Who? Westmeath County Council, employing 509 people
What? Week-long open exhibition, ‘Engineers in our midst’, at the Mullingar Branch Library in conjunction with five scheduled presentations by volunteer engineers, to which local secondary and primary schools were invited.
Where? Mullingar Branch Library
When? Fri 15th Feb & Mon 17th Feb (rescheduled from Weds 13th due to inclement weather)
Why? To increase awareness of schools of the engineering that’s happening everyday around them and particularly within the local authority.
The week-long exhibition included displays of recent major engineering works carried out by Westmeath County Council, including two major bridge construction schemes, national primary route construction projects, a large mixed tenure residential housing scheme and various water service projects.
One of the most popular exhibits was the “rogues gallery” display of various sections of recovered pipework and fittings which showed the corrosive and abrasive power of water.
In addition we had DVDs playing on constant loop which showed time-lapse video photography of two bridge construction projects. Also of particular interest here was the animated video of “pipe bursting” technology, which is currently being used around the town to replace over 35km of existing clay, steel, asbestos cement, concrete and pitch fibre pipe work up to 300mm dia.
All of the school children would have experienced the associated extensive roadworks on their way to school, so they found this to be particularly informative.
The five presentations were given by volunteer Engineers Ireland members:
- Bernard Groenewald – Icecast system (management and deployment system for winter road maintenance) – to Secondary Schools;
- Anne-Marie Corroon & Anne Tubridy – the different types of engineering and focusing on engineers at work on the design and construction of national roads and bridges – to Primary Schools.
Mullingar Branch library staff set up the exhibition and facilitated the running of the presentations.
The very lively Question & Answer sessions that followed each of the presentations would indicate that the audience were eager to learn more about engineering. Indeed one of the Primary Schools brought in their own display of Meccano models of a power boat and a motorised all-terrain vehicle that they themselves had created in preparation for the visit to the Engineers Week presentation.
All in all, over 200 pupils attended the presentations and the general consensus was that they found it to be informative and stimulating.
Because of the clash with mock exams, secondary schools were limited in the classes they could make available for the presentations.