Who: Established in Limerick in 1996, Vistakon is the world’s largest contact lens manufacturer. The Limerick plant has 860 full time staff with 93% holding third level qualifications from predominantly engineering disciplines. It is one of several Johnson & Johnson companies in Ireland, employing over 2,000 people. Vistakon is currently recruiting engineers and running a series of open evenings to promote its career opportunities.
What? A visit by 100 secondary school students from schools in the Mid-West (Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare and C.B.S. Nenagh, Co. Tipperary).
When? Wednesday 12th February 2014
Why? To showcase the exciting opportunities engineering has to offer and to encourage local students to consider it as a career option. As a long-established multi-national in the Mid-West, Vistakon is committed to working with local schools to foster talent and inspire the engineers of the future.
Students toured the plant, met with Vistakon engineers, attended a presentation and participated in a hands-on workshop, where they learned how automation is used for quality checks and how manufactured items are automatically moved around a production line.
The students then took it in turns to control a specially-designed robot to experience first-hand how robotics work and how software is used to control automated systems. The workshop was especially designed to allow the students to use their analytical and problem solving skills – the core set of skills required for a career in engineering.
Niamh O’Regan, Guidance Counsellor, Coláiste Muire, Ennis, Co. Clare, said: “The visit to Vistakon gave the students real insights into what engineers actually do. They learned about the huge range of specialist disciplines and how engineers work together to design solutions, troubleshoot problems and make processes run more efficiently.”
One student commented: “I had no idea that engineers had such a big part to play in the manufacture of products like contact lenses. The manufacturing environment at Vistakon was very high-tech and I enjoyed controlling the robot and seeing how it worked. It was pretty cool.”