At the age of 17 or 18, making a big decision about the future is a tough call. Students will no doubt have heard that there are copious job opportunities in the world of engineering and technology, but is this a good enough reason to pursue a career in it? Students may wonder what skills are required? What subjects should they be good at? What type of engineering would be most suitable?
It is important for Mergon as an employer to work to encourage the student population with inspiring experiences of engineering, widening the pool of young people who will go on to join the profession in the future. The focus is to encourage young people to gain information, reflect, discuss and see how they can be part of solutions needed for a vast number and diverse range of society’s challenges by becoming an engineer. The aim for Mergon is to be a part of young people’s real-world understanding of engineering.
Hosting visits from Secondary and Third Level Students has occurred for many years at Mergon International but in March 2017 as part of Engineers Week, Mergon International opened their doors to young students from a local Primary School with the students attending a tour experience centered around educating young people about engineering. Building on the success from that event, the ‘Primary School Engineering Experience’ was developed to include:
- An interactive presentation detailing: what happens at Mergon, the roles people have, engineering being all around us, what engineers at Mergon do, a glimpse into the world of robotics and collaborative robotics and includes lots of videos and guessing games. The presentation is customised for 10 to 12 year old’s and has been approved by University College Dublin Outreach Department.
- Tour of the production facility, including an overview of the workings of a manufacturing environment, robotics in action, interactive tour of the Operator Training Centre where the children have the opportunity to try out the dexterity skills training tasks and take on their friends and teachers with some friendly competition on time trial training tasks.
- A visit to the MiCentre (Mergon Innovation Centre) where the children have the opportunity to meet and talk to engineers and technicians at work on new projects and modifications. They can also use the state of the art communication system to say hello to employees by video conference call to Mergon Czech or Mergon Corporation in the USA.
- And of course, they enjoy some refreshments to refuel before heading back to school.
Employees at Mergon International suggested the experience to their children’s schools and the response was extremely positive. From the launch in March 2018 to December 2018, children from 18 schools enjoyed the experience at Mergon International Headquarters in Westmeath. Many more schools have booked the Experience during 2019. Currently work is underway developing tailor made and improved Engineering Experiences for Secondary School and Third level students also, which will launch later in 2019.
As Bill NYE (The Science Guy) says – “There is nothing I believe in more strongly than getting young people interested in science and engineering, for a better tomorrow, for all humankind“.