Mid-West showcase aiming to 'change the vision' of careers in engineering

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

Noelle Maguire, Stryker and Orlaith Cotter,  Ennistymon, Clare at last year’s showcase. Orlaith began studying engineering in the last year Picture: Alan Place

Noelle Maguire, Stryker and Orlaith Cotter, Ennistymon, Clare at last year’s showcase. Orlaith began studying engineering in the last year Picture: Alan Place

WOMEN shouldn’t feel like there is any reason not to carve out a career in engineering.

That’s the message from Orlaith Cotter, a young woman from Clare who started studying  engineering at UL after attending the Mid-West Limerick for Engineering Showcase last year.

The 2018 showcase will take place again on March 1, in Shannon Airport, from 6pm to 9pm, and just like last year will offer students the opportunity to meet more than 30 companies (indigenous and multinational), view their most cutting edge technologies, witness demonstrations by their full time engineers and receive first hand information about this exciting and ever-developing career path.

“I went to the showcase last year with my mother. There was a lot of interest in science in my class but only one person interested in engineering, and that was me,” explained Orlaith.

“I had a number of concerns before visiting the showcase, not least that I might be at a disadvantage as I did not have a foundation in engineering. I attended an all girls’ secondary school and the subject was not taught there. But I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else so I had to try,” she said.

“The showcase clarified a lot for me. I went down with the idea of doing chemical engineering, as I was studying chemistry for my Leaving Cert, but I soon learnt from the graduates and company engineers I met, that most companies prefer students who have studied a more general course. 

“It definitely changed my vision of a career in engineering, and even let me think about a career in mechanical engineering.

“It was also really encouraging to meet so many women working in different areas of engineering. A lot of girls are going into different careers because they aren’t encouraged into this field, or the option may not be available to them at second level,” she said.

The event falls on Engineers Week, which runs from February 24 to March 2. Girl Guides and Brownies in Limerick will get the opportunity to earn engineering badges for the first time during the week.

The new badges will encourage young girls around Ireland to work through a variety of fun engineering challenges based on creative thinking, curiosity and teamwork to build an engineering mindset. The new badge, it’s hoped, will encourage girls to explore the exciting possibilities a career in engineering can offer.