Guides and Brownies in Donegal urged to take the STEPS Engineers Week Challenge

Competition aimed to inspire future female engineering leaders

Guides and Brownies in Donegal urged to take the STEPS Engineers Week Challenge

Ailbhe Ward (8) with her badges

Engineers Ireland is calling on Guides and Brownies in Donegal to take the STEPS Engineers Week Challenge to become Ireland’s top Guide and Brownie engineers.

Taking place from February 29 – March 6, Engineers Week promotes engineering and the importance of the profession to children in Ireland and is coordinated by Engineers Ireland's STEPS programme - funded by Science Foundation Ireland, the Department of Education and Skills and industry leaders ARUP, ESB, Intel and Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII).

Guides (aged 10-14) and Brownies (aged 7-10) are encouraged to work towards gaining the Guide Engineering Badge or Brownie Engineering Badge with their Irish Girl Guides Unit during Engineers Week and devise an innovative project that could be commercially produced.

Each entry submitted before the 31 March deadline will be judged by the Engineers Ireland STEPS Dragons, with the winners crowned ‘Ireland’s Top Guide Engineers’ or ‘Ireland’s Top Brownie Engineers’.

Director General of Engineers Ireland, Caroline Spillane, said: “Engineers play a critical role in shaping the world around us and play an important role in addressing some of society’s biggest challenges.

"By working towards achieving the Guide Engineering Badge or Brownie Engineering Badge during Engineers Week, each unit will have the opportunity to engage young girls to work through a variety of fun engineering challenges based on creative thinking, curiosity and teamwork.

"It is our hope that each unit will engage in this Engineers Week Challenge and we look forward to crowning Ireland’s Top Guide and Brownie Engineers.”

Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides, Amanda O’Sullivan, said: “As one of the largest girl-only organisations in Ireland, we are delighted to provide more opportunities for our girls to develop their skills in STEM and engage with engineering activities.

"We were delighted to partner with Engineers Ireland to launch our Guide and Brownie Engineering badges two years ago and are thrilled that more than 3,000 of our members have already earned the badges.

She continued: “Ireland’s Top Guide and Brownie Engineers competition will help to encourage our members to experience the engineering design process and to work together to create innovative projects and solutions to benefit their local communities.”

In 2019, during the inaugural year of the competition, Aoife McGovern (aged 9) and her fellow Brownies from Clogherhead, County Louth were crowned Ireland’s Top Brownie Engineers for their project on water conservation and reuse.

Commenting on the award and the impact of the challenge on the Clogherhead Brownie Unit, Finola Dunne, Brownie Leader, said: “Working towards the Engineering Badge and doing the projects really gave the girls an insight into how engineering impacts almost every aspect of their lives.

"They used Lego to build, to programme sensors using a tablet, and they invented water conservation prototypes. Engineering is not such an alien concept now! I hope that doing this badge and the STEPS Engineers Week Challenge, will empower some of the girls to consider doing some form of engineering later in life."

As well as the Engineers Week Challenge, engineering organisations, third-level institutions, the public sector and teachers are also encouraged to run their own classroom-based activities, quizzes and competitions throughout the week. To download free resources and to get involved in STEPS Engineers Week, visit: www.engineersweek.ie

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