18 Aug 2022

Derry school girls step up to the mark for Women in Engineering week

St. John’s Primary School girls step up to the mark

GEMX facilitators helping the girls launch their rockets in the playground.

As part of Women in Engineering Week, GEMX hosted a GEMX @ School Day at St John’s Primary School in Creggan during which the girls stepped up to the mark.

Girls from Primary 6 and 7 engaged in a range of STEM activities, facilitated by Sentinus where rockets were built and launched; cars were designed and raced; and geodesic domes were very successfully constructed.

The pupils were ably assisted by engineers from local manufacturing companies, including E&I, Terex and Nelipak, who also came armed with goodies and prizes on the day.

Joanne Sweeney, project director of GEMX, stressed that local employers were extremely keen to support projects like this through education.

She added: “Collaboration between industry and education is key to inspiring the employees of the future.

“Children can only be what they see and so we must enable them to meet as diverse a range of people as possible who will talk to them about educational and career options.

“Employers in the North West are very keen to support education and recognise the importance of their contribution towards shaping the workforce of the future.”

Girls from Primary 6 and 7 engaging in a range of STEM activities.

Charlotte Smith, from Nelipak in Campsie, said: “Many people do not recognise we do medical packaging nor the opportunities we provide. And, we employ over 300 people in Campsie”’

In order to raise awareness of the companies within GEMX, the schoolchildren were given some puzzles to take home, relating to local manufacturing and engineering companies.

Replying to Charlotte’s comments, Rachel Doherty, a teacher at St John’s Primary School, said: ‘I only hope that parents will know the answers!”

St. John’s PS principal, Geraldine O’Connor, said that this collaboration with GEMX  and  local employers had provided a wonderful opportunity for the girls to learn about and aspire towards a range of careers in engineering.

Girls from St. John’s Primary School who took part in the GEMX at School Day event as part of Women in Engineering Week. Included are principal Geraldine O’Connor, teachers and event facilitators. Photos: Jim McCafferty Photography

She also advised the girls to pursue their interests and told them that a day at work doing something you love always brings joy!

Mrs O’Connor thanked GEMX for facilitating the event and stressed the importance of sustained early engagement with primary age children to help those talented in this field to achieve their aspirations.

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