The teaching of STEM subjects in post-primary and Further Education and Training (FET) has received a significant boost with the establishment of the first official headquarters for the Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA) located at LMETB’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence (AMTCE) in Dundalk.
It follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by Martin O’Brien, chief executive of the Louth Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) and founder of the AMTCE and Barry Convey, chairperson of the ETTA on Sat 6 May 2023.
The purpose of the MoU is to provide close collaboration in the design, development and delivery of bespoke courses, and training opportunities for teachers and educators. With its official headquarters now located at the AMTCE, the ETTA will have direct access to relevant engineering and technology focused courses and programmes. The AMTCE will also work with ETTA staff on the joint development and delivery of bespoke certified courses for its members.
The AMTCE will also provide active support for ETTA projects that encourage post-primary and FET learners to engage with advance manufacturing, STEM, IT, and other related subject areas.
Speaking at the event, LMETB CEO Martin O’Brien, founder of AMTCE, said “Given the importance of STEM to the Irish economy, our partnership with ETTA will serve to provide effective, relevant training for its members at the frontline of STEM education in Ireland.
“Together, we will explore joint funding opportunities and the launching and promotion of initiatives in our schools and further education that will increase access and participation in engineering and technology initiatives and develop a talent pipeline of highly skilled future employees in high value jobs for our thriving manufacturing sector.”
The Engineering Technology Teachers’ Association (E.T.T.A.) is a voluntary association representing teachers of Engineering, Technology and Design and Communication Graphics (D.C.G.). With over 300 active members, it supports teachers and students in what is a time of immense change in the Irish education system and runs the nationally acclaimed Young Engineer of the Year competition for Leaving Cert students.
Barry Convey, chair of ETTA said, “…This agreement gives access for the ETTA to amazing opportunities to develop bespoke training courses and world class facilities and gives rise to the development of such courses that will lead to CPD for members in a rapidly changing space in education at this moment in time.“
The Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre of Excellence was established in 2021 by the LMETB to deliver hands on skills-oriented training needed to underpin the transition of Irish enterprise to industry based operations, with a focus on manufacturing, pharma, food & drink, construction, and engineering sectors.
Sadie Ward McDermott, director of further education and training (FET) in LMETB said “This is a ground-breaking partnership…The anticipated accrued benefits to the promotion and enabling of students and learners in second and FET levels in STEM will be significant.”
Also welcoming the signing of the MOU was Fiona Kindlon, director of schools, LMETB, who said “…. The signing of this MOU and a new base for ETTA in the AMTCE will provide new opportunities for creative and innovative approaches to designing bespoke CPD for our teachers to ensure they are familiar with new and emerging technologies that can be embedded into learning, teaching and assessment to increase student engagement, create greater awareness of emerging career paths and increase the numbers of students taking technology and engineering related subjects.