Thursday, 1 December 2011

Engineering and Technology Teachers in Carrick on Shannon

On November 12th last I was invited to the Engineering and Technology Teachers Association (ETTA) in Carrick on Shannon to speak at their Annual Conference and present their Awards to over 100 students based mostly on their 2011 Leaving and Junior Cert results.

It was a very impressive event in terms of the number of school principals, teachers, parents and students attending from Second Level schools from all over the country especially for the Awards.

Before going there, I browsed the 2011 Leaving and Junior Cert Engineering and Technology papers to see how relevant these two subjects now are to modern day engineering. I found that they lean mostly towards physics, chemistry and computer technology all of which form a solid basis for up to date careers in mechanical, electrical and computer engineering.

Pictured left to right P J Rudden President of Engineers Ireland, Annalee O'Donovan from County Clare Best Overall Technical Graphics Junior Cert Higher Level and William Brett President of the Engineering and Technology Teachers Association (ETTA)
This year's conference was organised and hosted by members of Area 4 drawn from counties Sligo Leitrim Longford and Roscommon led by teachers John Joe McGuinness and Damien O'Rourke.

There are very close links between the ETTA in this Region and Sligo IT who gave a talk on Lasers. In fact the word 'laser' I discovered is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (LASER).

In my short speech I emphasised the importance of these two Second Level subjects to the engineering profession as a whole and complimented the ETTA on their extensive award schemes which create obvious motivation for so many engineering students nationwide to compete for the awards.

L-R: Mr. Niall Cassidy Engineering Teacher Fingal Community School, 
Student John Donohoe “Young Engineer 2011” ,
PJ Rudden President of Engineers Ireland and Ms. Sharon McGrath Principal of Fingal Community School
I was particularly taken by the mechanical and electrical/electronic engineering standards of the national competition to make the Best Modern Snow Plough. Also very impressive was the design manufacture and testing of a Formula 1 Car by a team of students from Dundalk who went on to represent Ireland internationally. Either of these assignments would have tested the creative skills of any BE graduate in Mechanical Engineering from any of our universities or institutes of technology.

Awards went to students from all over Ireland from Cork to Donegal and from Clare to Fingal who were photographed with their proud parents and teachers.

Curlew Mountains Sculpture Courtesy of
The next morning I explored the wonderful tourism product of Carrick on Shannon where Leitrim County Council have constructed a beautiful but very functional boardwalk over the River Shannon. I went on to view its many marinas with cruisers tied up in the riverside adjacent to the modest but modern Leitrim County Buildings. In recreational terms, there are even 'musical wires' supported from the river bed adjacent to the boardwalk which give off a different musical harmony depending on the unique strength and direction of the prevailing wind over the Shannon. Not far away on the N4 Curlews Road stands the metal sculpture of a Celtic chieftain on horseback which indeed graced the front cover of the ETTA 2011 conference brochure.


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