Cork: Where education and industry meet

Ireland is a country of entrepreneurial thinkers and a hub for the science and technology industries. Michael Loftus, from Cork Institute of Technology, discusses the opportunities for science and technology students in Cork.

Cork, Ireland’s second largest city, is noted as a centre of entrepreneurship, business development and employment generation. Many foreign investors have established significant locations in Cork, resulting in the creation of specialist clusters in the life sciences, information technology and agri-food sectors. Sixteen of the top twenty pharmaceutical companies in the world are now located in Ireland, with many of these in Cork.

In addition, Cork is the home of a vibrant IT industry and is a significant location for many of the world’s leading IT companies. Amongst others, the following companies all feature in the industrial landscape of Cork: Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, Apple Computers, Pepsi, VMware, Pfizer, EMC, Boston Scientific, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Zenith Technologies.

Industry in Cork is very supportive of students from the local colleges. Local companies provide work experience opportunities as part of the courses that students undertake and they also provide strong input into course design and development. In addition, many research opportunities are available for interested students in science, engineering and technology and many of these feature a significant industry involvement.

Cork: Where education and industry meet

“International students will find excellent professional opportunities in Cork, while also having the opportunity to explore the rich cultural and leisure facilities that the area has to offer”

[email protected], the representative association for IT businesses in the Cork region, has in excess of 280 corporate members. These member organisations vary in size, from the largest multinationals to smaller IT development and consultancy operations. Students in Cork are provided with free membership of [email protected] and have the opportunity to network with local businesses while undertaking their studies. In addition, Cork is home to large numbers of startup technology businesses, based in custom developed business incubation facilities at CIT’s Rubicon Centre (amongst the largest of its kind in Ireland), the National Software Centre and Web Works in the centre of Cork city. Many of these startups host students on work placements and give them the opportunity to experience technical development work and entrepreneurship first hand while studying.

To make the most of their educational experience in Cork, international students should become involved in the many clubs and societies organised by the local colleges, identify the local industry associations most suitable for their areas of interest and seek to join these, take full advantage of the work placement opportunities afforded them by local employers and engage with startup companies of relevance to their studies. Cork is a safe and welcoming city. International students will find excellent professional opportunities in Cork, while also having the opportunity to explore the rich cultural and leisure facilities that the area has to offer.

Written by Michael Loftus (2010)
Head of the Faculty of Science
Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland)

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