Career choice

IT Sligo event to encourage more women to study engineering

School of Engineering & Design

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IT Sligo event to encourage more women to study engineering

IT Sligo lecturer, John Casserly; Micheal O'Halloran, Chairman of Engineers Ireland North West region; and Una Parsons, IT Sligo's Head of Engineering & Design.

IT Sligo is urging female students to engineer their future and consider a career in engineering.

With low numbers of women choosing to study engineering across the country, IT Sligo is planning different ways to encourage women to consider a career in the field.

One of the events being held as part of IT Sligo’s Engineers Week, which runs from February 24 to March 2, is a ‘Women in Engineering Coffee Morning’.

This is a networking opportunity for both female engineers and students from across the region to meet each other and discuss how to encourage more women into the profession. It is hoped that ideas discussed will be progressed by a specially-formed group following the event.

The Institute is already leading by example in this area with two senior positions in the School of Engineering & Design held by women: Úna Parsons, Head of School of Engineering & Design and Marion McAfee, who was recently announced as Acting Head of Mechanical & Electronic Engineering.

Úna Parsons, Head of School of Engineering & Design at IT Sligo, said, “I encourage female students to engineer their future and consider a career in engineering. In the past, the medical profession was dominated by males and we see over recent decades how that has totally changed. My vision is that we have a similar change in the engineering profession. There are so many fascinating options to a career in engineering — we want to change perceptions that it is mainly for males.”

Marion McAfee, Acting Head of Mechanical & Electronic Engineering at IT Sligo, said, “Engineering is a fantastic, varied career with real challenges and you have the opportunity to actively make solutions in a variety of areas covering everything from roads to medical devices and self-driving cars. Engineers Week is a great opportunity for members of the public to see what a career in engineering involves.

“Engineers drive economic growth, so Ireland really needs more engineers. Recruiters are struggling to get enough skilled engineers and with few women entering the field the talent pool is restricted.”

Sligo is a medical and pharmaceutical hub so students going into these engineering fields will have lots of opportunity to find work locally. “There are great jobs available for engineers both locally, nationally and internationally. An engineering degree is your passport to the world,” said Dr McAfee.

The ‘Women in Engineering Coffee Morning’ is being organised by Saritha Unnikrishnan, who joined IT Sligo as a part-time assistant lecturer and is currently doing a PhD in computational data modelling and machine learning at IT Sligo.

The coffee morning event takes place on Thursday, 1st March from 10.30am in room A1060 in IT Sligo.

Last year, a similar networking event resulted in the introduction of engineering summer camps at IT Sligo.

IT Sligo will bring engineering to life with a wide range of free activities to mark Engineers Week, an annual campaign to promote engineering as a career and the importance of the profession to Ireland.

Some of the other events taking place at IT Sligo during Engineers Week include:

• A public lecture titled ‘Electric Vehicle Infrastructure and Technology Developments’ by John Mooney, Operations Manager, ESB Electric Cars (Feb 26)
• A primary school showcase ‘Ireland’s Engineering Superheroes’ by Scientific Sue (Feb 28)
• A secondary school showcase film screening ‘Dream Big: Engineering Our World’ (Mar 1)
• A Precision Engineering & Design talk given by students on their experiences in Industrial Placement (Mar 1)
• A Coder Dojo workshop (Mar 2)

Michael O’Halloran, Chairman of Engineers Ireland North West region, encourages anyone interested in learning more about engineering to get involved in the week’s activities. He said, “Engineering is a vast discipline with limitless career opportunities and we organise this week of activities each year primarily to try to demystify it somewhat for interested students and their parents. It’s an exciting time to be an engineer at the moment and there are a lot of very promising employment opportunities for engineers in the North West and around the world.”

All events are free and most are open to members of the public to attend. For more information and to register see www.engineersweek.ie