Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel is continuing in its pursuit to encourage more female students to pursue a career in engineering with the return of its successful ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ event.
The company welcomed over 25 female students from four local schools to its facility late last month for the annual event, which is now in its 22nd year. During the event, members of the company’s dedicated STEM council showcased the many opportunities and career pathways that are available by choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related subjects.
In person and virtual events took place at 45 Collins Aerospace sites across the world, with over 2,800 young females aged between six and 18 attending, and 800+ employees involved in the planning and execution of the events globally.
The event at the Kilkeel facility saw students from Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch; Newbridge Integrated College, Loughbrickland; Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry and St Louis Grammar School in Kilkeel come together for a busy activity-led morning. The students had the opportunity to learn about the manufacturing of aircraft seating through a tour of the facility, several presentations and hands-on STEM activities.
With over 800 employees at the Kilkeel facility, many of whom are women in leadership and key engineering roles, the students heard first-hand from some of the Collins team who told their own stories of being inspired to study engineering and how they’ve progressed in and pursued their own successful careers.
Speaking about the event, Alan Henning, managing director of Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel said, “We were delighted to host the ‘Introduce a Girl to Engineering’ event once again. We’re very proud that it has become such an important event not only for us, but also for the local schools. It’s imperative to maintain the interest of females in STEM related subjects, as it tends to fall off once they enter secondary school. Through this event, we can highlight the many career pathways that are available with STEM subjects and therefore encourage the next generation of female engineers.“
Karen Andersson, Head of Technology and Design at Assumption Grammar School, Ballynahinch spoke about the event saying, “This was an excellent opportunity for our students to experience just what a career in engineering within the aerospace sector entails. I’d like to thank all the staff at Collins Aerospace for facilitating and providing such an enjoyable and interesting day for us. By taking the time to share their knowledge with us, I’m sure they will have encouraged our students to consider the wide range of career options open to them.”
Student Angeleena Jophin from Our Lady’s Grammar School in Newry who attended the event, said, “The Girl in Engineering event at Collins Aerospace was very beneficial to me. We learned a lot about the company and the work that it is doing not only in the local community or industry in Northern Ireland, but globally, as well as the benefits of pursuing a career in engineering. The activities that we took part in were fun, and it was exciting to get a tour of the facilities and see the seating that the company makes for some of the biggest airlines including Qatar Airways and British Airways. I’m so happy that I was able to attend, and I would definitely consider engineering as my future career.”
Sean Kelly from Newbridge Integrated College, Loughbrickland said, “This was such an important event for our students. Females are still under-represented in STEM subjects so to be able to attend Collins Aerospace’s event and see what future careers are available after studying STEM will be inspirational to the students. It was very kind of Collins Aerospace engineers to take the time to accommodate the visit and answer all the queries the students had. Thank you to everyone at Collins Aerospace.”
Collins Aerospace is a business of Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX). The Young Women in Engineering initiative is part of RTX’s corporate initiatives and Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, and other sites globally continue to run similar events across the year.
Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel is a major employer for the area and in addition to contributing greatly to the local economy, it is committed to the career development and progression of its employees. Each year it welcomes new interns and apprentices to its site and provides them with the necessary hands-on experience and technical knowledge to equip them in becoming the next generation of engineers, helping to develop long-standing and progressive careers with the company.
All images credited to Collins Aerospace