Over 800 students from across the South East Region tuned in to ‘Engineering Careers-Making a Better World’ on Zoom as part of Toys4Engineers week, organised by Waterford Chamber.

The event, which was sponsored by Red Hat, was designed to encourage students to consider a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) career path, be it through education or apprenticeships.

The webinar was formally opened by Grace O’Sullivan MEP, a life long learner and who is passionate about STEAM subjects. Host Eoin Gill of Calmast and Lecturer at Waterford Institute of Technology opened proceedings by giving a fascinating overview of the history of engineering and outlined the educational opportunities open to all students.

Speaking after the conference Eoin said: “It was great to the chance to tell so many young people about the great choices open to them to study engineering and other courses at WIT and to highlight the great career opportunities in the region. The Toys4Engineers Careers was an excellent example of industry, education and the Waterford Chamber working together for the benefit of the region.”

James Mernin, Director of Software Engineering at Red Hat, spoke about the career opportunities in terms of software and was joined by a number of colleagues who told their inspiring stories of how they found their way to the global company. Passionate about STEAM and life long learning, James said: “It was a privilege to be able to share our perspectives on a career in the software industry. We are fortunate that so many of our wonderful innovators, both male and female, from inside and outside the region, chose to do so. The variety of different career paths shared today, which all centred around STEAM subjects, was also reassuring and signalled a bright future for everyone in the region."

The session concluded with a deep dive into apprenticeship opportunities with Stephen Rooney of Engineering the South East. Through a video presentation, students were given an insight into the career paths of many apprentices.

According to Stephen: “The apprenticeship model is a fantastic way to create a career. Its really important for students, parents and employers to give it proper consideration as it produces individuals with skills for life that will open doors for them on an international level”.

The session concluded with a Q&A session and the take-aways were clear – there are many routes to success in engineering and the support from CALMAST, Waterford Institute of Technology, Red Hat and Engineering the South East is plentiful and readily available.

To watch back the webinar see Waterford Chamber’s YouTube channel which also hosts all the conferences from Toys4Engineers week.