Limerick primary school students awarded engineering honour

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Students from Gaelscoil Chaladh An Treoigh have been honoured at the STEPS Young Engineers Award virtual awards ceremony today for their innovative engineering project, the Air Deliverer. Now in its second year, the Engineers Ireland STEPS Young Engineers Award encourages third- and fourth-class pupils and their teachers to explore the world of engineering by developing an engineering project that would help to improve their local community. The award is one of four primary and post primary student engineering initiatives coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland

STUDENTS from Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh have been honoured at the STEPS Young Engineers Award virtual awards ceremony today for their innovative engineering project, the Air Deliverer.

The ‘Cheeriors Team’, made up of Elenor, Lusai, Lily, Isobel and Emma from fourth class at Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh, Newcastle were awarded highly commended status for their innovative ‘Air Deliverer’ project idea, which they invented to create a more environmentally friendly way of delivering post and created the drone postal system using only recycled materials.

Now in its second year, the STEPS Young Engineers Award encourages third- and fourth-class pupils and their teachers to explore the world of engineering by developing an engineering project that would help to improve their local community. The award is one of four primary and post primary student engineering initiatives coordinated by Engineers Ireland’s STEPS programme – funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Participation in the primary school competition has doubled since its inaugural year, with over 200 schools submitting over 600 entries to this year’s competition. Eight school teams were shortlisted for this year’s competition final, with the winners announced today at a virtual awards ceremony on Engineers Ireland’s website and YouTube Channel, which also included an Engineering Spectacular show by Mark Langtry, Head of Science and Sport at Explorium.

Students from Arles National School, Co. Laois were crowned national champions and overall winners of the STEPS Young Engineers Award 2020 for their ‘Let’s All Play Together’ project entry which sought to develop an inclusive playground where all children could play together.  Having noticed that children in wheelchairs have no swings or playground equipment in their local area, the students wanted to make a change and came up with the project to create a wheelchair-friendly swing powered by ‘kid energy’ which would allow all children to play together.

Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland, commented: “There was an incredibly high calibre of entries submitted by third- and fourth-class pupils to the STEPS Young Engineers Award this year and it was so fantastic to witness each of the student teams’ creativity and innovative project ideas.”

“Many of the core engineering traits and behaviours – curiosity, exploration, creativity, problem-solving and collaboration – overlap with the principles of early childhood education. It is my hope that each of the students who participated in this year’s STEPS Young Engineers Award thoroughly enjoyed this experience and will continue to explore the limitless opportunities a career in the engineering sector can offer.”

Ms Spillane also praised each of the volunteer engineers who visited schools around the country to assist students with their projects: “At Engineers Ireland, our volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation and we are incredibly grateful to the 200 volunteer engineers who visited schools to help students with their projects. I would also like to pay tribute to our volunteers from leading engineering companies, including Arup, TII, Bentley Systems, Tandem and Jacobs Engineering, who assisted with the judging process”.

Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Science for Society, Science Foundation Ireland, commented: “I would like to congratulate all the third and fourth-class pupils, teachers and volunteers who participated in this year’s STEPS Young Engineers Award competition, which is proudly supported by Science Foundation Ireland. This competition is designed to give students a taste for the countless possibilities of engineering. We hope they feel inspired to explore STEM subjects further, and perhaps consider a future career in this space.”

Engineers Ireland’s STEPS team is now calling on volunteer engineers and engineering organisations to help make the students’ project ideas become a reality. For more information and to get involved in the STEPS Young Engineers Award, visit: https://www.engineersireland.ie/Schools/Get-involved/Young-Engineers-Award