This month, on behalf of the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre published the NI Skills Barometer. The report examines the sectors in Northern Ireland most in demand of skilled workers, with civil engineering having the second highest undersupply of people.
"The report is an affirmation of what we have heard anecdotally for some time. It is further reinforcement of our Education & Inspiration initiative, which aims to recruit the next generation of civil engineers and fill this skills gap," said Richard Kirk, Regional Director of ICE Northern Ireland.
"ICE is developing an apprenticeship which will launch next year to provide young people with an alternative path to become a civil engineer – one which sees them employed at 16, without educational debt and with a professional qualification. We will continue to work with DEL to ensure that this report influences the Northern Ireland government to support our efforts with strategic policies and investment."
The skills barometer project began in order to estimate future skill needs by level, sector and subject area. The publishers intend for the report to influence the forthcoming Programme for Government and future NI Executive economic strategies through its recommendations for government priorities.
The report found that at levels NQF L4-5 (Foundation Degree) and 6+ (BEng & MEng), there was a significant undersupply in engineering, science and mathematics. Civil engineering ranked first for the most undersupplied Engineering and Mathematics NQF 6+ area. Furthermore, after computer science, civil engineering was the second-most undersupplied skills area of all sectors at the NQF 6+ level.