Case study: Engineers Week 2015 at Semple & McKillop, DkIT & Engineers Ireland North East Region

Fact file

Semple 1Who? Semple & McKillop Consulting Engineers Ltd is a building services mechanical & electrical consultancy employing 35 people in offices in Belfast & Castleblayney, Co Monaghan. We worked in partnership with the School of Engineering at Dundalk Institute of Technology and were supported by the Engineers Ireland North East Region committee.

What?  An event called ‘Women in Engineering’ which was aimed at female second level
students who are interested in exploring the benefits of Engineering as a career choice.

Where? Dundalk Institute of Technology

When? Friday 6th February 2015

Why? To provide female students and their careers advisors with career information on
engineering and access to female role models in an environment where being female was
‘normal’.

The details 

We invited 14 schools within the Louth & east Monaghan area to send a selection of
students for a morning event in DkIT. On the day, there were 78 students in attendance from 9 schools. The event had the following format:

  • Registration
  • Introduction & Welcome from Head of School of Engineering
  • General presentation on engineering (based on STEPS slideshow)
  • Role model presentations: Síle O’Connor (Building Services Engineer), Sinead
    Clarke (DkIT Final Year Student), Martina Finn (Technical Director Atkins Ireland), Dr Sinead Kelly (Lecturer DkIT). Role models were selected to give a breadth of career histories, educational routes and ages.
  • Role Model Question Time: questions were invited from the audience. Issues raised in a preparation questionnaire which asked about any negative beliefs about engineering were also addressed by members of the panel.
  • Refreshments & Practical Activities: DkIT Lecturer Gareth Kelly set up a number of simple challenges where students could partake and win prizes (Engineers Week tshirt).
  • Refreshments cost was covered by the NE committee.
  • Round table discussions: A volunteer joined each of the tables (comprising 8
    students) to lead a discussion to enable the shyer participants to engage directly with an engineer.
  • Prize-giving & Closing Remarks
  • A ‘Hall of Fame slideshow ran in the background which showcased current & historical female engineers with informal (not work-related) images and details of qualifications & job titles. These were interspersed with suitable engineering quotations (found on the web). The aim was to reinforce the idea that choosing engineering was a normal choice and that all types of people have taken that route.
  • We also had a number of volunteers from DkIT, Semple & McKillop and local engineers who had been invited to participate. These were both male & female to reinforce that females in engineering are accepted by all their colleagues.
  • Feedback was very positive and we were particularly delighted that the careers advisors got a lot out of it and felt it would help them guide their students in the future.
  • As a company, we received some profile locally and gained promotional material for our company website. We also felt we had supported our local communities and perhaps assisted in the development of some future employees.
  • Engineers Week was a good focus for this event and the support from Engineers Ireland by way of advice, volunteer and merchandise was invaluable. We would hope to make this an annual event and would feel that it is a useful template for other regions in the country.

Read more case studies on our blog and check out photos from events in the Gallery.

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