South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and Confirm, the Science Foundation Ireland funded research centre for Smart Manufacturing based at the University of Limerick, have secured a €5000 grant to work on a unique project which will address barriers for women in the engineering profession across the island of Ireland.
SERC and Confirm will work on a six-month project, supported by the Community Foundation for Ireland All-Island Fund, to implement an online engagement tool to gather views from females about engineering and barriers to the profession which will be used to inform longer term course and policy.
Darren Anderson, Lecturer in mechatronics at SERC said, “Engineering is a male dominated profession, and it is widely agreed that there are numerous barriers discouraging women from joining. Women account for 20.1% of the workforce in manufacturing for example (Eurostat 2017). However, we know that companies are 15% more likely to perform better if they are gender diverse, and that diversity is crucial for driving innovation, so it makes sense to address the inequality and inform future policy which will support economic growth.”
Prof. Conor McCarthy, Director of the Confirm Centre said, “Through our Education & Public Engagement programme, Confirm have always strived to address inequalities with respect to gender in the field of manufacturing. This project will grant us a first-hand insight into the barriers that are facing young woman and girls in terms of entering the field and significantly increase our ability to create positive impact in terms of perceptions of manufacturing and manufacturing careers. We are delighted to be partnering with SERC to roll-out this project on an ‘All-Island’ level.”
Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of The Community Foundation for Ireland added, “Our mission, and the mission of our donors, is for equality in thriving communities. Full equality includes access to work and professions. This six-month project has equality at its heart as it seeks to break down the unfair barriers for women entering into careers in engineering. It could also provide an example and a template for others to follow. We look forward to seeing the outcomes of this exciting project by South Eastern Regional College and the Confirm Centre at the University of Limerick, and the impact which the results could have on an All-Island basis.”
The project is one of 30 civil society partnerships being supported by the new All Island Fund – a unique partnership between the Community Foundation for Ireland and the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland which combines over 60 years of grant-making experience. This new pilot Fund is providing flexible philanthropic support for civil society engagement on a north-south basis, leading to better understanding, strong relationships and progression towards a fairer, more equitable society on the island of Ireland.
Pictured above (L-R) Trudy Patterson, Curriculum Manager for Engineering, Darren Anderson, Lecturer in Mechatronics and Aine McGreeghan, Curriculum Manager for Engineering at SERC.