The Future of Engineering

The Future of Engineering

This week is Engineer’s Week. As you know, engineered support is the solid foundation of our EVB Sports range, and is something we constantly strive to uphold and better for our customers.

 

I thought I’d take the opportunity to celebrate all things engineering, and I had a chat with Dr David Tanner of University of Limerick, about how UL is approaching the future of engineering in Ireland.

 

Dr Tanner is the Senior Lecturer of Process Technology at the university’s School of Engineering and is a strong advocate of the initiative, Limerick For Engineering, which is aiming to:

to encourage school leavers, particularly young women, to consider a future in a highly skilled, well paid engineering career, in the Mid West”

Whose initiative is Limerick For Engineering?  

Limerick For Engineering is an industry led initiative and is supported by education and training providers in the region e.g. LIT, UL etc.

 

When did it start?  

It started in 2015 with a “showcase” in the South Court Hotel, Limerick.

 

How has the uptake been?

The participation has been growing year on year, to such an extent that the venue has now changed to Shannon airport to facilitate the numbers.

 

What are the various engineering disciplines offered at UL?

UL provides BE degrees in:

 

  • Civil
  • Mechanical
  • Biomedical Aeronautical
  • Design & Manufacture
  • Electronic
  • Computer
  • Chemical

 

 

In UL how many engineering students qualify per year?  

School of Engineering has approximately 150 graduates in BE Aeronautical, Biomedical, Civil, Design & Manufacture and Mechanical each year, however this is increasing and from 2020 will be closer to 180/200.

 

Do you think the number of women in Limerick for Engineering is increasing?  

It’s too early to say, but certainly it’s one of the key objectives of the Limerick for Engineering initiative. We are striving to get more females into our courses.

We appreciate that it’s a global challenge facing organisations in general; encouraging females into engineering.

From 2014/15 to 2016/17 the percentage of female students in School of Engineering courses dropped from 13% to 12%, and then down to 11%, across all 4 years.  However this year (2017/18) we have 18% women in 1st year, and we are hoping this trend will continue. I am working with current female students to set up an ‘Ambassador Programme’ where they will return to their own schools to show that girls do engineering!

 

There is a huge focus now at the School of Engineering to encourage more females onto our courses. Outreach activities such as linking into primary and secondary schools to encourage STEM, along with supporting female colleagues in working with events such as Limerick for Engineering, are all raising the profile of the engineer, and engineering as a discipline not just for males. It’s a slow process but it is a committed process now by School of Engineering.

 

Do UL do practical in house training (i.e. work placement)?

All courses include co-op with students spending 6-8 months in industry. We also have a large industry student intake where academics are also getting up-to-date current practice around engineering practices and in turn passing this information to undergraduate students.  UL has the highest graduate employment rate of any Irish University.

 

Are there any famous UL Engineering students or innovations that we should keep an eye out for?  

Lots – some recent successes include:

 

Norah Patten, who aims to be the first Irish person in space

Kieran Curran, founder and CEO of GenCell Biosystems

Confirm centre for Irish Manufacturing

iComp Composites Research Centre

Lero – the Irish Software Centre

Biosystems Engineering and Design for a BED-er Healthier World

 

Are there any exciting courses on the horizon for the School of Engineering this year?

One of our courses, Mechatronics, won postgraduate course of the year 2018 from GradIreland.

We also aim to deliver Ireland’s first industry-driven Masters in Artificial Intelligence.

We also hold an annual competition, challenging engineering students to apply their design and manufacturing skills, and build a functioning motor car.

 

The event is supported and judged by UL’s industry partners Johnson & Johnson and Modular Automation.

 

Watch last year’s competition below:

The #ULCarRace 2017

If you’re interested in learning more about studying at UL’s School of Engineering:

 

The Mid West Limerick for Engineering Showcase 2018 will take place on Thursday, 8th March, in Shannon Airport, and offers secondary school students, guidance counsellors, parents and teachers an opportunity to meet more than 30 mid-west companies (indigenous and multi-national); 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.

 

Orlaith Cotter from Clare attended the Mid West Limerick for Engineering Showcase last year. She is now studying General Engineering at the University of Limerick. She said:

It definitely changed my vision of a career in engineering… It was also really encouraging to meet so many women working in different areas of engineering. They were great role models and frankly I wouldn’t believe that a career in all areas of engineering was open to me if I heard it from a man

University of Limerick has kindly invited EVB Sport to speak to their engineering students next month – keep your eyes out for more info!

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