A week-long programme for Transition Year students has been launched by a number of companies in Shannon to highlight career opportunities they have available to secondary school students.

The initiative is led by Molex Ireland in conjunction with Shannon Chamber and involves input from Intel, Lufthansa Technik Turbine Shannon, Reagecon, Chemifoc and Zimmer Biomet.

Referred to as STEM Shannon, the Transition Year programme puts the spotlight on science, technology, engineering and maths subjects. Students spend the first two days in Molex, the third day in Intel and break into groups of six to move between Lufthansa Technik Turbine, Molex, Reagecon, Chemifloc and Zimmer Biomet, gaining a cumulative five days’ work experience in all.

During the week Transition Year students will be involved in briefings, interactive engineering games, plant tours, demo workshops, lab demos and chemistry experiments, giving them a greater insight into the world of engineering.

To date Transition Year students from St Patrick’s Comprehensive and St Caimin’s were joined by their counterparts from St Flannan’s, Ennis; Scoil Mhuire, Ennistymon; St Clement’s College, Limerick; Scoil Ruain, Killenaule, Co Tipperary; and Carndonagh Community School in Donegal to begin the programme.

Commenting on the initiative Shannon Chamber chief executive Helen Downes said: “This programme is the brainchild of Molex, which wanted to give its employees’ children a broad-based appreciation of the jobs’ scope that STEM offers.

“We were delighted when they approached us to see if we could interest other companies in Shannon to join forces to put together a programme that would enable TY students to spend time in different engineering environments.

“We had tremendous buy-in from the companies but had to limit the number of students to 12 and the number of companies to 6 for this pilot initiative. We now have something to build on for next year and plan on expanding on what we have introduced.

“Once established, the concept could act as a model for other communities and regions throughout Ireland.”

The initiative was started by Molex engineers Keith Reilly and Angela Higgins who said the programme aligns with their company’s mission to raise interest in manufacturing technology and inspire secondary school students to pursue careers in those fields.”