Science Week which promotes an interest in science and technology took place this week and was marked by a number of events around the country.
The Midlands of Ireland hosted a unique event for transition students from Offaly and Westmeath focussing on careers in science and technology. This event was facilitated by development agency Atlantic Corridor, which has developed a wide range of international links for the region in science and technology education.
Almost 200 students from Gallen Community School, Ferbane and Athlone Community College participated in a workshop which gave an insight into careers in science and technology in sectors as diverse as renewable energy, software development and aerospace and engineering. The students also participated in animated discussions on careers and subject choices with CPL Resources plc, Ireland’s leading recruitment company which has a particular expertise in science and technology recruitment.
Deputy Marcella Corcorcan Kennedy, TD made some opening remarks at the event and commented, “ I am delighted to be associated with this celebration of Science Week hosted by Atlantic Corridor. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the sciences in all our lives and the potential it has for education and employment for our young people. It is also an opportunity to reflect on our scientific heritage and to appreciate the endeavours of people such as Mary King from Ballylin, John Joly from Bracknagh, George Johnstone Stoney from Clareen and of course the Parsons family from Birr who made significant contributions to science and engineering over approximately 150 years ago.”
Speakers at the Atlantic Corridor Science Week event included Heather Laurie of Mainstream Renewable Power who have recently established an operation in the Midlands region. She spoke about her enthusiasm to share her love of her work and career path.
“Being a female engineer and working in a pioneering renewable energy company like Mainstream is a very exciting. Every day we’re looking for new ways of doing things so I really get to use my creative side, which I love. I would say, if you’re looking for a career which is fast-moving, exciting and where your ideas really count, engineering in the renewable energy sector is the place to be. And with huge renewable energy projects such as Mainstream’s Energy Bridge coming on track in the next three to four years, Ireland is going to need lots more young, talented engineers who want to make a real difference. I certainly feel I am. ”
Other speakers include Senan Coffey of Swedish Communications Company Ericsson who have a substantial presence in the Midlands region since the early 1970’s. Ericsson is a world-leading provider of telecommunications equipment and related services to mobile and fixed network operators globally. Over 1,000 networks in more than 175 countries utilize Ericsson network equipment and 40 percent of all mobile calls are made through Ericsson systems.
Senan Coffey commented, “science and technology are all about where the world is going, what kind of future we will be able to shape, it’s great to be working as part of that.”
Georgia Tech is one of the world’s most renowned engineering universities based in Atlanta. It has an applied research facility based in the Irish Midlands. Dr Krish Ahuja, Regents Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech in Atlanta gave an inspiring talk about his journey into a career in aerospace research. He described how a boy from a home with no electricity in India stumbled into aerospace research through curiousity, sincerity, hard work and a love for thoroughness.
He provided a unique prize for a raffle that took place among the students on the day. The prize was a coin provided by NASA which is engraved to reflect the fact that coin contains metal parts which were flown to the Moon as part of the Apollo Space Missions. The lucky winner was Joseph Egan from Gallen Community School, Ferbane.
Judith Moffett, Manager of Science & Technical Engineering for CPL Resources plc remarked, “the science and engineering job market in general is improving, albeit there is still redundancies occurring. This year we have seen an increase in demand for specialist roles in the pharma, biotech, medical device, manufacturing and electronics sectors. We are still experiencing a skills shortage for senior science and engineering professionals. Interestingly, we have also noticed a skill shortage in intermediate level specialists ranging from 1 to 5 years experience. These roles are becoming the most difficult for our clients to fill. This highlights how critical it is to maintain a steady pipeline of science and engineering graduates, who have a college placement during their courses, to ensure that our reputation for producing highly qualified technical candidates continues.”
Further information on Atlantic Corridor can be found on www.atlanticcorridor.ie and you can also find it on Facebook and follow it on Twitter.