The Northern Ireland Engineering Education Programme is an exciting pilot initiative launched by the Academy in spring 2022. The one-year pilot is planned to run until July 2023, and has been generously funded by the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland, through its Economic Recovery Action Plan (ERAP).

There is a well-documented STEM skills shortage in Northern Ireland, where skills are needed in many fields such as digital, ICT and creative industries, agri-tech and fintech, life and health sciences, and advanced manuafacturing and engineering. A major contributing factor to the skills shortage in general is a significant gender imbalance across the STEM skills pipeline. To this end, we are working to encourage more young people in the region, particularly young women and those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds and other under-represented groups, to progress towards careers in professional engineering roles or as engineering technicians.

For participating schools and colleges, the programme will provide:

  • up to £3,000 of in-house grants to our network of schools and colleges to purchase resources and provide experiences for students that will enhance the ‘E’ in STEM, and to celebrate national events such as Tomorrow’s Engineers Week and NI Science Festival
  • STEM Challenge Days for students to excite, inspire, and stimulate interest
  • access to a peer-to-peer support network for our STEM teachers, providing the opportunity to share resources and best practice
  • teacher CPD and Academy educational resources to introduce students to real-world engineering
  • 30 Further Education bursaries, each worth £2,000, to incentivise post-16 STEM study among women from low-income households
  • 8 Higher Education bursaries, each worth £15,000, to support women students who will study engineering or related subjects at a UK university
  • industry collaboration to share best practice and engender a supportive, sustainable network

Applications for the Higher Education bursaries are NOW OPEN. Click here to find out more.

We are providing this support to an ambitious network of 52 schools and colleges, which have been identified working closely with the NI Department for the Economy. Over time, the aim is to create a collaborative culture of engineering across the local community, allowing young people to access a continuum of STEM experiences that raise aspirations and enrich the curriculum throughout the whole of their education, from primary school to sixth form and beyond. By linking this network to locally-based STEM employers, universities and other stakeholders, we will raise students’ skills levels and provide links to real-world engineering, thus enhancing their knowledge of engineering careers and the pathways available to them.

Schools and colleges currently involved with the programme:

  • Erne Integrated College, Enniskillen
  • Abbey Community College, Newtownabbey
  • Belfast Model School for Girls, Belfast
  • Glengormley High School, Newtownabbey
  • Our Lady’s Grammar School, Newry
  • St Ronan’s College, Craigavon
  • Drumragh Integrated College, Omagh
  • St Mark’s High School, Newry

The list of participating schools and colleges will be updated on an ongoing basis as they come on board.

This is a current programme that was launched in spring 2022, in partnership with the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland.

How can we help?