New Initiative will Increase Industry Focus of Engineering and Informatics Degree Programmes

At the announcement of the extension of NUI Galway’s Professional Experience Programme were members of the University’s College of Engineering and Informatics (l-r): Professor Gearoid O Laighin, Nora Murphy, Dr Bryan McCabe, Tom Fitzgerald, Annette Dolan, Dr Rory Monaghan, Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of the College of Engineering and Informatics, Dr Jim Duggan, Kathleen O’Connell, Dr Mike Madden, Dr Annette Harte and Dr Feargal Morgan.
Jun 29 2015 Posted: 09:52 IST

In a significant development for engineering education, following extensive consultation with industry partners, NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has announced that the duration of the Professional Experience Programme (PEP) will be extended to eight months.

The PEP involves students acquiring professional experience in their chosen speciality and will be applicable for the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) in Energy Systems Engineering, BE Electrical and Electronic Engineering, BE Electronic and Computer Engineering and BSc Computer Science and Information Technology degree programmes. This follows the successful implementation of the longer placement in the BE Mechanical Engineering and BE Biomedical Engineering.

Students will now undertake work-placement in leading local, national and international high-technology companies from January to August, starting in 2016.

NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics has very strong links with industry, both nationally and internationally, and the decision to extend the duration of PEP was made in response to the growing demand from industry for longer work-placement, providing students with a broader range of industry-relevant skills and dramatically increasing their employability upon graduation.

Increasing the duration of the work placement has been well received by companies. It affords students the opportunity to get involved deeper in the work they perform while on placement. Employers benefit by having a skilled student with them for longer which means that they can get students involved in larger projects and give them more responsibility. The PEP work-placement has been an integral part of these degree programmes for over twenty years. Commonly, upon completion of the PEP work-placement, students will continue to collaborate with their PEP employer through the industry-led research performed in their fourth year project.

Speaking about the announcement Dr Jim Browne, NUI Galway President, said: “This is a very positive development for our students, as well as for employers and ultimately the Irish economy. By enhancing the practical learning experience which our students gain through structured work placements, we help to give them a competitive edge in the jobs market and boost their employability. In addition, having a student on work placement can be a real advantage to companies, particularly small enterprises, who can develop new opportunities within their business through research projects and other initiatives.”

Professor Gerry Lyons, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics, said: “Our graduates are distinguished by their ability to adpat quickly to the professional work environment, wherever they work. Integrated workplace learning is a central feature of our undergraduate programmes in Engineering and Computing. Students have the opportunity to get significant work experience on an extended eight month PEP. While on PEP, the students also take online professional skill modules, delivered by the College. This enables us to enhance the professional work readiness of graduates, and allows our industry partners to participate directly in the training and evaluation of PEP students.”

Companies that are interested in finding out more information in relation to the PEP can contact Career Development Centre on 091 493646 or


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