Waterford transition years engineer their futures at WIT

Students from Newtown School who took part in the Engineering Your Future Programme at WIT

Students from Newtown School who took part in the Engineering Your Future Programme at WIT

Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) welcomed 40 Transition Year students to the Engineering Your Future (EYF) programme, a three-day, hands-on programme designed to give students a meaningful, practical insight into engineering at third level and as a career.
Students came from across Waterford to discover if engineering is the career path for them, with Transition Year students coming from Ard Scoil na Mara Tramore, Newtown School, De La Salle College, St Pauls Community College and St Augustine’s Dungarvan.
The programme is designed to introduce Transition Year students to the exciting and diverse world of engineering, and to help them gain an in-depth understanding of the diversity of engineering at third level and in industry. During the programme, students participated and enjoyed workshops on energy and building services; physics; mobile phones; electrical and electronic; architecture3D printing and materials testing, robotics and visit local factories Schivo and Nypro.
The annual Transition Year programme is supported by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme – a strategic partner of Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) Smart Futures initiative – and hosted by a number of third-level institutes throughout Ireland. Around 330 students attended EYF across Ireland in May.
Mary Doyle-Kent, Chartered Engineer and Programme Leader BEng in Manufacturing Engineering.
Department of Engineering Technology, Cork road, Waterford, Eire is the secretary of the South East division of Engineers Ireland and a Co-Coordinator of the Engineers Ireland EYF Programme at WIT.
She highlights the importance of introducing second-level students to the world of engineering at an early stage. “There is significant shortage of engineering graduates in the south east region of Ireland. In our region there are exciting opportunities in local companies,” she explains.
In particular, there are opportunities for female engineers whose skills sets are valued by engineering companies especially in the field of mechanical and manufacturing engineering.
“Historically female engineers count for only 3-10% of the engineering population. There seems to be a disconnect and second level students do not consider engineering as a potential career option. This is unfortunate as engineering can be an exciting, flexible and rewarding career that can be moulded into whatever field the person has an interest in. It can act as an international passport that can bring great rewards.”
“In WIT we reach out to our female engineering students by running regular informal coffee mornings. Here the female students can meet and create a network, share stories and enjoy a nice coffee and cake,” she explains.
Commenting on the Transition Year Programme, Caroline Spillane, Engineers Ireland Director General, said: “Engineers are involved in so many exciting and essential roles – they build cities, design medical devices, create entertainment products, maintain communications networks, and much, much more. Without the input of engineers, many great ideas would remain fixed in the imagination and never become a reality.”
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, said: “Transition Year can be a critical point in the education pathway to third-level education. It is important that we encourage and inspire these students to increase their knowledge and understanding of science and engineering, so that they feel empowered to consider further study in these disciplines. EYF is a practical and insightful programme for students.”
Engineering Your Future students are tracked over a number of years to monitor their educational and career journeys. 40% of students who took part in Engineering Your Future in 2014 are now studying engineering in their First Year in college, and 64% are studying STEM (science technology engineering or maths). 80% of students who took part said the EYF programme helped them decide on their CAO choices.

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