Ireland’s first Engineering Dojo took place at IT Sligo this weekend.
The Engineering Dojo, which is following in the footsteps of the successful Coder Dojo forums, will harness the strengths of a number of engineering companies in the North West region and get young people interested in engineering from an early age.
A significant number of locally based engineering and manufacturing companies as well as IT Sligo and Sligo VEC took part in the initiative.
The event was organised by John Nugent, IDA’s Regional Manager in the North West and Cara McGinley, Sligo VEC.
Speaking about the initiative John Nugent said: “Engineering Dojo is a free, voluntary movement aimed at creating an environment in which young people can learn some elements of engineering while at the same time having some fun.”
“Engineering Dojo is starting in Sligo because of the strength of engineering in the locality across Education & Training and a range of Industries.”
“Engineering Dojo borrows much of its ethos and approach from Coder Dojo and will complement this hugely successful initiative locally and perhaps beyond.”
Keith McManus, Head of Department of Computing and Creative Practices at IT Sligo, said: “An initiative such as this is an ideal way to promote the creative spirit that is already a distinguishable feature of the engineering sector in the North West.
“It’s been an honour for IT Sligo to have hosted the forum’s launch and we’re looking forward to playing our role in enshrining it as a vibrant educational tool in the region later this year.”
The fully booked out Engineering Dojo was facilitated by volunteers and mentors from industry and education who facilitated a class of young people (aged 10 – 14) to have a robot building workshop using Lego MindStorm.
IDA’s John Nugent said: “We had 4 teams each completing a robot that travels and does some tasks – the aim is to energise the kids so that they get a feel for engineering and then we will launch a weekly Engineering Dojo in IT Sligo starting September. The weekly event will involve mentors from volunteer companies locally who will give their time to help bring the kids along in the same way that Coder Dojo does for programming.
The stakeholders involved want to present the North West as the ‘home’ of certain disciplines within Engineering and to show that the region is responding to the needs of industry and taking the lead in this area to ensure that the region maintains its reputation as a great place to do business, specifically in manufacturing. Engineering Dojo will help us in the effort to reposition engineering as a significant part of the local economy”, concluded John.
The Centre for Lifelong Learning and ICT Department at St Angela’s College, Sligo assisted with the robotics demonstation at the Engineering Dojo launch. Dr Niamh Plunkett, Director of the CLL says, “St Angela’s College, Sligo is delighted to be involved in this new initiative for the North West as it complements our commitment to outreach and creative learning opportunities for young people.”
MindStorm Kits were provided by St Angela’s College in Sligo, one of thirty international award winners of the Google RISE Award for the Robotics and Mobile Phone Application Camp for children aged 9-15 years. Click here for more info on the kits.
Caption for photo above: Saoirse Connolly, Ballisodare; Ciara Lindsay, Ransboro; Ellen Woodward; Ransboro; Michael Gallagher, Abbvie and Anna Woodward, Ransboro.