Mullingar Students ‘Experience Engineering’ with Midlands Science

Midlands Science teamed up with a range of local and national partners recently to host a special week of career workshops, hands on project work and inspirational talks from companies such as ORS, Robotics and Drives, Shay Murtagh, Waterways Ireland, Steripack, and Cpl resources. A number of transition year students from Coláiste Mhuire Mullingar participated in the week Experience Engineering which also focused on other various key learning aspects such as, CV preparation, interview skills and internship opportunities.

A primary objective for Midlands Science is the development and implementation of awareness-raising initiatives designed to increase science capital in the region. For this to succeed, there needs to be a more joined-up approach within the many sectors of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. This includes the sharing of expertise, participation in out-of-school science learning contexts, for example how often a young person participates in informal science learning contexts and continuing to highlight the message that STEM subjects are relevant for everyone. With this in mind, participants were briefed and given the opportunity to work  as part of a project team which involved planning ideas and looking at the diversity of the field and the types of engineers that would be needed for specific engineering projects.

John Brennan, Managing Director of ORS in Mullingar commented,

“Engineers and surveyors are in increasing demand in Ireland and a supply of talented graduates from both professions is fundamental for our social and economic future. ORS was delighted to support and participate in this innovative initiative to increase knowledge and understanding of the world of engineering and surveying and encourage more of our future generation to consider them as potential third level and career choices. By setting the students a hands-on challenge we hopefully encouraged them to really think about how vast engineering and surveying can be, to get creative and have fun while at the same time learn about how to find solutions to the many urban and environmental challenges that we face in society today.’

Science and engineering fields play an ever-increasing role in Ireland’s future within the global economy. Continued focus on education and training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will open doors to today’s students in jobs they might not yet have even heard of. Change is happening all around us at an alarming pace in workplaces, the economy and our everyday and most of this change is driven by developments in STEM.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said, ‘Through specially designed programmes like ‘Experience Engineering’  we are aiming to ensure that as many young people as possible understand the economic, cultural and environmental impact that engineering can have. We are most grateful to all of our partners who helped to make this programme so worthwhile and with their assistance and support, we hope to be in a position to continue to provide opportunities like this to more students around the region into the future focusing on other sectors. Pauline Nally, Business Development Executive with Midlands Science played a key role in the development of this pilot, based on feedback from students that they faced significant difficulties accessing STEM based work experiences which would help them to decide on college courses and careers for the future.’

Engineer’s Week at Killina Secondary School with NIS and AIT

Midlands Science was delighted to deliver a number of STEM career talks to school in the Midlands as part of the national Engineers Week celebrations. One talk which took place for a large number of students in Offaly was at Killina Secondary School in Rahan.

Dr Enda Fallon of Athlone Institite of Technology (AIT) spoke to students about Engineering courses and careers and Gerry Buckley of local network and infrastructure and support firm, NIS also presented on the day so that the young people could see it from both the corporate and academic side.

Guidance Counsellor at Killina Secondary School, Breda Mann said,

‘The staff at Killina Secondary School were pleased to work with Midlands Science during ‘Engineers Week’ to deliver some very interesting talks about the world of engineering to students in Co. Offaly. We believe that it is very important to demonstrate to students the vast diversity of both science and engineering in a practical and easy to understand manner and both speakers provided this opportunity for us on the day. We had Dr Enda Fallon from Athlone Institute of Technology and Gerry Buckley from local IT company, NIS. We will actively continue to encourage our students to consider the whole field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) and showing them how it impacts our lives on an everyday basis is a great way to do this.’

Promoting Engineering and Inspiring the Next Generation

Midlands Science teamed up with Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) and Mergon International to deliver an inspiring career talk at Colaiste Mhuire in Mullingar last week as part of national ‘Engineers Week’ celebrations. Senior technologist, Alan Mannion spoke to students about engineering career opportunities and course options available at AIT and Padraic McDonnell of Mergon International gave an insight into working in the engineering field, the diversity it offers and what it is like to work within this profession for a global company.

Aisling Nolan, General Manager of Mergon International said,

‘Mergon was delighted to join forces with local development company Midlands Science and Athlone Institute of Technology for Engineers Week 2018 which is a week-long festival of nationwide events celebrating the world of engineering in Ireland. It is extremely important for Mergon as an employer to provide the student population with inspiring experiences of engineering, as part of collective national quest to widen the pool of young people who will go on to join the profession in the future. We want our workshops to encourage young people to reflect, discuss and realise how they can be part of solutions needed for a vast number and diverse range of society’s challenges by becoming engineers. These workshops extend young people’s real-world understanding and it was wonderful to have this opportunity during Engineers Week ’

The annual Engineers Week event is coordinated on a national basis by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme which is funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover programme. Midlands Science together with industry and academic partners wanted to ensure that a focus was given to encouraging young people locally to take a closer look at engineering and demonstrate how far-reaching, creative and innovative engineering actually is as a sector.

Jackie Gorman, CEO of Midlands Science said,

“Ireland needs more future engineers so we really need more young people to understand what the world of engineering is all about, its impact and how widely it is used in the real world. Giving students the opportunity to talk directly to engineers and engage in hands-on activities that showcase and explain engineering is at the heart of Engineers Week and we were delighted to be able to facilitate events for some local schools here in the Midlands to help inspire the next generation of engineers.’

Dr. Attracta Foley, a Chartered Civil Engineer and Senior Civil Engineering Lecturer at AIT also provided a talk in Mullingar during Engineers Week and addressed some of the students at Loreto College.

Orla Thornton, Director of Marketing & Communications at AIT said,

‘Engineers Week is a great opportunity for AIT to collaborate with Midlands Science and our Industry partners in going out to schools within the midlands in order to showcase the best of what AIT offers in engineering. The week is a celebration of all things engineering and it is a wonderful opportunity to show young people the diverse opportunities and career paths that engineering offers and of course to encourage them to explore the world of engineering and in turn the range of programmes that the faculty of engineering and informatics offers potential students from apprenticeships, degrees right through to PhDs. As a nation we still have severe shortages in some engineering areas for example in construction related areas such as civil engineering and Quantity Surveying. Our programmes address these regional and national skills shortages and this week is a great opportunity for secondary school students to immerse themselves into the world of engineering and all that is offers across the areas of civil and construction engineering, electronics and informatics and mechanical and polymer. All of our programmes in AIT are practically applied and industry focused and the collaboration between our industry partners such as Mergon is a great opportunity to inspire a new generation of potential engineers who will shape, design, build and automate for the world of tomorrow.’