A group pictured at the Inspire Women in Engineering Event in UL
Professor Ann Ledwith, Mary O’Riordan, Georgette Lumbe, Jessica Winters, Julie Tiernan, Wiktoria Bartkowiak and Associate Professor Reena Cole pictured at the Inspire Women in Engineering Event in UL
Monday, December 4, 2023

An event hosted by a consortium that includes University of Limerick has highlighted the career pathways of young professional women working in engineering.

The Inspire Women in Engineering Event 2023 took place last Friday in the University Concert Hall.

The event was organised by Explore Engineering, a consortium consisting of over 50 companies in the mid-west region supported by key third-level education providers such as UL, Technological University of the Shannon, and Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.

The project is dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of engineering talent available in Ireland.

Friday’s event featured a panel discussion with six young early-career engineers working across different sectors and was attended by 800 students in third, fourth- and fifth-year classes from local secondary schools.

The panel included Wiktoria Bartkowiak, Product Engineer at Microchip; Mary O’Riordan, Graduate Engineer at DePuy Synthes; Jessica Winters, Graduate Engineer at Modular Automation; Georgette Lumbe, Associate Quality Assurance Specialist at Transact Campus; Julie Tiernan, Technical Director at Punch Consulting Engineers and Catherine Walsh, MAMF Apprentice at Janssen Pharma.

Commenting on the event Professor Ann Ledwith, Director of HCI/UL@Work and Chair of the Explore Engineering Steering Committee, said: “Some of today’s most exciting jobs are in engineering and technology. Think of advances in AI, medical technology, and sustainability; these are all driven by engineering solutions, yet only 12 per cent of engineers in Ireland are female.

“Girls are missing out on exciting, well-paid roles by avoiding careers in engineering.

“The aim of the Explore Engineering INSPIRE event is to address this imbalance by bringing together a panel of six female engineers to talk to second-level students about the opportunities in engineering and their own insights and experiences working in STEM,” Professor Ledwith added.

During the event, the speakers shared their inspirations, paths to engineering, and the reasons for their love of their chosen career. A question-and-answer session took place immediately after the presentation, allowing students to interact with the panel.

The focus of the consortium now moves to the Explore Engineering Showcase which will be held at Shannon Airport on March 7, 2024 from 5-9pm. This trade show style event is designed to give young people a glimpse into various fields of engineering in a relaxed setting.

The overall message of the event is that engineering is for everyone. Find out more on the Explore Engineering Project website.