector. Because of the shortage of graduates, the starting salaries and employment conditions for graduates have increased significantly to try to attract skilled professionals. A number of recent reports such as the “Expert Group on Future Skills (2021)” and AECOM annual report in 2022 cite labour shortages in the construction industry as a significant challenge in the future as the country tries to deliver the ambitious targets outlined in the National Development Plan and Climate Action Plan.”
A major shift in focus in built environment programmes in ATU Galway in the last decade is the focus on sustainability and tackling the climate emergency.
Dr Shane Newell, lecturer, ATU Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, Galway campus, says: “The built environment is responsible for approximately one-third of Ireland’s carbon emissions and therefore our graduates will have a significant role to play in combating this in the future as we transition towards a climate neutral economy by 2050. Our graduates in the built environment will be at the coalface tackling climate change and this makes it a very rewarding and exciting time to be entering the profession”.
In ATU Galway, all built environment degree programmes have an industrial placement in third year and this annual event gives ATU students excellent opportunities to speak directly to employers to discuss potential placement positions which are an important part of their undergraduate studies. Work placements enhance the student learning experience and ensure students have valuable experience prior to entering the workplace, and increases their employment prospects.
ATU Galway offers Ordinary Degree (Level 7) and Honours Degree (Level 8) programmes in Architectural Technology, Civil Engineering, Construction Management and Quantity Surveying.
For more details on these programmes in the ATU Dept of Building & Civil Engineering, see:
Representatives from companies in attendance shared their views:
Darragh Greenan (McAleer & Rushe) – “It was great to meet the next generation of construction professionals in person and engage with them directly on a personal level. It is important for us to understand the next generation’s perspective into a career in Construction and what they are looking for in a potential employer.”
Victor O’Shea (Sisk Contractors) – “We in John Sisk & Son Ltd take on a large number of Civil/Structural Engineers, Quantity Surveyors and Construction Managers every year and the Built Environment Careers Event was an ideal opportunity to meet the students and give them guidance and thoughts on their careers. Hopefully some ATU students will start their career journey with John Sisk & Son Ltd.”
Stephen Kelly (Atkins Group) – “We found the event to be an excellent opportunity to speak to students about the exciting design, engineering and project management opportunities available at Atkins. The event was well organised and we met some good intern and graduate candidates.”
Nicola Van Der Walt (Ryan Hanley Consulting Engineers) - “Ryan Hanley is of the opinion this is an exciting time for students to pursue a career in the Built Environment. There are currently record levels of investment projected in infrastructure projects in Ireland. Ryan Hanley is predicting a strong demand for graduates in the sector over the next couple of years. The Careers Networking Event at ATU provides an excellent opportunity for companies such as Ryan Hanley to showcase opportunities on our graduate programme for prospective graduates who wish to pursue a career in the Built Environment.”
Lisa Elliott (Shareridge Civil Engineering) – “The calibre and quality of students and graduates we met while exhibiting at the Careers Networking Event at ATU Galway was top class! Students were informed and knowledgeable in theory and practice and we very much look forward to engaging with these fantastic young people within our graduate and placement programmes. Congratulation to the ATU Built Environment Careers team and our thanks to all who took part.”
Miriam Lynch (Stewarts) – “I was really impressed with the students and their positive attitudes. They seemed very engaged and expressed real interest in our company and the industry in general. Some students had researched our company and were able to tell me the jobs/sites we had on at the moment, and they asked good questions. They were even familiar with previous jobs we had completed. I applaud lecturers and staff who organised this event. It shows the wonderful care and tutoring given to engineering students.”.