To support ongoing demand from Transition Year students wishing to explore opportunities provided by a career in engineering, engineering employers are being encouraged to open their doors and provide students with the opportunity to gain insights into the profession. Engineers Ireland, the professional body for engineers of all disciplines, is encouraging engineering businesses and firms across Ireland to participate in its 10th annual STEPS Engineering Your Future programme. This programme aims to showcase the diversity and creativity of contemporary engineering to Transition Year students.
Coordinated by the institution’s STEPS programme - funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and industry leaders Arup, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) – and hosted by partners in academia and industry, the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme is an immersive work experience placement which is designed to inspire Transition Year students to study engineering.
Established in 2003, the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme has achieved significant success in supporting students to pursue engineering and STEM courses at third level. Longitudinal studies have shown linkages between those who participate in the programme and their course choice preference at third level, with many positively opting for a career in STEM. Research has found that 42% of Transition Year students who took part in the programme in 2017 are now studying an engineering course at third level, with a further 40% studying a STEM related programme.
Calling on engineering employers to get involved in the programme, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, commented: “As a knowledge-based economy and an island nation, we have a reliance on the quality and quantity of our STEM graduates. Ireland needs a steady supply of engineers, with the necessary skillset, to boost local economies, create new jobs, facilitate sustainable development and meet Government ambitions.
“Thanks to our current partners in industry and academia, the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme has facilitated over 2,500 students, providing them with an opportunity to gain rewarding work experience and insight into the limitless opportunities afforded by a career in engineering. However, year-on-year, demand for the programme has significantly increased. We now require even greater support from engineering employers to host Transition Year students and to inspire our future engineering talent,” Ms Spillane added.
In Spring 2021, Fingleton White joined leading engineering firms, ESB, Clandillon Civil Consulting Ltd., DBFL Consulting Engineers Ltd, Palliare and third level institutions to host over 400 students on the Transition Year placement programme.
Commenting on their experience, Michelle Mac Lennan of Fingleton White, said: “As a leading provider of engineers and project managers to the energy sector, Fingleton White was delighted to play a role in developing Ireland’s future talent pipeline by nurturing and encouraging students to learn more about the opportunities that exist in engineering.
“Our virtual work experience programme provided students with the opportunity to engage with our engineering specialists from a range of different disciplines such as mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical, biomedical and CAD. The students gained insight into real world projects and worked together (virtually) to solve problems and perform calculations and experiments. We believe that this first-hand experience can be transformative for students who are deciding on their future subject areas and careers, and I would strongly encourage other organisations to participate in the STEPS Engineering Your Future programme,” Ms Mac Lennan concluded.
For more information on how your organisation can participate in the 10th annual STEPS Engineering Your Future programme, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/Schools/Get-involved/Engineering-Your-Future/Partner-Organisations