Robots, virtual reality experiences, STEM performers, and interactive workshops are set to bring the world of engineering to life for school children across Ireland as STEPS Engineers Week 2023 kicks off this weekend. 

Taking place from 4 - 10 March, STEPS Engineers Week provides primary and secondary school children with the opportunity to explore the creative world of engineering and the diverse opportunities a career in the sector can offer.

The week-long celebration of the engineering profession in Ireland is managed by the Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme and funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and industry leaders Arup, the EPA, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

The commencement of this year’s STEPS Engineers Week on 4 March also coincides with World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, a UNESCO International Day of Celebration of engineers and engineering, and the contribution of the world's engineers for a better, sustainable world.  

STEPS Engineers Week will kick-off with a series of Family Fairs this weekend to excite and inspire Ireland’s future engineering talent. From 3D printing and robotics to finding out more about climate change, building wind turbines, LEGO construction challenges and more, families are encouraged to attend free events in Dublin, Cork, Sligo, and Galway. In addition to in-person events, The Rediscovery Centre and The Reptile Zoo will also host interactive online events on Sunday, 5 March to help bring engineering to life in homes across the country.

From Carndonagh to Crosshaven and Gorey to Galway, engineers from all over Ireland will engage with their communities to showcase their profession, highlighting the amazing ways Irish engineers are pushing the limits of creativity and ingenuity.  Leading engineering employers, including Arup, Intel Ireland, MSD Carlow, Medtronic, AECOM, Eirgrid, Palliare, John Cradok, Stryker, Pfizer, Liebherr Container Cranes, Gas Networks Ireland, Green Rebel, Louth County Council, Terex, Irish Manufacturing Research, McAree Engineering, Murphy Group, Waterways Ireland, Uisce Éireann, Wuxi Biologics and Huawei will each engage students by hosting site visits, visiting schools in their community or encouraging interaction with STEM advocates during the weeklong celebration.

Thousands of schoolchildren across Ireland will also be entertained by Ireland’s leading STEM performers, ‘Scientific Sue’ and ‘Mark the Science Guy’, in venues across the country. Primary and secondary school students will also get the opportunity to explore engineering and the role of engineers in the classroom with sustainability challenges, engineering quizzes, video resources and more.

Primary school teacher and blogger, Múinteoir Valerie, has also created a free resource for children with autism to get involved in STEPS Engineers Week and to gain an insight into the world of engineering in a highly visual and accessible way. The ‘Visual Approach to Engineering and Vocabulary Development’ resource focuses on repetition of key words associated with engineering, matching games, and activities based on developing vocabulary.  

Speaking in advance of STEPS Engineers Week, Damien Owens, Director General of Engineers Ireland said: “Engineering is truly a creative industry. Engineers are critical to our environment, economy and they improve the way we live and work. Engineering affects all aspects of life, from tangible works such as the roads we travel on, to developing life-changing medical equipment as well as advancing the invisible technologies that are all around us. 

“STEPS Engineers Week will provide children and their families with the opportunity to dream, invent and create like professional engineers. As we look ahead to STEPS Engineers Week, we are pleased to see so many engineering organisations, libraries, schools and third level institutions getting involved and showcasing the engineering profession to primary and secondary school students nationwide. With lots of free resources and activities available to download, there is still plenty of time to get involved in this weeklong celebration and to bring the world of engineering to life at home or at school.”

Sample of events taking place nationwide

  1. The Explore Engineering Showcase will take place in Shannon airport this evening (2 March) with 60 Midwest engineering companies in attendance.
  2. Engineering shows, workshops and hands-on activities will take place at Engineers Ireland’s headquarters in Dublin, Galway University, Atlantic Technological University - Sligo,  Lifetime Labs in Cork and online on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March to kick-off STEPS Engineers Week 2023.
  3. STEPS Engineering Your Future, a transition-year work experience placement programme will be held at DCU, Trinity College Dublin, Atlantic Technological University and with global pharmaceutical company, Viatris.
  4. STEM performers ‘Scientific Sue’ and ‘Mark the Science Guy’ will host events at SETU Waterford, St Colmans NS, Tullamore, Offaly, SETU Carlow, DKIT, Mary Immaculate College in Limerick, MTU Cork, MTU Kerry, Galway University and St Mary’s Derry. ‘Mark the Science Guy’ will also host a performance at Maynooth University, which is supported by Intel.
  5. Organisations such as Palliare in Galway, Liebherr Container Cranes in Killarney and Eirgrid will be hosting multiple class groups at their premises throughout the week to offer hands-on engineering experiences.
  6. Engineers Ireland’s volunteer Sector community of Regions, Divisions and Societies will also play an important role in STEPS Engineers Week, with some Sectors hosting events including Engineers Ireland’s Cork Region, West Region, North West Region, Thomond Region and its Roads and Transportation Society.