More than 30 STEPS volunteers receive plaudits and parchment at Engineers Ireland event
28 July 2015
More than 30 volunteers in the Engineers Ireland STEPS programme were presented with a parchment in recognition of their work throughout the year at a special event hosted by Engineers Ireland at its headquarters in Clyde Road, last July 23. A short communications workshop also took place during the evening’s event, which was attended by Engineers Ireland president Bill Grimson and director general Caroline Spillane.
STEPS – funded by the SFI – is looking to become only the fifth Irish organisation to achieve the Investing in Volunteers Standard, the national quality standard for good practice in volunteer management.
In an effort to join the likes of Dublin Simon Community, Focus Ireland, Aware and DePaul Ireland, a substantial amount of work is taking place to ensure the programme adheres to the highest standards of best practice in volunteer management.
Planned improvements include: official policies and handbooks for volunteers; a robust and consistent approval process for new volunteers; upskilling and development workshops for existing volunteers; regular volunteer recognition; and feedback.
Shared volunteer management system
STEPS, in partnership with SFI Discover, is also launching a shared volunteer management system – SmartSTEPS – in September.
The new system will enable more efficient and faster school visit matching between volunteers and schools. The system will allow volunteers to log in online and select school visits from a map. Schools will be able to register and request visits while STEPS and SFI retain a 360° view of the activity, leading to the delivery of a greater number of visits.
The system will facilitate data mining of the STEPS volunteer database, enabling STEPS to quickly generate reports on activity by volunteer, company, county, or gender – and allowing it to rapidly identify areas of high visit demand or low volunteer availability.
Why STEPS needs volunteers
- Hundreds of schools request a visit from an engineer each year. In 2014, there were 700+ requests from teachers for engineer school visits;
- Volunteers act as role models by raising awareness about what engineering is and presenting a real and meaningful picture of what engineers do;
- Parents, teachers and society are key influencers of subject and career choices. There is a lot of misinformation and stereotypes about the engineering industry which is why it is important for students to meet real people working in engineering;
- Cuts in school funding and lack of resources make it difficult for students to make informed choices. They are missing opportunities in the engineering sector because they have no idea what kind of work engineers do;
- Ireland is facing a shortage of skilled engineering talent. By 2017, only 38 civil engineers will graduate in Ireland and more engineers are required to solve world problems;
- There is a shortage of female engineers, the ratio stands at 9:1 men to women in the industry.
How to apply
To get involved and volunteer with the STEPS programme, volunteers need to complete the online volunteer application form on the STEPS’ website: http://www.steps.ie/volunteer
The next deadline for new volunteers to register is August 7. The Engineers Ireland STEPS programme has a wide range of opportunities for engineers to get involved in, from school visits to career events to running an activity during Engineers Week. For further information also check Smart Futureshttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/2015/07/28/30-steps-volunteers-receive-plaudits-parchment-engineers-ireland-special-event/http://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/arob1.jpghttp://www.engineersjournal.ie/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/arob1-300x300.jpgNewsEngineers Ireland,SFI,STEPS