This autumn will see the launch of Griffiths & Armour insurance broker's ‘Engineering Futures’, a bursary initiative aimed at second-year students studying civil, structural, mechanical, electrical or building engineering

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This autumn will see the launch of Griffiths & Armour insurance broker’s ‘Engineering Futures’, a bursary initiative aimed at second-year students studying civil, structural, mechanical, electrical or building engineering.

Graeme Tinney, of Griffiths & Armour, tells the Engineers Journal about this exciting initiative and to learn why the broker has decided it is so important to support the future of engineering in Ireland.

Q. Can you tell us a bit more about the background to ‘Engineering Futures’?
In a recovering construction sector, capacity constraints are leaving many firms overstretched, potentially impacting on the industry’s ability to deliver on critical infrastructure. In that climate, a key issue facing the engineering profession is the recruitment and retention of sufficient numbers of young, talented students to fulfil the engineering demands and potential skills gap of the future. This is especially true with the disproportionately low numbers of female students entering the engineering disciplines aligned closely to the construction sector.

‘Engineering Futures’ recognises these challenges and is our contribution to help support and inspire the next generation. Our bursary initiative is aimed at second year students in an Engineers Ireland accredited degree course, with support for one female and one male student who are studying civil, structural, mechanical, electrical or building engineering where the issues have been felt most acutely.

While recognising an important part of the support given will be financial, we are particularly keen to ensure practical, hands-on experience. To that end, the bursary will also provide a guaranteed internship with a member firm of the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI) and we will be creating opportunities for each of the recipients to engage with industry leaders through our wider relationships across the sector; helping them to gain valuable insight into the engineering profession during their studies.

Q. Where did the idea for ‘Engineering Futures’ come from and why did Griffiths & Armour feel it was something they wanted to support?
Over the last number of years Engineers Ireland and ACEI have done incredible work to highlight these issues and the impetus for ‘Engineering Futures’ was a call to action at the ACEI annual conference in 2017. Essentially it was an invitation for others to get involved.

At Griffiths & Armour we have worked closely with the engineering profession for more than 80 years, supporting our clients through the good times as well as some of the very challenging periods. Today we look after the interests of about 2,500 consulting engineering firms across Ireland and the UK. It is that shared history and our knowledge of the sector that puts us in a unique position to understand the challenges and to have a positive influence in helping to address them.

You could probably be forgiven for wondering what all this has to do with insurance and managing risk? The fact is that these issues are also very relevant to our world. As professional indemnity brokers and risk managers, we are committed to supporting the continual improvement in standards across the construction sector; helping to address resource constraints by promoting engineering as a viable and attractive career option, and encouraging a more balanced and diverse workforce is an important part of that.

To achieve a better future, you have to be prepared to invest in it. We believe that this initiative reflects who we are as a firm and demonstrates our commitment to a profession that we are very proud to be associated with.

Q. You have talked about inspiring the next generation. Can you explain how the initiative will set out to achieve that?
We are very fortunate to have a strong relationship with both Engineers Ireland and ACEI. Both bodies have been incredibly generous with their time and it really has been a collaborative effort to bring this initiative to life. As part of ‘Engineering Futures’, we are asking the recipients of the bursary to share their experiences through their journey at college. By combining our resources, Griffiths & Armour, Engineers Ireland and ACEI will be able to amplify those real life experiences through our various communications channels.

We want the next generation to know about the opportunities that exist in the profession and to understand what those opportunities look like. ‘Engineering Futures’ is just one initiative but it is about the aggregated effect. I see the bursary as complementing the great work that is already being done through initiatives such as the STEPS programme and I am delighted that we are able to play our part.

Q. So how do students apply?
The process is really straightforward and full details of the bursary and how to apply are available here. As an initial step we are asking all those interested to submit an 800-word essay entitled ‘Engineering My Future’. This should explain:
• Why they have chosen their particular course of engineering;
• What the Griffiths & Armour Engineering Futures bursary would mean to their career;
• How the future of engineering in the built environment will look different from today.

The deadline for submission is 5pm on Monday, November 5, 2018.

Q. What would you say to those who are considering applying?
This is a terrific opportunity for any aspiring engineer. Aside from the financial support (which, of course, is always welcomed!), you can expect to gain hands-on experience in an engineering consultancy firm. The Griffiths & Armour Engineering Futures bursary will also place you at the heart of the engineering community, raising your profile and giving you the opportunity to work with two leading representative engineering bodies, ACEI and Engineers Ireland, to get your career off to a flying start and to inspire the next generation.

Q. If I apply, what happens next?
After submitting your essay, a panel of judges will shortlist the entries into a final group of students who will be invited to attend a short interview in Dublin towards the end of November. An announcement on the names of those students who have been successful will be made shortly after the interview date.

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This autumn will see the launch of Griffiths & Armour insurance broker's ‘Engineering Futures’, a bursary initiative aimed at second-year students studying civil, structural, mechanical, electrical or building engineering. Graeme Tinney, of Griffiths & Armour, tells the Engineers Journal about this exciting initiative and to learn why the broker has...