Technological university consortium join forces to run South East Engineering Festival

February 2021
Technological university consortium join forces to run South East Engineering Festival

As part of the national Engineers Week organised by Engineers Ireland, Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and Institute of Technology Carlow (IT Carlow) have joined forces to run the South East Engineering Festival. The institutes are working together to create a technological university.

The festival, which runs from 1-5 March will feature events for primary school children, secondary school students, events for schools and events for the public. Engineer, performer, writer and Ireland’s leading space communicator, Dr Niamh Shaw is also one of the speakers.

In addition, to support learning at home 2,000 engineering kits have been sent out to disadvantaged and special schools in the region.

The South East Engineering Festival, run in association with Engineers Ireland South East Region and Engineering the South East industry cluster hopes to highlight engineering futures to parents, and attract school students to study at the proposed technological university.

As preparations continue for the technological university consortia to submit its application in April, the engineers of the future will get an insight into the world of opportunity on offer to them. Creativity and innovation are key skills in engineering and the activities have been designed carefully by a team of experts to promote creativity, imagination and innovation.

Eoin Gill, Director of Calmast, the STEM engagement centre at WIT said: “The idea of the South East Engineering Festival is that people in the south east of Ireland can learn what engineers do. There are many great jobs in engineering in the region and you can learn to be an engineer at the new technological university. We are particularly keen to challenge the gender stereotypes about what boys and girls should and shouldn’t be interested in.”

Shane Murray of the Department of Built Environment at IT Carlow sums up what engineers do: “Engineers design complicated things that make our everyday lives easy. Engineers then lead teams to build and make these things. The sort of things that engineers design are buildings, bridges, roads, water supplies, electricity supplies, mobile phones, computers and much more. Engineers are also working to find solutions to many of the world’s big challenges such as climate change and energy, water and food supply.

Engineer, performer, writer and Ireland’s leading space communicator, Dr Niamh Shaw will lead two events highlighting the opportunities for young people in engineering on Tuesday 2 March. The first of these sessions will feature an all-female panel of young engineers who hope to show girls in the region that they should consider engineering when choosing a career path.

Transition Year pupils have missed out on a lot of normal activity, so there are two special activities for them. The Sustainability Challenge will see teams get creative and find sustainable solutions for scenarios in the developing world. Budding bridge designers will have a chance to prove their engineering skills in a competition where computer gaming meets computer aided design.

Creativity will be stimulated in primary schools with a range of activities. Shandra McCloskey an American children’s author and illustrator will present for children aged 8 to 11. She writes book encouraging children’s imagination and curiosity. Doll-E 1.0 is about a young girl with a knack for anything technological and T-Bone the Drone is about a young boy who gains acceptance though is interest in technology. Canadian author, Ashley Spires will speak to children from 5 to 7 years of age about her book The Most Magnificent Thing. She will explain where her ideas some from and how to create the drawings.

Adults are also included: on Monday 1 March at 5pm there will be an online presentation and discussion celebrating the engineering achievements in landing the Perseverance Rover on our nearest neighbour. Niamh Shaw will be joined by Dr Mary Bourke (TCD), Kevin Nolan (TUD) and John O’Donoghue (Enbio) to explore Mars The New Frontier.

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