During a recent visit to St. Conleth’s College, Stephen Shortall discussed his path into the engineering profession with a class of transition-year students.  From subject choices to college places, internships to first job offers, he took them through the steps he has taken on his route to becoming an engineer. ‘If students can see people who are a bit like them - people they can relate to - it really helps them to say, 'I could do that job',’ he says.

Shortall was one of five graduate engineers from Roughan & O’Donovan who visited the school during Engineers Week to talk about STEM courses and the different career paths engineering-related subjects can open up.  

Make a mark on the world

Elisa Longo, an engineer working on Ireland’s first smart motorway project, delivered the message that engineering offers a chance for all young people – girls as well as boys – to have a real impact on the world. ‘Few other industries offer the opportunity to address serious global challenges, such as restoring and improving our urban infrastructure.  Nor do they promise such strong job prospects,’ she said.

A passport to work abroad

Jorge Castillo told the students about the opportunities engineering provides to travel and work overseas. ‘While I was studying civil engineering in Spain, I often wondered what direction my degree would take me. Now, I’m living in Ireland and working on transportation projects across the length of the country.  That’s exciting,’ he said.

Engineering in practice

Knowing that it is hard for students to envisage working towards something that they have never seen anyone else do, Rico Raymundo and Gavin McNamara devised a technical challenge to explain the basic concepts behind beam design and to demonstrate how engineers solve everyday challenges by thinking creatively.

The response

The students responded with lots of questions about third-level courses, working abroad and the career progression path for engineers. It was clear that the conversation has stirred a significant amount of interest.

For their part, the graduates were delighted with the reaction to their talk, and even more so when the students’ career guidance counsellor, Anne Ryan, emailed Roughan & O’Donovan’s Managing Director, Harry Meighan, to say: 

Thanks to your engineers’ excellent presentation and infectious enthusiasm, I now find myself with a class of budding engineers.