The tour was organised through the Manufacturing Task Force as part of the engagement activities of Science Summer School, a STEAM Initiative that is being hosted in Northern Ireland for the first time ever, at The Braid, Ballymena in November 2022. Council are committed to developing skills in the borough and exploring new initiatives with local employers to enable a seamless transfer from education into work.
Through such engagement activities, Science Summer School aims to inspire young people to become the next generation of scientists with a programme that mixes the best of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) through a series of seminars, discussions and hands-on experiments. Science Summer School is not a stand-alone event but is a catalyst for a collaborative vision for the borough to nurture future talent.
During the visit, the pupils heard from Kilwaughter Minerals staff Fiona Byrne, Head of Organisational Development, David Smyth, Financial Director and Gavin Creech, Product Manager for K Systems, who talked about the importance of private sector organisations engaging with educational institutions and investing in the wider community.
Kilwaughter is a key employer in Mid and East Antrim and one which has continued to invest in its headquarters and surrounding environment. The company prides itself on the continued commitment to Larne, the ongoing engagement with young people and the investment in the local community through its Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategies
During the visit, the students had the opportunity to learn more about what makes a major manufacturing company work. The tour of the manufacturing plant included an insight into product development, R&D, business development, quality assessment and quarrying.
Graham Whitehurst MBE, Chair of the Manufacturing Task Force (MTF), said:
“The MTF, is an industry-led initiative which supports and stimulates the area’s manufacturing and engineering sector. Kilwaughter Minerals is one of our MTF members who have a primary focus on implementing skills initiatives to ensure a pipeline of talent in this sector. This visit once again allowed students to directly engage with a key employer in the area and thus support future skills needs and provide an opportunity for companies to help drive recruitment into our Borough’s advanced manufacturing sector.”
Fiona Byrne, Head of Organisational Development for Kilwaughter Minerals, said the firm’s expansion in recent years meant it had to “grow in scale and scope”, which in turn necessitates talent. She further explained:
“It is through first-hand experiences such as this that will help educate and inform young people across the Borough of the many opportunities available in the manufacturing sector, roles which include engineering, research and development, sales, marketing, human resources, quality control and production”.
If you are interested to learn more about engagement opportunities in the borough contact [email protected] or 028 2563 3190.