Who? Grange Castle is Pfizer’s largest single investment in Ireland, a EUR1.8 billion biotechnology facility located on a 90-acre site in South County Dublin, with buildings and facilities extending to more than 1 million square feet. The site is one of the largest integrated biotechnology plants in the world and is part of the Pfizer Specialty Biotech manufacturing network.
What? Grange Castle was delighted to support Engineers Week for the second year running and this year we broadened our support by running two separate activities, firstly hosting a school visit to the site and secondly, volunteers visiting three different local area schools. In total we reached almost 350 kids with our events!
Where? Students from Deansrath Community College in Clondalkin visited the Grange Castle site and the volunteers from the Engineering department went to Talbot Community School, Clondalkin; Clonburris National School, Clondalkin; and Luttrelstown Community College, Clonsilla
When? The school visited the site on 17th Jan (due to site constraints it was not possible to host this visit during Engineers Week) and our volunteers visited the three schools between the 11 & 13th Feb
Why? One of our Pfizer Corporate Imperatives is to Be respected by Society and we locally translate this into a site objective to Fulfil our social responsibility to the local community, and both of these enable us to get involved. That said, deep down the volunteers got involved because they recognise the individual benefit the kids get from seeing how rewarding working as an engineer can be, and want to give something back to the next generation.
A total of 35 2nd and 6th Year students from Deansrath Community College in Clondalkin visited the site on Friday 17th January as part of Engineers Week 2014.
The students had expressed interest in science and engineering and were invited to the site by Dave McCann, Reliability Engineer. Dave was assisted by Donal Dignam, Bernie Kavanagh, Ed Muldowney, Martina Leeson, Aedin Hogan and Carmel Jennings.
After a presentation giving an introduction to the facility, the students were brought on tours of the Quality Control labs, one of the production suites, a utilities area and our development labs. In the labs, the students were shown the results of some microbiological tests in QC and brought through cell culture and purification in the development labs. They were introduced to the engineering challenges with a cleanroom environment and also shown how we manufacture and distribute our utilities.
The visit was very well received and all of our hosts had a blast.
Our volunteers who visited the schools were: Colm Cullinane, Michael Madigan, Carol Gartlan, Pat Fitzgerald, Maire Finnerty, Fran O’Toole, John Deasy, Martin Walsh, Kevin Bowden, Bernie Kavanagh, and Gerard Coey who managed the project.
They set out to inspire the kids by explaining to them how they became an engineer and what their work involves. Each presentation was a personal reflection from the volunteers and it was extremely successful, with the kids asking some fascinating questions, a sample of which are below:
“Could you live in a bioreactor?”
“What do you do with all the waste water from the site?”
“How much do you earn in a week, do they pay for your plane when your travel, what about a house, do you get a house, do they pay you in euros or dollars?”
When the class were asked did they know where Pfizer is? Response given was “Pfizer is where the number 13 bus ends and there are mounds like in Telly Tubby land. Do the Telly Tubbies live there?” Now that would make for interesting site tours! One student was extremely disappointed when they found out there were no explosions at Pfizer.
Feedback at the end of the talks
In one class at the end of the demonstration over 40 students wanted to be engineers, as opposed to two at the start.
One group of students were delighted to hear that there were female engineers on-site. One student was so impressed to hear that some engineering roles help Pfizer to prevent further damage to the ozone layer and later announced he was definitely going to be an engineer.
All of the guys who visited the schools left with a real buzz and feeling that they had made a difference and it reminded them of how much they enjoy being an engineer. Sometimes it takes telling others about your life as an engineer to remind you that it is actually a really cool job.
We will definitely look to continue to grow our involvement in Engineers Week going forward.