As Waterford and the South East’s reputation as a hub for innovation and technology continues to rise, so too does the expectation around Toys4Engineers, which took place on Thursday last in WIT Arena.Having won Event of the Year at the Chambers Ireland Awards earlier this year, the team at Waterford Chamber, along with partners Waterford Institute of Technology and main sponsor Clem Jacob Hire, pulled out all the stops to improve the event again this year.
In addition to the Expo, which saw over 80 companies come from all over Ireland and the UK, new additions included CPD certified Masterclasses thanks to Waterford Chamber Skillnet, covering topics such as Energy Efficiency and Carbon Reduction with Crowley Carbon; Cobotics with Cobotics Skillnet; Better Planet Packaging with Smurfit Kappa and Additive Manufacturing with 3DWIT.
There was also a hugely successful Students Seminar, where a group of industry experts offered their thoughts on career paths, the opportunities in industry, internships and graduate programmes.The morning began with a Networking Breakfast compliments of Bank of Ireland and was shortly followed by the new ‘Meet the Buyer’ segment, sponsored by Waterford Local Enterprise Office.
According to Waterford Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley, ‘Meet The Buyer’ was a revelation for all concerned. “Over the past number of years, we were aware of contracts that came out of Toys4Engineers and we really wanted to maximise the opportunity for our exhibitors, so we approached a number of the local multi-national companies to come on board and thankfully they were more than willing.
“The seven companies, including Bausch + Lomb, Nypro, Cartamundi, West Pharma, Ball, Dawn Meats and Sanofi, met with 10 ‘sellers’ over a two hour period and the feedback has been fantastic. It gave the exhibitors the opportunity to pitch their business for ten minutes and we have been told that there will be a significant number of follow-ups in the weeks and months ahead.
“Ultimately, our role in the Chamber is to support our members and help them grow their business and Meet the Buyer was the perfect opportunity to do just that. We will certainly look at growing the offering again next year.“Networking, collaboration and sharing of knowledge is central to what Waterford Chamber is about. Toys4Engineers provides considerable opportunities for B2B networking, enabling companies to meet prospective customers, suppliers, collaborators or future employees.”
According to Dr Ken Thomas, Head of School of Engineering at WIT, Toys4Engineers confirms that Waterford and the wider region is increasingly a centre of excellence in terms of engineering, innovation and technology. He was hugely encouraged by the large attendance keen to consider a career within these sectors.“It is great to see so many young people finding out more about the high-tech toys being developed and used by engineers to make a better world. We are all aware of the skills shortages and terrific job opportunities, so it is really encouraging to see the next generation having a high level of interest. Our Students Seminar showed just how many good quality lives roles and opportunities there are available right now and with a fantastic quality of life also on offer, Waterford and the South-East is a great choice for advancing your career and getting that perfect work life balance.”
Main sponsor Clem Jacob said it was the ‘perfect playground’ for him. “This is our second year sponsoring Toys4Engineers and it’s just such good fun. We had a couple of very constructive Meet the Buyer meetings, had the opportunity to showcase our own toys and engage with so many of our customers and potential clients. It’s a great day out and something we are proud to be associated with.”
WLR’s Damien Tiernan was live from the event with thanks to Crystal Valley Tech, while Toys4Engineers was sponsored by Clem Jacob Hire and supported by the Engineering the South East, IDA, Enterprise Ireland, Waterford Local Enterprise Office, Waterford Chamber Skillnet and Cobotics Skillnet.